Searching for the insiders' secrets to cashing in on America's blogging mania? Confused by all the crazy come-ons and get-hits-quick schemes? Don't put your dreams of blogosphere superstardom away in the closet next to that dusty FlowBee -- let renown weblog consultant Dave Burge help you navigate your blog through the rocky HTML shoals of cyberspace and shoot a rainbow arc all the way to a shiny pot of financial solvency!
As the dynamic pro bloggist behind Iowahawk, Dave is read by literally dozens of high-quality opinion seekers each and every month. Until recently, his expert advice was only available to a select few of blogging's A-list megastars without email filters. The price? Let's just say Dave demanded top dollar. Now, many of Dave's top training secrets are available direct to you -- Mr. and Ms. Blogosphere Bottomdweller -- at a fraction of the cost!
With the Bloggonetrix™ program, Dave has assembled an encylopedia of powerful blog tips and tricks in one easy-to-follow guide. Put the amazing Bloggonetrix™ system to work, and soon your hit-counter will be spinning like the altimeter on a kamikaze's Zero! Just listen to some of these actual and potential customers...
"Hey, Burge - your system is... but good"
M.P., Orlando FL
"Mr. Burge, I am writing to demand... 'thank you'... I want to know where you live"
C.R., Arvada, CO
"If you don't... buy...Bloggonetrix™... right now, I will call the police"
K.L., Maumee OH
Still not convinced? To give you a taste of the powerful Bloggonetrix™ method, Dave will be publishing a series of weekly excerpts to help you performance-tune your blog. To get the maximum out of this incredible system, though, make sure you enroll in a Bloggonetrix™ Pro™ Seminar - coming soon to a Ramada Inn® near you!
CHAPTER ONE: GETTING STARTED
Welcome, everybody, to the exciting new hi-tech world of internet-based blogging! Did you know that today, over 7 million Americans are writing their own blogs -- and nearly 1.2 million Americans are actually reading them? With mind-boggling numbers like that, no wonder you are thinking about "taking a high dive" into the red-hot blogosphere jacuzzi. But as a multi-month veteran of the "scene," I have too often witnessed the same tragic story -- a naive rookie sets up a blog, posts a few articles, gets stymied by the lack of site hits, and quits in frustration to spend more time with his family. When I developed Bloggonetrix™, I vowed that my system would help prevent another repeat of this senseless heartbreak.
Everyday, I hear the same frustrated questions -- "Dave, why isn't my blog attracting more anonymous strangers?" or "Dave, where is that twenty I loaned you last week?" My answer is always the same -- you didn't plan to fail, you failed to plan. In a rush to hop the gravy train to the blogosphere Klondike, many nascent bloggers forget to prepare properly. Without the proper toolkit, they end up being jolted from the gravy train, roll down a rocky embankment, and end up under a trestle -- cooking soup over a can of Sterno, while the other blog hoboes play mournful tunes on their harmonicas.
Which brings us to lesson #1 in the Bloggonetrix™ system: Always start with the right equipment. Even though blogs come in all shape and sizes and coherences, they all start with the same basic building blocks. The key here is to make sure that you have "all your cows in a row" before you "take the plunge." Here are some of the basic items you'll need:
1. A computer. When John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry developed the first digital computing machine at Iowa State University in 1937, little did they know that their invention would become an integral part of a sophisticated worldwide cat picture distribution system. Today, you can buy a miniature commercial version of that same machine at local retailers, such as Best Buy or Wal-Mart. If you search around enough, you can find great bargains from independent resellers like Larry, the nervous guy in my neighborhood who has a camper full of gently used computer and car stereo gear. Ask your salesman to help you select the right model, and don't forget to buy a keyboard and monitor, the thingy that looks like a TV set.
2. An Internet Connection. Once you have your new computer set up, find the internet plug and plug it into your internet wall socket. If you have trouble, call the internet company or the computer retailer, and they can usually figure it out. If you bought your computer from Larry, this might be a problem since he doesn't have a phone and is usually gone at night. In that case, just go to the library and use the internet computer there. If the librarian asks you for a library card, accuse her of being one of Ashcroft's Nazi stormtroopers. This will usually shut her up.
3. Blogging Software. It's kind of confusing, but for your blog you will need "software," which is a "hi-tech" term for a thing inside the computer that keeps your blog from accidentally exploding and ruining all the wires. The key is to select the proper blogging software for your budget and level of stupidity. Many beginning bloggers use "Blogger," which is free, but do not let the name confuse you -- it will not automatically write your blog for you. Sophisticated users sometimes use hi-powered software like Movable Type and a hosting service. For Iowahawk I selected TypePad, which is somewhere in between, but does not have the full strobe seizure capabilities of Movable Type. Ultra-high-end users such as Andrew Sullivan sometime select secret atomic blogging systems that reportedly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. If you choose this route, make sure you budget enough blog time for pledge drives.
4. Promotion. To help you through all that techno-drudgery, keep your mind focused on the most important goal of any blogger - watching that sweet, sweet money roll in. But let's face it, it's not just going to happen automatically. You first have to "bust a hump" and get the word out, and build your personal herd of cash cows. Your best chance at success is getting linked by million-hits-per-week bloggers like DailyKos and InstaPundit. To make this happen, a good approach is repeated emails offering a "link exchange": entice your bigshot quarry with your personal promise of a mention on your exciting new blog. If this doesn't work, try threatening that you will not link them. After your big hit avalanche, BAM! it's time to clean up with advertising and merchandising. This is a critical subject, and I will cover it in moderate depth in chapters 5, 9, and 14 through 26.
5. Opinions. Unfortunately, you will also have to begin writing things on your new blog, and this often means forming opinions on various subjects. In my experience, this is one area where we humans are often lacking; In our opinion-starved world, it so often seems that nearly all of us share a deep-down psychological barrier to expressing our views, thoughts and gripes. Your job as a blogger is to overcome your natural stoicism and let the world know that at long last, here is somebody with a point of view.
Where to start? One popular blog topic area is politics, and occasionally people will have opinions on this topic -- maybe even you. Bingo! Now this would make a good area for your blog topic opinions. For example, suppose you are on the Left politically, and don't support George Bush. Here's a hypothetical blog opinion to get your creative juices flowing:
Man, that Bush is stupid!
Alternatively, suppose you are on the political Right and support George Bush:
Man, that blog that called Bush stupid is stupid!
Of course, you can have opinions on other topics besides politics; there are movies, food, sports, music, and also opinions. In subsequent installments of the Bloggonetrix™ method, will be covering several effective ways of honing opinions for maximum kill impact, but hopefully this example illustrates how our opinions create interesting new national dialogs and opportunities for merchandising.
Until next time -- blog on, America!