Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Individual Innovation and Experimentation

September 19th 2011

Where in your life do you actually seek out and work towards innovation and experimentation?  Do you purposefully have activities that leave you seeking out new ideas and methods of doing things?  Where could you make changes if only you had the time, the courage or perhaps the money to try some new things?  And are you making these activities toward innovation and experimentation a regular occurrence in your life?

Perhaps you are, perhaps you are not.  I do believe there is great value however in experimenting and innovating in life especially when it comes to working your mind for new ideas.

Work and Play

Many people when they think of innovation they associate it with business and perhaps their work environment since that is typically where you hear the word and see headlines and articles about it.  More than likely, your work already has elements of innovation in it especially if you work in technology and other industries where it is common.  However, you should not define your work to have innovation or not, as it can very easily be an individual thing, not specific to a workplace, industry or certain environment.

Innovation is about expanding things, building on others ideas, answering curiosities, converting restless fascination into something new that can be created, and it’s about acting on or developing inspirations.  These are all things that an individual can do independently of an organization.  Are you ready to stop waiting for your organization to push innovation from the top, and are what are you doing about it in your own life and work?

Your free time has even more room in it to be innovative than when you are being paid.  Work usually involved a high degree of following tasks and responsibilities that someone else has set out for you, so you do not always have the freedom you need to be at your creative best. There is always some room for it, but let’s face it, not every workplace is the most experimental and creative support environment.  That can’t be said about your own time, your play time.  The time you have to choose whatever you like in life and it’s in this play time that you can really be innovative and experimental.

Memory and Brain Mapping

A wonderful thing about innovation and experimentation is that it helps to quickly build more synapses in your mind deepening your brain maps for creative thinking and experimentation.  Exploring new methods and learning from that (as does most learning) reshapes the mind to strengthen and develop the connections and associations you have with those activities and thoughts, which over time, continue to build on themselves.

There are many things you can do to be learning when you innovate.  As you make change and create new things, you will be learning, mapping the mind and strengthening your memory.  Memory and brain mapping may not be directly visible or understood, but they strengthen quickly with creative work, when building things directly and when learning anything new.  Interestingly, visual mind maps and memory exercises have a similar effect and so they go hand in hand with innovation and experimentation since you learn in the process.

Discovering Activities and Hobbies

Discovering only comes by exploration.  Discovery is also a part of personal development that I hope if you are reading this, is something you have often found yourself doing already.  The act of change, seeking and exploration allow you to find things you are naturally good at as well as simply new areas to learn that may not come so naturally.

Experimentation requires some level of spontaneity and an open mind.  This will lead you to be in new situations, continuous questions and curiosity. Putting curiosity to work will typically lead to new experiences in work and play and it will have you finding new activities, new things to learn and hobbies that peak your interest.

Tuning Your Life Enjoyment

These new activities and hobbies will lead to much more than just new things to do.  It allows you to find and connect with new friends in activities you might not have ever discovered otherwise.  It helps you uncover passions that would never be found without the exploration and courage to get there and it allows you to have enjoyment in life that could have otherwise been lost in a pool of complacency.

There is much value in tuning your life with the help of new discoveries and it lets you ultimately bring a bit more happiness to your life and gain more enjoyable past time.  I’m certainly not saying you can’t find this without innovation and experimentation, but it certainly helps to know many more of the things you enjoy so you can pick and choose the ones that true are the most valuable to you and your life.  They could be major life changes as a result, yet they could also be very minor.

Traits to Develop and Expand

There are so many ways to be innovative and more experimental, it is not a matter of do you have it or not, everyone does.  The question you should ask is where do you have it and how can you use it more.  Here are some of the traits you could rely on to be more innovative and experimental methods in your life:

  • Curious – explore what is around you, ask questions, dig deeper
  • Rebellious – challenge and question the status quo
  • Willing to take risks – keeps complacency at bay to reach out of your comfort zone
  • Adventurous – enjoy the unknown and some ambiguity
  • Playful / Childlike – asking questions and simply having fun with things lets you be more creative
  • Accept Failures – any kind of experimentation will have what seem like failures.  Accept them and move on to the next one
  • Imaginative – being experimental in your mind and your ideas
  • Flexible/adaptive – open to change and able to adapt
  • Thrive on Chaos – some unknowns and discoveries can only be found from unseen and even unwanted events.  Find them in chaos with others get frustrated or over burdened
  • Connector – build new relationships quickly and with varying combinations of diversity
  • Perceptive – aware and reflective on the environment around you; pondering; contemplative
  • Committed to learning – continually seeking growth and knowledge
  • Persevering – willing to keep driving forward despite the odds and hardships and able to learn from the experience

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 13 Comments »

Resources July 2011

September 2nd 2011

Here is another collection of articles, content and links that I have found in the last couple months online and in browsing other blogs.  Please read through these and promote the articles more as they are some of my recent favorites and I know you will like them as well!

Articles

Photography and Great Resource Sites

Videos

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 5 Comments »

The Personal Development / Learning Cycle

April 20th 2011

There is much more to learning than just gaining knowledge. Unfortunately, a lot of people stop at that point when they finish their schooling and don’t value what learning is really all about, which is where personal development often comes in later in life.   The real value from it comes from application of knowledge and what is done with it and how it impacts a person or others.  This is why learning itself is only a portion of what makes up personal development and exactly why I’ve developed such a passion for the subject, since it can have such an impact on contribution to a better life for oneself and to others!

Personal development and realizing how impacting its cycle can be has become a huge proponent in my life to take on whatever challenges I face and apply my knowledge  in order to let it shape me and things in my life.  You can do the same and allow yourself to change through a learning or personal development cycle.  It takes a long time to understand the cycle through trial and error and its much more effective to have models for things that can be utilized to gain the most from it.  The same is true with the personal development cycle if you understand the whole cycle to be able to recognize it, and all then enable it to occur, you can take on new challenges and shifts in your life much more easily.  I have always loved change and learning new things, so this has become much more of a passion for me, but the cycle can build that passion for anyone who recognizes the value in changing themselves for the better.   Without it, you can easily fall to becoming very conditioned by people around you who are afraid of change and don’t think they can learn things well and you can easily become complacent and stuck within a very small comfort zone.

Make a Choice to Learn Something New

The first step is to make the decision and choose to learn something new.  This is a mental step and is to overcome the internal barrier that often holds us back.  This is more than it sound like as it is so easy to drop into a complacent life without venturing into new activities, learning new things or allowing change to be faced.  Often the security people have in the consistent lifestyle keeps them locked into that and they are afraid to change it as it seems to threaten that security.  The best way out of this is to know that change can bring about even more good things and a more enjoyable life, not less.  Especially in the realm of personal development as most things in it are about improving life, yourself or others and so the change that will occur will almost always result in bringing about more lasting happiness in life.  Who can argue against that just for a little short term work or risk to achieve it?  If you want to develop yourself, you must decide that you are ready and willing and commit yourself to making it happen!

Take Action to Learn

A choice on it’s own still has to backed up by action.  Goal setting, positive thinking, the law of attraction; whatever methods you use or are familiar with to motivate you, you still must put those thoughts and ideas into action for them to ever become reality.  One of the hardest things in learning something new is just how to start or to take that initial step or action.  The biggest reason for this is that people often make it more difficult than they need to.  Break the problem or goal down into simple steps.  Do some brainstorming to write down all the little steps and pieces that would have to occur to help get started.  For example, instead of looking at learning a new language, you might list a bunch of simple steps that could get you started, such as:

  • Research which languages you might want to learn
  • Find some online resources for home security (adt reviews)
  • Talk to some friends to find out who you know that speaks that language already
  • Research some books, courses.
  • Change your computer’s interface or a favorite program (that you already know well) into that language
  • Create a month by month break down of your goals (set subgoals)
  • Identify some small but important milestone to reach (learn 50 verbs or the sound of the alphabet in a new language)
Obviously there are many simple first steps that can be taken and as you complete those, all you need to do is continually set new steps and actions to further your progress in what you are learning.  Don’t get stuck by being overwhelmed by the complexity or size of something you want to learn.  Just get started and take a few actions at the start and then continue that often to make continual progress in your personal development.

Master it to Make it a Habit

Mastery takes time, and plenty of practice. All those small actions that you take will move you closer and closer to mastery and will begin to shift into a need to repeat and practice more of the same to really understand and be competent and confident in your new learned skills/tasks/etc. One aspect of mastery is the concept by Gladwell in “Outliers” about the 10,000 hrs it takes to become an expert in any skill or area.  An expert in a field or on a large topic may very well take this amount of time to truly master, however, it doesn’t mean everything takes that long to master and often something can be mastered in only a few hours of practice.  Whatever the size is of your new personal development, practice what you are learning over and over to make it easy and to gain that confidence to repeat it without difficulty.  The more you repeat something the easier it will become and you will slowly learn to make it a habit.

Let it Reshape Your Beliefs to Create Lasting Change

One of the best methods to create lasting beliefs and change around a new habit is to teach it to someone else. Write about it, show someone or guide a group to learn something that you have already done.  This will truly have you thinking and explaining why something is important, how to learn it most effectively, what are the things that helped or hindered you along the way and last but not least, it really proves that you know your stuff. True mastery of any subject matter or skill can easily be demonstrated when it is taught to someone else and to do it well reinforces your beliefs on the subject. Knowing all the pitfalls and struggles that you had in learning something gives you a significant advantage to help someone else avoid those and learn the skill more easily through your guidance.

Mastery of something will not only change what you know, but also what you believe you know, which is much more powerful.  Beliefs steer much of your decisions and lifestyle and as you change your beliefs on elements you learn, this slow start to also develop the belief that you can learn anything.  To me, this is the real secret of the personal development cycle and once this belief is formed begins to develop that you can in fact learn anything, it can make your choices and learning process much easier and faster.  So, let the cycle of personal development shape your beliefs and utilize that to repeat the cycle in other areas of your life.

You may also check out some information on learning management system from Halogen to quickly and easily see a return on your training investments.

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 6 Comments »

How to Have an Open Mind

January 12th 2011

My friend Armen over at TimelessInformation had a great post that really got me thinking in a brief discussion and comment with him and still afterwards now.  His article titled Quality, Traffic and Criticism, included a piece about communities that form within sites or blogs and how some accept criticism and debates and others turn a cold shoulder and send visitors who challenge them away.   This practice of embracing visitors and welcoming a discussion I believe is a true demonstration of keeping an open mind.  On the other hand, bloggers and forums that tell people to leave if they don’t like something or agree with it, shows clearly how close minded they are.

Armen mentioned this is a sign of needing acceptance from their group and I think this very accurate!  When someone is not open minded, they tend to seek approval for what they believe in and don’t have the confidence to consider something else and then defend their point of view constructively or objectively.

Open Mindedness Stems From Beliefs

On the other hand, someone who is open minded will most importantly know that they could be wrong and that beliefs may change and likely will over time.  This is important since so much we do is shaped by our beliefs, having an understanding of those beliefs truly shapes our characters and in this case, how open minded we are.

  • You cannot be open minded and never willing to let a belief change.
  • You cannot be open minded and avoiding a debate you have not yet had because of some unknown risk to that belief.
  • You can be open minded by knowing how your beliefs have changed in the past.
  • You can be open minded by knowing that your beliefs are going to change again as you learn more about yourself and about life.

Kill the Need For Acceptance

So as Armen mentioned, being open minded can have a lot to do with acceptance as well.  To have an open mind, it is important to accept oneself but not be burdened by seeking acceptance from others.  The reason for this is because it is very easy to be locked into a mindset of way of doing things when struggling to be or stay accepted by others.  That struggling for acceptance will limit how open you are to change and new ways of thinking or behaving.  To change this, you must kill the need for acceptance  and be willing to risk change.  Know that there are possibilities to find acceptance in new things and by new people as well, but don’t rely on having or you will struggle to move on to new things.

Have New Experiences

Experiences teach us more than any other activity and the more a person experiences and the more variety in those experiences, the more likely they will be to have an open mind.  Everyone knows someone or has some experience travelling to, learning about or living in difficult cultures and it can be very revealing.  Things can be done differently by others and seeing this helps us to realize that we don’t have to do everything the same way as may have learned it or developed habits with.  Variety in our experiences quickly teaches us to explore life, to seek out new exciting things around us and to not limit to what is already known.  This ties to tightly to learning I am very passionate about this.  Having new experiences gives us a lot to learn from and every time we learn, we carve away our borders of certainty and become a bit more open to change and new ideas.  This is very important for having an open mind.  Locking out new experiences and living life without new experiences creates a type of security in our minds that resists change. And I mean resisting change without a reason for standing up against it.

Embrace Change

So as I just mentioned new experiences bring about change.  Its inevitable and how we react to that change is really what shapes out openness.  Do you embrace the changes you face in life or do you resist them?  Are you optimistic that a change will have a good outcome or do you fear the worst?  Being optimistic and not being afraid of new things will help you embrace change and to have an open mind.  Embracing change is more than just accepting it as well, its really about seeking change and even promoting it or hoping for it.  Change is a powerful tool to shape the way we think and understanding how quickly our thinking is formed lets us look readily for change and what benefits can come about from it.

Expand Your Social Circle

Another way to learn to have an open mind is through your friends and relationships.  Every person is such a unique individual with their own perspective on life shaped their own experiences, there is a lot to be learned in relationships with others.  Having a variety of friends and lots of social interaction inevitably leads to discussions about experiences, stories and shared opinions, debates and likely disagreements.  All these things challenge what you know and think about and its a fantastic way to explore new ideas, learn from others and to create a need to have an open mind.  The social environment with others relates back to the topic of acceptance I mentioned above and its common for people to use acceptance positively in this situation.  Seeking out new friendships and connections often forces some level of compromise and acceptance of the other person in order to get along with them.  This acceptance of other people and their ideas helps you to be more open minded  and willing to consider something you may not have on your own otherwise.  So, if you want to know how to have an open mind, expanding and seeking a wide set of friends and social circle is a great way to do it!

Nurture Your Creativity

Creativity is the last area I consider important in learning how to have an open mind.  Being creative and doing creative activities help to develop right brain thinking, which also enables us to think outside the box and not be as limited and close minded about life and our experiences.  Take opportunities to develop and nurture your creativity by actively taking on hobbies, writing, creative content creation or building things, basically anything that requires you to be creative.  Many people have this opportunity in their work as well which is a fantastic way to truly nurture creativity.  Whenever you can, participate or volunteer for creative projects to practice and develop more creativity.  Natural creativity and open minded thinking go hand in hand, as you must let your mind seek new things and be creative to truly have an open mind.

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 19 Comments »

7 Quick Ways to Boost Your Creativity

December 6th 2010

The following is a guest article by Mark Tyrrell.  You can find more information and links to his website at the end of the article

My job drives me to be creative. As a hypnotherapist, I’m compelled to devise on-the-spot metaphors, paint pictures in my clients’ minds with the brush of my words, and bring out the best in people in a way accepted by even the most negatively biased.

Whatever you do – from captivating people with your conversation to playing tennis or writing an attention-grasping strap line for your genius product – upping your creative power will make life more fun, exciting, and rewarding. Because creativity isn’t just the jealous preserve of “arty types” meaningfully smoking cigarettes (e cigaretter med nikotin) in Parisian sky-lit studios, reciting Baudelaire whilst painting naked women as cubes. Anything and everything can be done more artfully, from pitching a ball to pitching an idea.

But to be creative on demand at great medical animation – to be reliable in your artfulness and idea production - that is a challenge. For example I call creative the people behind http://www.sproutwatches.com/.

Fortunately, science (which has more than its share of creative geniuses) has something to tell us about how we can reach out, grab, and pull inspiration up close rather than waiting endlessly for it to arrive in its own sweet time. So here are tried-and-tested ways to get you thinking, feeling, and being so far outside of the box you’ll forget ever being in one.

1) Go do something else

Have you ever struggled long and hard to recall someone’s name only to remember it hours later when you weren’t thinking about it? That desperately sought name pops into your mind whilst admiring the view or thinking about your tax return. Why? Because once you’ve primed yourself to work on a problem consciously, your subconscious will be working on it for you even when you’re not consciously thinking about it at all. In fact, that’s when creativity works best; when it springs directly from your subconscious without too much conscious interference.

Research found that when people are given an unrelated task to do after being asked to create a new idea, the ones who give their unconscious minds a chance to work (because they are focusing on something else) show remarkably more creativity than people who just focus on trying to be creative (1). So work on your problem for a while, and then go watch a movie or take a swim and forget about it…consciously.

2) Be spontaneous

Fear of having our ideas rejected or saying something “silly” melts creativity quicker than an ice cube left out to dry in Death Valley. So think about what the opposite of what you “should” do would be. What would be the dumbest idea? This frees you up to shake off the shackles of restrictive thought, have fun and joke around, and maybe just “by accident” make an enormous creative leap.

3) Prime yourself with absurdity

To get more creative, you need to be freed up to make connections and to see patterns – seeing the forest and the tress, not just nose down to the path.

In another study, participants read an absurd short story by Franz Kafka before completing a pattern recognition task (2). Compared with control participants, those who had read the short story showed an enhanced subconscious ability to recognize hidden patterns. So read Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, or the mind-altering fantasy of Terry Pratchett before getting to work on your own creative masterpiece.

4) Fast-forward in your mental time machine

Actually, this is a favourite technique of hypnotherapists: “age progression”, in which we hypnotically encourage people to go into the future and then describe how they overcame a particular current difficulty or creative dilemma. I’ve had people describe the most incredible creative solutions, which I’ve then encouraged them to try with amazing results; pure productive creativity.

Researchers (3) asked participants to think about what their lives would be like one year from now. These participants were more insightful and generated more creative solutions to problems than those who were thinking about what their lives would be like tomorrow. You don’t have to delve deeply into hypnosis to get creative; just really focus on imagining that you’re looking back from the future with “hindsight”.

5) Let plants grow fertile thoughts

Having a view of nature from a hospital window promotes more rapid healing; but for our purposes, Japanese psychologists also found that, in study after study, people displayed more creativity in office environments if potted plants were in view – as opposed to, say, just computer monitors.

In another study carried out over eight months, it was found that simply adding plants and flowers to an office increased male employees’ creative ideas by 15% and also encouraged more flexible creative solutions from their female colleagues (4). In yet more research, it’s been found that children behave more creatively when they play in nature.

So either get yourself a great natural view or invest in some potted plants and flowers.

6) Let abstract paintings prime your creative brain

Okay, “modern art” might not be your thing. Maybe you like to know exactly what you’re looking at and be assured that it’s something you couldn’t have done yourself. But it’s also been found that creativity at work goes up with the subliminal effect of abstract art hanging around.

Researchers found that the effect of having “modern paintings” on the walls is to make people more creative – whether they profess an interest in or liking for art or not, and whether or not they even consciously notice those paintings (5). So a bit of Rothko, Picasso, or Pollock may go a long way.

7) Let your bad moods be useful

Next time (heaven forbid) you find yourself in a bad mood, instead of wallowing in a resentful swirl of discontented grumpiness, use the intensity of your mood to generate creative connections. Good moods increase both problem solving and flexible thinking, and are generally seen as more conducive to creativity. But negative emotions also have the power to boost creativity. It seems that an intense emotional state (literally “within reason”) can jolt us off the rails of habitual one-track routine thinking. One study (6) of 161 employees found that creativity increased when both positive and negative emotions were running high.

So, calm contemplation of a problem might not be the best way to get creative. “Clearing the mind” may not be as good as distracting the conscious brain so that the subconscious mind can do its thing, feeling creatively grumpy, or hypnotically time travelling.

And remember, creativity doesn’t spring from tidy-mindedness or trying too hard; sometimes we have to learn to stand aside and let it happen.

This article was written by Mark Tyrrell, who creates all sorts of things on a regular basis, including 5 new hypnosis downloads per month on his main website.

References

(1)    Dijksterhuis, A. and Meurs, T. (2006) Where Creativity Resides: The Generative Power of Unconscious Thought. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, pages 135-46.=
(2)    Proulx (2009)
(3)    Forster et al. (2004)
(4)    This research was conducted by Robert Ulrich from Texas A and M University.
(5)    Forster, J., Friedman, R., Butterbach, E.M., and Sassenbach, K. (2005) Automatic Effects of Deviancy Cues on Creative Cognition. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, pages 345-59.
(6)    George & Zhou (2007)

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 11 Comments »

10 Blog Etiquette Tips for Blog Owners

November 6th 2010

As a blogger (and many of you reading this as well) I regularly visit others’ blogs, new blogs and surf through socially connection blogs.  In doing so I’ve come across a huge variety of sites.  As much as I’d like to say its always about the content, we all know that while that is an important factor for the quality and impression of any blog, there is one other big component of a blog that is just as important, the overall blog etiquette at the site.  By etiquette I mean how well the site and the voices on the site are behaved and what impression this leaves the visitors.

Stay on topic

Often I find that bloggers shift away from what they know about to publish popular content that is way off topic or not related to their blog in any way.  Usually I see this from bloggers who are seeking growth, popularity or other “traffic” generating measures so they are willing to bring in unrelated content or popular at the expense of their existing readers and visitors who expect consistent content.  I think it is much better to publish off topic items or content as guest posts on sites where that is a regular topic.  This would benefit everyone more by exposing to a new audience, by helping create great content for another blogger and by sparing existing subscribers of unrelated content they may not be interested in using list brokers.

Be honest, don’t act like you know everything

Often I see bloggers responding to questions, comments or stating opinions as if it is fact and true.  While there is nothing wrong with writing your thoughts (after all, that is what blogging is all about) but it is misleading and dishonest when a blogger states opinion as if it is fact, or leads readers to believe that they know a lot about a subject when in reality they do not.  It is best to be honest with your readers and state how you have learned something or where you learned it and why you are sharing it, instead of making it seem like an absolute true when in fact, it may just be an opinion.

Don’t reply publicly to every single comment

Reading blogs is great for the content, but the best part of blogging is the connections, the discussions and the people you can meet through commenting.  It’s because of this that I like to read through comments after a great article and you often get a lot more insight, opinions and additions to the original article.  However, some bloggers feel a weird need to reply to every single comment and its incredibly distracting and simply unnecessary.   Some comments are as simple as “Thanks, I liked the article” and then the blog owner goes on with some comment that adds no value and simply repeats what was already said.  If you have something valuable to add, then by all means add it and welcome your visitors but to set a guideline to always reply publicly is just poor etiquette for the discussion area.  There is no reason why a blogger can’t reply to many of these visitors to welcome them in a private email to keep their comments and discussion focused and on topic so they are more enjoyable to read.

Spare your visitors of all popups

I’m sure that this is a personal preference but I think it is safe to say that in general, people don’t like popups showing up.  I am seeing more and more sites using newsletter subscriptions and popups to entice visitors to sign up.  What I really hate is when I visit a site and it says I’ll only see the popup once, and then it keeps showing up or it shows every time I visit.  Unfortunately, many bloggers see this as a necessity and use popups to grow their followers but I find it to be far too aggressive and unnecessary. Personally, I often find that these are the very sites that leave my reading lists first and since I enjoy visiting sites for the comments, they often are the first to leave my news reader as well since every visit to a page to read comments leaves me with some popup subscription.  I am much less likely to share these sites in social media and I would always prefer to promote a clean article, then one with annoyances that will face those I share it with.

Never copy content

I wish everyone had the moral compass to know that copying content is wrong but sadly, it is not true.  Copying other people’s text, full articles and images is wrong and you should never do it without permission.  I have found my own site’s content and even my own pictures I have taken scattered onto other sites often without permission.  On one hand, it is nice to know that it is valuable enough for others to want it, it is also nice to know that that value is attributed to the right person for their hard work to create it.  This one is simple, good blog etiquette means that you just don’t ever copy content without permission.  Period.

Always site your references

Related to other people’s content is then in how you use it.  I often read people quote someone or mentioning an article they read, but they fail to include a link or proper reference where the original context could be read.  If you are going to use references or external content, please always include the appropriate links and detailed reference so that the content could be found.  This is especially useful from blogs as often blog articles become the search engines top pages for studies, articles or interest or other things one might be doing research on, and if the reference are their the site is still useful to such a visitor, if it mentions it without the link, it is next to useful.  Do your readers a favor and always site your references.

Accept criticism and allow healthy conflict

Some bloggers hide comments that they perceive as negative even when they are respectful and simply differing in opinion.  I’ve had my own comments removed from sites, seen whole discussions get removed and even seen many bloggers completely remove commenting from their site because of criticism or conflicting opinions.  It’s important to have this interaction on a blog and any blogger not willing to have any, might as well not be blogging as it only shows they are close minded and one sided.  If you can’t learn from your visitors who are interested in the content in the first place, then who will you learn from?

Reduce the ads for direct visitors

This tip goes far beyond etiquette but I will start there.  I first learned about doing this from Steve at My Wife Quit Her Day Job which shows you how to put ads into your pages only for search engine traffic visitors and not people who type your URL directly.  I’ve implemented this on my site and it works great and have seen many versions of it at other blogger’s sites as well.  Basically it lets you show less ads to visitors your link or type your site in directly which is a huge benefit since those visitors are less likely to click your ads anyway, since they are usually repeat visitors and after your content, not the ads.  The second advantage of this is that you will get a higher click through ratio on your ads since the ads are shown to general visitors, not the people less likely to click.  This results in higher payouts by google since the click through is also higher on your site and it can make a significant increase in your ad earnings.  My ad impressions went down by about 25% implementing this but my ad revenue went up by 30% immediate and has been sustained.  The value of this to your visitors makes your site more attractive to regulars.  I wish that bloggers would implement this for the popups and subscription notices in the section above on popups.  It would provide the same benefits to the visitor and clean up a blog.

Don’t spam the network

Growing attention to your blog takes work, no doubt.  It requires guest posts, back links, other site commenting and social media.  Using all or any of those is easy to abuse and so you must learn to put similar effort into those areas with proper etiquette as your site itself.  Don’t go on a commenting rampage unless you are adding valuable comments, as it can easily be seen as spam.  The same is true of social networking and back links.  Most of the social networking sites either work by computer algorithm or simply by followers, either way, they naturally detect spam and if there is not a mix of others’ content, promotion of friend’s sites and a healthy mix of content, your efforts could easily be considered spam.  The more you promote other people and build your connections in pretty much any social media, the more successful you will be in that network.

Focus on giving value, not selling it

Many bloggers dive right in to focusing on making money before they really are providing strong value and usually results in a poor blog or sort lived one.  Those that look to provide value first, grow the value and then look to benefit from it do much better.  As for your content whether it be subscriptions, ebooks or services, if you give enough of that away for free and give away that value, the sales will come as a result of the value, instead of having to continuously sell it.  Giving away a number of ebooks before you start selling them will allow visitors to know what value to expect and see examples of your work, which increases the likeliness that they will actually buy something as well.    My own example of this is with my free ebooks I give away.  They have created tremendous traffic, comments and feedback for my site and they are consistently downloaded more than 7000 times per month!  Please if you haven’t seen those before, do take a look.

Do you have any additional blog etiquette tips??  Please add them in the comments below.

Posted by Mike King under Learning & Personal | 16 Comments »

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