Tell me about your Blog?
My blog, the Industry Review, is actually very new. Lately I realized that there’s only so much I can discuss with my wife (& friends), and unfortunately, I have too much to say 😉 So to keep everyone around me sane, I decided to create my blog. In my blog I focus on internet marketing (specifically, affiliate marketing), SEO and all that is related (optimizing for Yahoo, Bing, Google), PPC (on all search engines), Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – for which I’m working on an eBook at the moment), technology in general and everything that interests me. Whenever possible, I intend to include my specific background which is uncommon in this industry (I’ll elaborate more on this below).
Its address is: http://www.IndustryReview.org
What was your first blog?
I’ve actually had several blogs in the past, but they were all of personal nature. I like blogging, so in past blogs I’ve often simply shared my daily experiences and included amusing anecdotes from my past. One of them in particular was extremely successful, and was the #1 blog on a (relatively) small blogging website. I stopped because I felt it’s killing all my free time (and I was a student back then).
What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie blogger?
That’s a good question – and I have two answers. One is for people who blog for fun, the other is for people who blog for business reasons.
But first, regardless of the reason you choose to blog, let me say that to be a good blogger you have to enjoy blogging. Some people simply don’t have it in them – for them it’s torture. While I don’t like writing professional articles, blogging is almost always fun for me. That’s a feeling I believe you must have.
My suggestion for people who blog for fun would be: blog about what you find interesting and are passionate about. If you can do that, you are likely to write quality posts and enjoy the process, which is likely to increase your chances of success (I know so many people who’ve written 3 posts and stopped). The best thing about blogging is when you start attracting people who start checking your blog on a daily basis and consistently comment. I knew my blog was successful when two people actually tried to guess my ‘secret identity’ (I wasn’t blogging under my own name).They came very close.
That being said, if you plan to blog for a business reasons (i.e. you want to establish yourself as an expert in a field), then it’s particularly important to be consistent about it. My suggestion: try to come up with a specific plan: investigate blogs in your chosen domain, create in advance a list of articles you are going to write, and ideally write them when you can. This way, even when you’re busy and tired you will always have something to post. Don’t forget – if you blog for this reason, this is work, and you should treat it as such! (Though ideally, even in this case it should still be fun – if it’s not maybe blogging really isn’t for you).
What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Use dishonest ads/pre-sell pages. Like Flogs (fake blogs). Unfortunately this is extremely common. Once you do affiliate marketing for a while you develop an eye for it, but I remember choosing my first hosting company based on a “recommendation” I found on a website, and ended with a really crappy hosting company. My guess it probably paid the highest commission, thus, it was marked as “the best” by the person who created the website.
What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
The bloggers I follow don’t do anything I wish they wouldn’t. However, some bloggers simply do not know how to write, and I don’t refer to grammar or syntax (English isn’t my first language, so I’m not one to criticize one based on those factors), but rather to the fact they don’t know how to focus on the interesting aspects of what they write about. Reading their posts is like hearing a joke where the punch line is ruined. Some people also talk like this, so I’m sure you know what I’m referring to.
Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
To be honest, it’s hard to guess where we are going. These days social media surrounds us (can you open television without hearing the word ‘Twitter’ at least once per hour?) and this new trend of micro-blogging is leading us somewhere. Wherever we are going, it’s going to be one hell of an interesting ride, I’m sure of that!
What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
New ideas are popping up almost on a daily basis. i.e. integrating blogs with twitter (a post immediately gets tweeted about), having video blogs (though this is not really new), having affiliate offers that are only to be used in social media (this really surprised me when I first saw this).
What do you do to improve the world?
It may sound corny, but I try to help people whenever I can. Although I don’t believe in the religious concept of Karma, I do believe that if you do good things, eventually good things will come back to you. Some time ago I created a website that focuses on chronic fatigue (an illness I used to suffer from, though I am much better now). Originally I intended to borrow articles from EzineArticles (giving full credit to the authors, of course) and occasionally promote relevant products. However, after the first post I realized I know much more about the subject than most of the writers in EzineArticles! So I started writing my own experiences. And I got a lot of traffic: I saw my article being sent through email quite often (I track traffic, as you all should). Once I realized that, it only made me want to write more – I felt I am helping people. It’s a really wonderful feeling. This site is not really profitable, and it’s quite time consuming to write the content, but it’s so satisfying that I feel it’s a worthwhile usage of my time.
What do you do that is green?
I have a green lifestyle and wellness website which has articles (most of which I’ve written) and promotes a range of green products. It’s actually the first affiliate website I ever did, so in hindsight I would’ve done it completely differently. It’s definitely not my top notch work, I’ll tell you that. I barely maintain it anymore nowadays, probably for that reason. Not sure whether I should plug it in… but in case you want to take a look: http://www.GreenPlanetAndMe.com
In a weird coincidence, one of my articles was mentioned today in the Discovery website (in fact, after I wrote the previous paragraph). The sudden spike in traffic alerted me to that. So maybe I wasn’t making so many mistakes after all 😉 They certainly picked the article I consider my best.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
(This is what I referred to above when I described my blog)
That I am an ex-academic, and in fact have a PhD in Computer Science. I actually studied in London (UCL, to be exact) and lived there for 4 years. I focused on a relatively small area of Artificial Intelligence called Evolutionary Algorithms (which uses evolution to solve problems). Regarding my blog, whenever I will see a relevant connection to this topic, I fully intend to cover it.
What do you see yourself doing in several years?
As much as I love affiliate marketing (this area is simply fun), I intend at some point, once I’m more established, to start creating tools for the field. I think there is a huge need for products that utilize artificial intelligence (“understanding” text and doing something with it, as well as automating certain tasks in an intelligent way). I intend to utilize what I studied during my PhD to do that, and will probably spend much of 2010 working on this. This is why I named my company U Labs (rather than say, U Media).
What’s your favorite book?
I actually have a book & movie review website (though enough with the plugging) so that’s a tough question. I would probably say Replay, by Ken Grimwood. It’s a relatively unknown book, though if you check the average score on Amazon you’ll be shocked by the hundreds of people who gave it 5 out 5 stars. It’s very, very good.
What is on your iPod?
I actually don’t use an iPod (though I do have one) 😉 When I commute, I read. I listen to music/webinars/podcasts at home on my PC 😉
What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?
email: udi@IndustryReview.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
company: U Labs (http://www.u-labs.net )
What events do you go to?
I love networking events, and use Meetup.com quite a lot to find interesting events to go to (I used to do it while I was living in London as well, so check it out). I go to Affiliate meetups (once a month – fantastic), Entrepreneurship meetups and technology meetups. I always meet interesting people, and very often these turn out to be useful contacts – and even friends.
How do you prefer to communicate?
Email. One day I realized that for all I care, we could get rid phones. Email is easier, you can answer whenever you are free, and you can do several things at the same time. Phone calls require your (almost) full attention.
Who would you recommend, and why?
I assume you refer for blogs?
The following blogs are a great source of information for internet & affiliate marketing. I’ve learned much from them.
1. John Chow, super-blogger. Highly recommended blog and a great source of inspiration. http://www.JohnChow.com
2. Shoemoney’s blog, another super-blogger. http://www.shoemoney.com/
3. Market Pilgrim: fascinating source of information: http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/
4. Murray Newlands (not sure you’re familiar with him, he’s a pretty cool guy and has an interesting blog): http://murraynewlands.com/
5. Heather Smith’s blog: http://boatinginbeautifulbritishcolumbia.com/
6. Andrew Hansen’s blog: http://andrewhansen.name/
7. Alex Goad’s blog (not updated often these days, but definitely worth checking out): http://www.netfrontiermarketing.com/
For more fun stuff:
8. Mashable (I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate on this blog): http://mashable.com/
9. Photo-a-day blog: http://www.benspark.com/
10. Peter Bentley’s science blog (my former PhD supervisor): http://apps.peterjbentley.com/Blog/
What is one thing people can do for you?
That’s a tough one. You know, I had an academic website for 4 years (which now exists in a really limited form) and on the first page I wrote “If you have any feedback, any suggestion, or just want to say hi, please send me a note”. I’ve had plenty of visitors during these four years, and I did receive the occasional email asking for something, but never as a result of this request. So I’d be happy if people can take a look at my blog, think about what I write, either leave a comment, send me a note for suggestions, or even just to say hi. I can see many people visiting my blog (in the logs), but the vast majority aren’t leaving any comments, so I never get to hear from them.
SEO Blogger and Affiliate Marketing Blogger Udi Schlessinger, Ph.D. of Industry Review