Level 4 of the OEC Course Complete and Disappointments
I Can See the Finish Line!
I completed level four of the Online Entrepreneur Certification course last night! This level took a lot longer to complete than others, because real life intervened.
I am super excited I did continue plugging away at the training and my site, even if it wasn't with as much focus and drive as previous lessons.
What Have I Learned So Far?
I have learned basic SEO and social media engagement, of course. I have also learned that Wealthy Affiliate main training is excellent. I love the concept behind this platform. It's definitely an excellent concept.
I also interviewed a moderately successful independent blogger, not affiliated with Wealthy Affiliate, that has had a blog for around 8 years and averages around 30k visitors a month.
Why have I gone outside of Wealthy Affiliate for this? Because I find I am disappointed in some of the practices people encourage on Wealthy Affiliate. Not Kyle or Carson, they emphasize honesty in their training, which is why I became a premium member.
While Kyle and Carson created an excellent platform for us to help each other, it's amazingly sad how some people abuse it or think it should be used. I find it kind of concerning long time premium members don't understand the difference between the Site Feedback and Site Comments sections. I ask for feedback and get nothing of value. I have better luck with Site Comments because they don't have to expend the effort looking for ways a site can improve. It's the same problem with earning site credits, even the unpaid ones.
I'm disappointed people don't understand the concept of comments left on their site at all. I decided to ask an independent blogger, who makes okay money to supplement her income, but she's in a highly saturated niche, book blogging. So she's fairly successful despite the competition.
I find I'm disappointed because while this site is about online business, people are focusing more on business and money and not helping their audience. Meaning anything goes as long as it generates visitors and commissions. Site Comments and Feedback isn't about genuinely helping your fellow affiliate marketer, it's about getting credits for money and to get your own comments. Your social media for your business is all about generating traffic to your site. Your site is about click conversions and sales instead of engagement, which ultimately leads to return visitors. If people like you, they're going to trust you and keep coming back to your site.
Even people 'helping' other people on the Wealthy Affiliate site seems to be less about helping and more to do with rank. How many times I see someone, or me, ask a question about something and they get wrong answers because they didn't know the answer or bother to double check the information before answering it. People asking a question shouldn't be correcting the answers.
My Interview with a Blogger
So I asked a few questions of the lovely Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup book blog. She's not on Wealthy Affiliate and I definitely want to credit her after she took the time to answer my questions. This blog is one of the few I actually follow because I like the blogger. She's fun to read, on social media and on her blog.
So, to begin with, Anna has been blogging for 8 years. For 7 of those years, she actively promoted and participated in book tours, new releases where she'd read the ARC (Advance Readers Copy) of books soon to be released, paid ads, that kind of thing. Her monthly visitors averaged about 30k. Last year in February she created 24 posts.
The last year, she took a step back from all of that and just blogs about older releases she reads and her foray into what I call Extreme Couponing. She's averaging 10k visitors a month now, makes enough to support her books, and posted 13 times this February.
She explicitly stated she doesn't moderate her comment section, except for the spam ones that her Disqus does itself. As to her reasoning behind this:
"Some comments are just 'oh, love this post' or something similar. A thanks for the post or a quick little note. While they aren't "helpful" exactly I still like these. I like knowing that people are coming by and seeing the posts. If they don't leave a comment...I have no idea anyone's been by (and can't visit back if they're a blogger) or that they found the post helpful. Some people aren't comfortable leaving longer comments and those short ones are where they feel comfortable and that's okay with me. I still reply to those and hope they know I value their time.
Some are in depth and lengthy but positive/constructive. These can be fun to reply to and get a discussion going now and again. I guess these are the only ones the other blogs are keeping?
Some are just flat out negative or combative. I've contemplated removing some of these in the past but usually end up leaving them and giving a reply and proper set down. It doesn't reflect on me but on them in those cases, you know?"
Now I like the blogger. She's a hoot on Facebook and when she really dislikes a book. You can tell she's passionate about what she does. Her book commissions are probably pretty pocket change as she's not getting much per sale, but she loves it. She's earned a loyal following just because of her personality on her blog.
The reason she went back to 'hobby' instead of business is because of the magnitude of drama from authors who just don't get what a prize honest reviews are. It's hard to even get people to understand why giving your friend 5 stars and encouraging others to do so is wrong and not what the review system is for. There's also a reason Amazon removes reviews from an author's Facebook friends.
By the way, she thinks someone rewriting comments is 'crazy.'
People Don't Get It
It seems to be very hard to get people to understand why something is wrong, morally, when they can't see that for themselves. Maybe defensiveness? How do I determine what is wrong in my business? I put myself in my audience's shoes. Would I like it if I became a fan of an author and found out they don't actually write their own books? Nope. Would I like it if my favorite blogger didn't write all her stuff? Not so much. Would I keep coming back to a review site that promotes expensive products by lies? Nope. Do I return to a site that's obviously focusing on money? Again, no.
There's a difference between a niche site and a blog, though not much of one. If a site wasn't 'personal' in nature, with credits to one writer, I think paying for someone to write your content is perfectly okay. If you're blogging, everything is about your personal experiences, hiring someone to write your post isn't so great. It's a fine line I myself may one day navigate.
Wealthy Affiliate's platform is amazing and useful in theory. In practice, people are selfish. They comment on blogs here just so they get it returned, with half effort, but want your full effort.
The Golden Rule
I wish people could remember the golden rule we learned in Kindergarten. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want good comments, GIVE good comments. If you want followers, VALUE your followers. If you want useful answers, GIVE useful answers. If you want respect, GIVE respect. Be courteous, and people will return that favor.
Give your fellow affiliate marketers the respect you want. We're all navigating the same river here. If you want to help, giving correct answers to questions is helpful, don't just guess and send a poor newbie misinformation. If you want credits, cool, but put some thought into HELPING your fellows by providing actual feedback in Site Feedback and actually reading the article in Site Comments.
I don't even care what your comment says, as long as it's genuine. I'm not going to put pressure on you to be poetic and perfect for a silly comment that overall doesn't help that much except to promote engagement. Honestly, you can't think of anything to say in Site Comments, go ahead and comment directly on my blog, 'Good job.'
Content is Key
We should put effort into our own content and stop being salesmen. No one likes salesmen. Be a problem solver. Marketing is good, of course, but you want a site that can survive without constantly pushing your brand like a salesman.
Kyle says content is key. Over and over again. No amount of social media marketing or site comments are going to help you if you don't have good, engaging content. Ads won't help without the content. Your site rank means nothing to your site sales. Social media isn't just about converting traffic and sales, it's about engagement with your audience, getting your brand out there, but that does nothing without content.
How do I find the sites I follow? Search engine! I rarely see a post on Facebook and visit the site. I will visit a site of s blogger who left a comment, but I don't return if I don't find the content any good. All this effort to get visitors is peanuts compared to engaging content. You NEED content. You should be helping other WA members to help and treating people how you want to be treated. Let's help each other between focusing on content and our business. Don't half-ass efforts for minimal incentives. Give people better. Give yourselves better!