Links of the Week (5/25/2020)

The benefits of coffee and all the blogging tips and tricks…

How does your morning coffee really impact your brain? Most importantly, are there certain times of the day where your latte-caffeine boost is better for your health?

​Good thing I like coffee. ☕️

What your morning coffee really does to your brain


So how do you go from having lots of cold readers to having a bunch of raving fans? Well, that’s what I’ll be focusing on over the next few weeks.

How to Warm Up Your Readers and Make Them Raving Fans


Remember the 80/20 rule: 8 out of 10 readers will read your headline copy but only 2 out of 10 will read your entire post.

Since headlines persuade your audience to read your content, you should dedicate 50 percent of your efforts to writing magnetic headlines before you write the rest of your copy.

Here are 10 compelling tips to help you win the battle for your audience’s attention.

​Some GREAT copywriter inside info here.

10 Ways Specificity Helps You Build a Profitable Audience – Copyblogger


Whether you are entirely new to email marketing automation, or still have reservations, you should know that automating your email promotions will make you money in the long run.

If you’ve ever been curious to start something like this like I have, this is a good place to start educating yourself. There is a lot here to learn from.

Email Marketing Automation Bible – More Then Detailed Guide From Email SaaS Experts

Links of the Week (05/11/2020)

California dreaming, photography, and blogging for a living…

Do you dream about spelunking your way through a prehistoric cave? Is glamping under the stars more your style? Whatever your outdoor pleasure, you’re sure to find it in California.

You can find almost anything in my home state.

California’s Wide-Open Spaces


This month I clutched 250,000 pageviews. I’m thrilled, but looking at just a few years back it’s crazy how far my blog has come. We all start at 0 and we all have the power to catapult our blogs to help reach our goals.”

I stumbled across this site and got caught up reading a ton of articles. That’s usually a good sign of quality.

The 7 Best Ways to Grow Blog Traffic (0-250,000 Pageviews a Month)


We usually camp in national parks or the bush, but we also use caravan parks on extended roadtrips to enjoy luxuries such as power and a pool, and to clean up and do a few days’ work. A good caravan park is a destination in itself, and we’ve stayed in a few for up to a week, enjoying the experience.

A nice read for anyone who dreams of touring the country sometime in life.

The romance vs the reality of caravan parks


Feeling nervous about taking photographs in public can really hold your photography back. I personally can remember at least a year or so of photographing “interesting details” on walls and pavements because I just didn’t quite have the guts to photograph the people and scenes all around me. I wish I’d stopped to think about that at the time, and especially about how to overcome that fear!

Fantastic Tips to Stop Feeling Shy Taking Photographs in Public

Links of the Week (4/27/2020)

So much good advice for your writing and your blog…

In this piece we will cover all the ways you can organize your content creation workflow. Sit tight, because we’re packing a lot of guides on how tools help us create more and create better.

Lots of great apps and tools covered here. Always fun to read through posts like these.

The Complete List of Tools for SEO Content Creation & Blogging Productivity in 2020


As a teenager, you may have once pined over a boy or girl and thought, They don’t even know I exist. Well, it can feel just as bad when you create a new blog and no-one seems to be reading it. In fact, it may be even worse because Google Analytics will confirm your suspicions without a hint of sympathy.

How to Get the Word out about Your New Blog


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands on your blog to be successful. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of pageviews. Or even a super slick blog design. In fact, you can be extremely successful and barely spend any money. But what you do need is a plan.

5 Blogging Mistakes + How to Fix Them


While I know you’ve heard the benefits of guest posting before, I don’t think it’s often discussed as a practice.

A lot has to happen before more readers discover your writing, and one big obstacle blocks many internet-era writers …

Find Loyal Readers Faster with This Writing Practice

Links of the Week (4/20/2020)

Why they should read your article over others and a 103-year-old’s bucket list…

But why should readers choose your content over another writer’s work?

​This is one of those articles to save a re-read every now and then. Lots of valuable blogging specific advice here.

8 Transformative Edits to Strengthen Weak Content Writing – Copyblogger


The leading theory for why this happens is that the perception of time relies on the number of memories formed in a period, and memories are encoded from new and surprising experiences. The monotony of commuting to work on the same road for 20 years passes without leaving a mark. But every day is a memorable surprise to a child experiencing her first summer camp, or learning how big the universe is for the first time.

Time slowed in March because for the first time since childhood many of us are being bombarded with new and surprising experiences.

​I this this article answered a question I didn’t even know I had.

Why Time Has Slowed


  • Like everybody else, Romanian philosopher Mihai Sora is stuck inside.
  • He is keeping busy for a 103-year-old man, and keeping the world up to date on his indoor adventures with Facebook.
  • His to-do list is impressive, but not so impressive it can’t be used by most people.

​I’m impressed.

This 103-year-old philosopher’s to-do list will get you through self-isolation


While it’s very tempting to roll out of bed and into the workday still dressed in your most comfortable pajamas, this could be one of the biggest reasons you’re finding it hard to concentrate during your work from home days.

5 effortless, science-backed changes to your isolation workspace that will improve productivity and mental health

10,000 Hours of Blogging

I did the math…

Have you ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule?

What is the 10,000 hour rule? How long is 10,000 hours? Have you blogged for 10,000 hours? How?


This is a “rule” that Malcom Gladwell popularized stating that approximately 10,000 hours of practice are needed to master a skill (in the simplest terms). For now I will ignore the many arguments against this rule. Instead I will focus on the fact that it basically shows that a lot of volume is needed to work towards mastery of anything.

Many circles apply this rule to athletes, pointing to the amount of hours of practice that they need to get to the elite levels of competition or expertise. Volume is not the ONLY factor that contributes towards mastery, but 10,000 hours is widely recognized as a bar that many reach for.

How Long Does That Take?

Photo by Behy Studio on Unsplash
Photo by Behy Studio on Unsplash

Good question.

Some basic math (assuming 2 weeks vacation) showed me that if you put in 40 hours a week, you would reach this mark in 5 years.

10,000 hours / 40 hrs/week = 250 weeks

250 weeks / 50wks/year = 5 years

Is this realistic? Nope.

As a gymnast, growing up, I practiced for 3 hours a day 5-6 days a week (on average). That would put me at about 12-15 years to get to that mark of 10,000 hours.

This lines up well with high school athletes looking to compete in college. If they start young, like I did, they hit that mark just before, or during, college. I won’t go in to the various opinions on whether or not athletes should be multi-disciplinary in their younger years to round out their athletic foundation…I am focused on the raw volume for now.

Photo by Gentrit Sylejmani on Unsplash
Photo by Gentrit Sylejmani on Unsplash

Applying The Rule to Blogging

Does this mean you should blog full-time?

Maybe.

Why do you think the full-time bloggers are so good?

This was quite a realization for me. Largely because I’m not even close to 10,000 hours of blogging.

However, if you look at blogging as writing, then you can give yourself more credit towards that 10,000 hours. High school was hopefully a time to lay the first building blocks of your writing skills; with college giving you a serious boost towards the reps and volume you can’t avoid when honing a skill.

Let’s assume, for arguments sake, that by the time you have finished college you are at about 4,000 hours. (2 hours/day, 5days/week, for 8 years) While that is very optimistic, you still have 6,000 hours to reach the aforementioned Gladwell benchmark. Seeing as how most successful bloggers start off with a “regular” job and write on the side…let’s say you write for 4 hours per day. (That’s still a ton and probably not realistic for most)

6,000hrs / 20hrs/week = 300 weeks

300wks / 50wks/year = 6 years

6 years post college to become a “good” writer (blogger)!!!

That seems like a lot.

But it’s not. I would bet money that most successful bloggers didn’t find their success for at least that long…if not longer. I wrote about Jason Kottke not long ago and how he was running his website for 7 years before deciding to give blogging full-time a try. He has now been blogging full-time for 15 years and his blog is 22 years old.

Seth Godin…has been doing what he does for almost 30 years. He wrote his first book in 1999…his blog coming later. Talk about volume.

How to Get There

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

A couple years ago, I was traveling from Memphis to Portland with a connecting flight through Dallas Forth Worth. A cashier in DFW mentioned to me that I appeared to be in good shape and asked if I had any advice for him when it came to putting on muscle.

While the comment and question caught me off guard (because I was in a candy shop of all places), I assumed he was emboldened to ask because of the Crossfit shirt I was wearing.

In an instant, I thought of the thousands of hours of practice and working out I had accumulated for over 30 years. I asked myself, What one thing can I tell this random guy about my lifetime of fitness?

“Consistency man…go to the gym even when you don’t feel like it.”

I said as he handed me my receipt.

I couldn’t tell if the look he gave me said “true, true” or “that was lame” Nevertheless, it was the best piece of ‘gym advice’ I could think of as, ironically, I was walking out with a bag full of gummy bears.


Photo by Matthew Cabret on Unsplash
Photo by Matthew Cabret on Unsplash

I learned a lot about consistency and self-discipline from my years of gymnastics. Yet, I find I still need these reminders as I work on becoming a better writer:

  1. Becoming a better writer will take time…a few years by my calculations, probably more.
  2. There are no shortcuts…no matter how many Medium articles I read that promise me ‘5 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer’.
  3. Consistency is key…I have to write even when I don’t feel like it.

Now you’ve read this article and learned in 5 minutes what it took me decades to discover.

Knowing these 3 insights alone won’t guarantee your success…but they sure as hell will help.

This was first posted over on Medium. If you like these longer form posts, you can get early access to them by becoming a Patron for $1 a month.

Links of the Week (4/06/2020)

Mind mapping, a replacement app for Notes, and building your blog email list…

Shawn and Mike hosted a webinar to teach more about our Idea System and how to better use mind mapping.

They covered not only the basics of mind mapping, but also a handful of mind mapping workflow examples.

Idea Magic: How to Capture, Manage, and Develop Your Ideas (Video Replay) – The Sweet Setup


But two apps rise above the others as the true cream of the crop: MindNode, with a stunningly beautiful user interface, and iThoughts, with powerful features and impressive flexibility.

​I used MindNode extensively when I was in the thick of my Masters degree. Really helped me with outline is and structuring all those papers I had to write.

iThoughts vs. MindNode: A Comparison of the Two Best Mind Mapping Apps – The Sweet Setup


I can’t think of a single other notes app that looks as good as Noto. Appearance isn’t everything, but it sure is important, and Noto nails the look of what I consider a modern interface. It’s clean, elegant, and vastly superior to Apple Notes’ textured notebook style. And just look what happens when adding notes to folders.

I moved over to Noto from Apple Notes. It gorgeous.

Noto Review: Beautifully Modern and Versatile Note-Taking


Creating a newsletter for my blog has totally changed the blogging landscape for me. It’s my best blogging asset.

​One of these days I’ll explore doing this more in depth.

How to Create a Newsletter For Your Blog #GrowYourBlog Series

You Won’t Believe My Morning

Straight out of a futuristic Gulliver’s Travels…

I went out on my daily excursion to sit on the front step of my building for ten minutes holding my breath when people walked by. Normally, I spend the time diddling around my phone, but I forgot to bring my phone this morning, so I just looked around.

As I was taking in the emptiness of the street, a little glint caught my eye in a patch of dirt on the sidewalk. I bent over to look closer, and there was the glint again. It wasn’t a normal glint like from a shiny rock or a piece of metal—it was a little pinprick of flashing light.

Intrigued, I was now on all fours looking closer. And I saw the most surreal thing.

Tiny houses.

Like tiny houses. Each about a millimeter high, like ornately carved grains of sand.

I was either dreaming or looking at the coolest, cutest little art project ever.

As I examined the microscopic village, I noticed what looked like a scrawl of teeny letters on the dirt next to the houses. It said:

PUT YOUR THUMB ON THE OVAL

You HAVE to read this.

Blogging Full-Time

Blogging full-time is a goal for many…he made it happen before it was a thing.

Not sure if you have ever heard of Kottke.org, but it’s one of the internet’s oldest and well-known blogs. Somehow I stumbled across a 15-year-old post over there, when Jason Kottke wrote about going “full-time blogging”.

After thinking about it for a few weeks, I had a bit of an epiphany. The real problem was the tension between my web design career and my self-publishing efforts; that friction was unbalancing everything else. One of them had to go, and so I decided to switch careers and pursue the editing/writing of this site as a full-time job.

I would imagine that was as terrifying then as it is now…probably more so. He had been working full-time and keeping up his blog as it picked up steam for about 7 years.

Think about that.

7 years keeping his blog up and running before he jumped in to it full time.

Ok, but why else are you doing this?

Blogging — or personal publishing in general (not that they’re synonymous) — as a pursuit has been somewhat marginalized as a hobby or something one does to support other more worthy and/or lucrative pursuits. People leverage their blogs in order to write books, write for magazines or newspapers, pursue art or photography, go work for Gawker, Mediabistro, or Weblogs Inc., get jobs at startups, do freelance design (as I used to), start a software company, or as a vehicle to sell advertising. All worthy pursuits, but I’m interested in editing kottke.org as my primary interest; blogging for blogging’s sake, I guess.

I have always seen blogging as a way to share my interests…and I think most folks see it the same way. Many might see blogging full-time as a dream job, but I bet it’s a lot of work too. What’s the saying?…

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

We have the benefit of hindsight and reading this post from 2005 is pretty cool to see. Jason’s write up still holds up all these years later.

Doing kottke.org as a full-time job

Note: I saved that post to read later and write about here and little did I know that just a couple days later (March 14th to be exact), Kottke.org turned 22.

Hello all. I know there’s a pandemic going on out there, but I wanted to take a moment to celebrate kottke.org turning 22 years old today. If you’ve been reading along the entire time or for only a few days, it’s been an honor for me to inform, provoke, entertain, and possibly even infuriate you all for a few minutes every day. Thanks for reading — and an extra-special thanks to those who support the site with a membership. As I said a few weeks ago, all this really means a lot to me.

Celebrating 22 Years of Kottke.org

Links of the Week (3/09/2020)

Deep dive on my WP theme, mesh WiFi routers, and that company that raised their minimum salary to $70k a year…

I’m the Grinch who grumbles about every WordPress theme. Except one. After years of resisting change, I finally switched FilterJoe to a modern, responsive theme: Twenty Sixteen—the new default theme included with WordPress 4.4.

My only temptation has been to leave WordPress for a simpler and more writing-focused platform like Ghost or Medium. While WordPress was for blogging at first, it expanded over the years into content management and an online application platform. The original focus on blogging has been diluted, and WordPress themes often reflect that.

However, WordPress now offers Twenty Sixteen for modern blogging, and it is good.

In this post, I detail how Twenty Sixteen makes me comfortable with it as a wonderfully content-focused blog theme.

This is the Theme I am running right now. This guy nailed it in so many levels.

The Grinch who Changed to the Twenty Sixteen WordPress Theme


A few new opportunities have arisen recently, offering up an equally exciting opportunity to reassess my camera kit. Now, I have friends — knowledgeable friends, very wise friends — who have made it clear I have very little rational reason to make any changes. But want is a pretty significant factor, specifically when it comes to photography kit.

Many of us can identify with this.

First Impressions of the Canon EOS R, a Reader’s Setup, and More – The Sweet Setup


Amazon’s Eero routers are the first out of the gate with HomeKit support, which promises to provide greater security to your Internet-connected HomeKit devices.

The update, which appeared today via an update to Eero’s iOS app, walks users through the setup process of adding their Eero gateway to the Home app. Along the way, the Eero app explains that enabling HomeKit support allows Eero to firewall off each HomeKit device, so they only communicate with approved devices and services.

I bought an Eero mesh WiFi router when I moved to a bigger house. Totally worth it.

Eero WiFi Routers Add HomeKit Support


Remember a few years ago when the owner of a credit card payment processing company based in Seattle raised the minimum wage of his employees to $70,000/yr while taking a huge pay-cut himself and capitalists the world over, afraid of their beloved & apparently suuuuper delicate system collapsing from such madness, flipped out?

🤔

What Happened to the Company That Raised Minimum Wage to $70k/yr?