Links of the Week (7/20/2020)

SEO all day…

Your website is probably sitting on a gold mine of keywords.

Using Google Search Console as a Keyword Ranking Tool


Before you just jump in and buy the first domain name that suits your fancy, here are some things to consider to make sure you’re picking from the cream of the crop.

How To Find A Good Domain Name For Your New Website


…throughout all changes in the SEO field, the one thing that remains constant is content. Here are five SEO writing tools for optimizing your content.

5 SEO Writing Tools for Optimizing your Content – ReadWrite


I lost my love of reading in high school. Required reading and comprehension quizzes bashed it out of me.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I rediscovered my reading passion. Malcolm Gladwell helped me find it.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Top 13 Writing Tips

Just ONE

Surpasing 100 Direct Subscribers…

Thank you.

I recently surpassed 100 direct followers and I wanted to thank everyone who has commented, liked, and hit that follow button here.

If you see my about page, you’ll see that across all my platforms I am over 8,000 followers…but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I hit a hot streak over on Tumblr a few years back and most of my “followers” are from over there (where I still cross post). That was back when I was climbing and photo focused.

Tumblr’s state of affairs is a whole separate topic, but please know that I consider my followers here much more “present” as I see a lot of interactions via likes and comments from you all.

I remember posting over there once that I was shutting down an old website of mine. Of the over then 7,000 followers I had I got one email.

Just one.

However, that one email was from someone who told me that my posts had inspired him to start his own climbing inspired website. He even sent me a climbing chalk bag that I have to this day.

I had posted over there as the “caffeinated climber” from my now defunct climbercafe site. A site that I enjoyed creating and building but ran out of time to keep up…but I inspired one person to action.

Just one.

And that one made it all worth it.

If you take anything away from this today, remember…write for the internet you want…you may just inspire that next one to action.

Best (all) Brass Fountain Pen

When I came to my current job, I was in the mood for a “fancy” pen.

I had never owned a fountain pen so I did some research on what was out there. There are A LOT of options for those looking for anything from plastic to a few hundred dollar Mont Blanc.

My taste for quality did not quite get me to the high end stuff. However, I found that I gravitated towards a smaller selection of pens like this brass Kaweco SUPRA. The all brass construction really appealed to me and let me tell you…it feels really good to write with.

I don’t use this as my daily driver per se, but whenever I journal, this is what I am writing with. They’re selling for a good deal over on Amazon right now too.

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

You Want the Best Traveler’s Notebook? Start Here.

If you ever hunt for buried treasure…this is your notebook…

I jumped down this rabbit hole a while back and got lost in the sea of the “Traveler’s Notebook” community.

There is the “official” Traveler’s notebook from the Traveler’s Company based out of Japan, and then there are a bunch of others that have iterated off of their brand.

I had no idea that there were whole communities built around something so small…correction…something so complicated. I ended up with the smaller, blue version of the original that I use at work and then have the below larger version (from another company) for some personal journaling.

Check them out here and here.

Setapp for the Work at Home Save

The Netflix of apps pulls through in this “work-at-home” world we live in right now…

I have written about Setapp before.

Just the other day I had a great work-from-home use case and I thought I would share it with you.


At my work the software we are given to manipulate boring things like PDFs is lackluster to say the least. Last week I needed to convert over 200 pages of a word document (that was broken up in to 60 word files) in to a PDF.

Yes, I could have printed all 216 pages and scanned them to a PDF…or… I could make good use of the various Mac apps I have at home.

PDF Expert

My primary PDF reader/editor I use on my Mac is PDF Expert by Readdle. In my opinion it’s the best app that works across the Mac and iOS platforms. However, when I was trying to figure out the best way to use the software to open up 60 word documents and merge them in to one big PDF I was stumped.

PDF Expert

That is when I remembered some PDF software I used pay for before I found PDF Expert…PDFpen.

PDFpen by Smile Software

This was one of the first PDF editing/manipulating pieces of software I ever paid for a few years ago and it’s still a fantastic piece of software…but I eventually got priced out of the Pro version that had the advanced features I wanted.

When I was a recruiter I used to work from my home office a lot, and had to collect various documents and merge them and send them off for processing. PDFpen was my go to mac app to get this done.

As I was trying to figure out how to use PDF Expert to do just this, I remembered my past workflow…but I didn’t own PDFpen any more.

Damn!!

That is when Setapp popped in to my head. Did the “Netflix of Mac Apps” have PDFpen PRO?

Setapp search function

Setapp

You’re damn right it did!

I opened it up, searched for PDFpen and had it downloaded and open in less than a minute.

PDFpen let me open up the first word document directly in it, then all I had to do was drag each of the 59 other word document to the side bar. That’s it! Once I had them all over in the left hand thumbnails area, I just saved the document and boom…a 216 page PDF.

Easy breezy.

Worth It?

With the way that most apps are moving to subscription models, I would say YES.

Rather than paying $150 a year for various applications that you will use, you can pay about $100 a year (or $10/month) for those same apps and a ton more!

There is always the risk that one of your “must-have” apps isn’t in Setapp…but they’re updating their repertoire often.

Might at least be worth checking out.

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.