Category: Blogging

What No One Told Me About Blogging

LockerTed Demopouluos is writing a book called What No One Ever Told You About Blogging. He’s asking bloggers to share their own answers. I read about it last night and woke up in the wee hours with the question spinning in my head. I have a feeling no one is going to like this simile, but I believe it’s apt, so here goes…

No one told me that blogging would be like being a new kid in high school. Basically, everyone wants to be popular (thus we have our Technorati rank, our feedburner subscriber list, our precious site meter). You have your popular kids, your wall flowers, your geeks, your smart kids, and your cut-ups. There are sub-cultures and the whole herd mentality.

What I’ve found is that my mother’s sage advise still rings true:

  1. Be yourself. People want to know you, not just your product or business. Authenticity will serve you well in the long run.
  2. The only way to have a friend is to be one. Don’t just listen – comment – post – joing the conversation. It’s the only way others will get to know you and what you have to say.
  3. Give it time. Blogging grows organically and exponentially. Slow and steady win the race.

Now, if I could just remember my locker combination!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Flickr photo courtesy of Kelli372

Why Bookmark When You Can Subscribe?

Mailbox It happened again over the weekend. A friend e-mailed me and said, "I’ve bookmarked your blog. It will be one of the sites I check regularly."

Right. By the way, have you kept that New Year’s resolution?

Let me ask you a question. Do you go to the store to pick up your favorite newspaper or magazine, or do you have it delivered to your home? Why? Because it’s simple and convenient. You don’t have to think about it, voila’ it’s right there at your door.

So why bookmark a site (e.g. add it to the to-do list) when you can have it (Voila’!) delivered right to your desktop? Give it a try. Let me give you simple instructions for the program I use.

  1. Go to sharpreader – download and install the FREE program.
  2. Look for the orange icon on the sidebar of my blog right under the heading "Subscribe to Feed" (Whenever you see this icon, you know that the site has a "feed" that can be delivered to your Sharpreader).
  3. Right-click on that icon and select "Copy Shortcut."
  4. Open your Sharpreader and look for the "Address" box at the top of the window.
  5. Right-click on the address box and select "Paste."
  6. Now click the "Subscribe" button to the left of the address box.

Voila’! Now you’ve subscribed to QAQnA. Whenever I write a new post you’ll get a little window that will slide up on the bottom right-hand corner of your desktop for about 3 seconds with the title of the post. You can subscribe to any blog or site that has a "feed". You can also put any keyword like "call center" or "customer service" in the "Keyword" box to the right of the address box on your Sharpreader window. Hit "enter" and then click "Subscribe." Now, whenever anyone writes a post or when there’s a news article containing that keyword, Sharpreader will give you a little pop-up notification. Go to your Sharpreader window and it has it all stored for you, ready to read!

(Note: Don’t forget to open your Sharpreader when you boot-up!)

Related Posts: Understanding Feeds and RSS; Getting Started Reading Feeds

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,  

Does the Blogosphere Have a Trilateral Commission?

Eric Myers and Mike Sansone have both written recent posts that are an encouragement to sprouting bloggers like me. I mean, who am I? I’m just a squeaky voice in the wilderness of the blogosphere, nestled in my little niche, surviving on locusts and honey. I’ve just passed the half-century post mark. I write my posts faithfully. I try to comment religiously and sincerely to other blogs . I respond when people are kind enough to stop by and water my fledgling blog with their thoughts.

Three things I’ve learned as a novice blogger:

  1. "Give and you shall receive". When you take the time to go out and comment on the blogs of others, they will usually reciprocate. Actually, I’m a little blown away by a few of the great relationships I’ve already established and the amazing people I’ve met. If you expect to just sit there blogging and have people to seek you out, well – get used to being lonely.
  2. "To everything there is a season…a time to sow and a time to reap." A farmer can’t control the weather. I can’t control my blog stats. I write a killer post that I think will create ripples through the blogosphere and it dies on the vine. Then I throw out some homely, idle thought and it sprouts legs and bears that wonderful fruit of link love. Go figure. I don’t get it. All I can do is keep sowing the seed.
  3. "A good name is more desirable than great riches." In my limited time blogging, I’m tempted to believe that Tom Peters, Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki control the blogosphere. If I wrote a conspiracy blog, I’m sure I could make a reasonable case that they are blogosphere’s version of the trilateral commission. They speak and we link. Woe unto him who does not blog roll the trinity. Personally, I think it’s a combination of a cool name and a killer personal brand. I’m considering a name change from Tom Vander Well to "Rock Hamilton" or maybe something like "Bull Oakwood". Next, I’ll shave my head and get the bald head with goatee thing going. Maybe some really cool tech gadgets and a more artsy look to my blog are in order. I think about all that, but then I go back to the first two lessons I’ve listed. You know what? I need to keep doing what I’m doing. To quote the prophet Popeye, "I am what I am" and dangit – I have something worthwhile to contribute. I don’t need a wealth of stats. I need to be true. Everything else will take care of itself. Please don’t construe this as being critical of Tom, Seth and Guy. I appreciate and admire all three of them (seriously, if only I could touch the cuffs of their khakis then I know my sitemeter would be healed of it’s atrophy!).

Have a good weekend and thanks for stopping by. If you need me, I’ll be out on the back-forty sowing some more posts. If you care to water my blog with a comment or two, I promise to return the favor.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

flickr photo courtesy of Seattle Roll

Mark Your Calendar: Blogtipping Day – June 1

BlogtippingJust a reminder to everyone that the next Blogtipping Day is June 1. QAQnA salutes Easton Ellsworth for the cool new buttons and icons he’s provided for anyone who wants to join in.

What is Blogtipping?

Take a blog, any blog. Write a post sharing three things you like about the blog and one "tip" you have for the author.  You aren’t limited to one. You can blogtip as many as you want. Make sure you "tag" your post: blogtipping.

Related Posts: Blogtipping Converstations; Blogtipping Service Untitled; Blogtipping Follow-up

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Introducing the QAQnA “Mug Club”

Qaqna_badgeIn the spirit of spreading goodwill throughout the blogosphere and because I truly love coffee with my Coffee Time Links, QAQnA is proud to institue our monthly "Mug Club" Award. The award will be given to bloggers who distinguish themselves as a friend of QAQnA through:

  1. Providing quality content in their own blogs
  2. Posting quality comments on QAQnA
  3. Linking to QAQnA
  4. Acts of goodwill that extend the conversation

Winners who are willing to provide us with a mailing address will receive a FREE coffee mug (to enjoy a hot cup o’ joe while reading Coffee Time Links)! They will also receive the nifty QAQnA "Mug Club badge" you see here to place on their blog. In addition, they will be placed on the Mug Club Roll on QAQnA, and will be the focus of a Mug Club Award post that will shower them with praise and adoration.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Reward of Listening

It’s interesting how a topic of conversation sort of ripples through the blogosphere. Lately, it seems I’ve read several posts about listening to customers and criticism as strategic opportunities for improvement. Steve Browne and Jam Mayer had different takes on this principle. It’s easy to ignore customer complaints and criticism or to dismiss it as a few angry crackpots.

But maybe there’s gold in them thar piles of problems.

A few years ago we did an ongoing Service Quality Assessment for a satellite dish provider. We listened to a valid sample of phone calls each month and then delivered regular reports on both CSR service skills as well as policy/procedure related issues. Over the course of a few months we noticed a strange increase in the number of customers who were calling to say, “I sent my check today. I just wanted you to know it’s in the mail.” We reported this trend and asked our client “Why do your customers feel compelled to proactively call you and tell you they are sending their payments?” It didn’t make sense.

The client did some digging and found out that their lock-box provider had been sitting on checks and not processing them. Customers’ payments weren’t being processed on time and, as a result, their programming was cut off. Once this happened, customers didn’t trust the company to process their payments on time and were afraid of having their programming cut off again, so they began calling when they put the check in the mail.

As a result, the client switched the lock-box providers and within months they shaved thousands of calls per month from their queue not to mention the money it was costing them to switch programming on and off and the intangible cost of customer ire. Not bad.

Are you listening?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,  

Blogtipping Follow-Up

Blog_tipping_2Yesterday I was talking to Mike Sansone and he mentioned that his latest post included his sleep number. He shared this most personal of information with us because I had blog-tipped him about letting people get to know him better through his posts [I’m not sure I need to know his sleep number, but it’s a start Mike – good job!]

The other blog I blog-tipped was Service Untitled. In case you haven’t heard, Douglas agreed to open up comments on his blog and join in the conversation! Way to go! I guess I wasn’t the only one to make this suggestion, and I’m glad he’s being responsive.

Next Blog-tipping day is June 1! Mark your calendars now!

Technorati Tags: