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Tiger Woods Would Beat Me With A Broomstick

Broomstick...And Why Blogger Bling Is A Waste Of Your Time.

I play golf.  And that's just it, I play.  It is not a business for me, save for the friendly wager I encourage.  Yet, for Tiger Woods it's business, it always has been.  His goal since he was 3 years old is to be known as the best golfer that ever played the game.  As he sets his sights on shattering the (once thought of as unattainable) career watermarks of Jack Nicholas, he, not so quietly, earns mega-millions yearly.  His approach has been governed by three elements: Clear Goals, Unwavering Focus, and Hard Work.  Without these elements, all the natural talent in the world wouldn't have earned him the title he is bound to earn.

So, when Tiger and I go out on a hypothetical golf course and play 18, I know that it is the skills he has honed to near perfection that will have him beating me with a broomstick in lieu of a set of clubs.  It isn't the tools that he is beating me with, it is with his mastery.  He understands better than anyone whom ever lived, what it takes to get the ball into the hole.

So where's the analogy?  Brain Clark of Copyblogger may just be the Tiger Woods of blogging about writing copy.  In just one year he has accumulated nearly 8000 (update: as of 1/1/08 he has nearly 30k) Feedburner subscribers; subscribers that gladly receive his regular offerings on writing blog copy the moment it is published.  To speak bluntly, this is pretty boring stuff; I mean it's writing about writing.  That's like a seminar on how to run seminars... Yet he accumulates greater interest every day.  Admittedly, I am a big fan, and apply many of the techniques I have learned from Brian, and boring or not, I am 'excited' to see what he's going to publish next.  He understands what his audience craves, and he delivers.

The beauty of what Brian has done in his first year as a business blogger is that he has done it with just the basic tools.  Clean design, Side Bar full of Internal Links, Feedburner, a couple of Plug-Ins, and Regular, Focused, On-Topic Content.

There is no Bling* on Copyblogger.
No Live Chat
No SNAP Preview
No Blogroll
No Chicklets
No Colorful Social Bookmarking Tags
No Logowear for sale
No Tag Clouds
No What's on my iPod
No Blog Directories
No MyBlogLog
No Award Badges
No Amazon Favorites
No Flickr
No YouTube
No Polls
No Graphs
No Blog Value Calculator
No BlogBar
No Daily Quotes
No Cartoons
(Update: Here’s an article I found on The Best Of Blog Bling that showcases a great number if items I recommend you avoid)

Fancy tools on your blog can cheapen and distract one from the content that needs to be the focus in the first place.  If your blog is for business, don't mire the message in bells and whistles.  Be the blogger that can win me over with a pencil.

*Granted, there are some ads.  It is business.

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Comments

I'm a big golfer too....6'5" and 275 lbs....really big golfer.

Nice analogy. I'm going to read this guy and try to figure out how to excuse myself from the crap fest that is the average blog. Excellence has to be a way of life if you want to succeed.

It's the content that brings people back, at least that's what I say to myself. There's a reason that there are now tips for disabling Snap previews - they are distracting and moderately annoying. I do think that tag clouds are useful, but will gladly disparage them as I cannot figure out how to make mine work. :)

You bring up a lot of good points about all of the doodads we can put on our blogs. I just want to say that for blogs like mine pictures are critical because my blog is about houses and St. Paul. There is a phot album embeded in my site that has actaully been responsible for most of my leads.

Firstly a giggle... I clicked on the link to Copyblogger and todays post has a YouTube video of Prince doing the Super Bowl half time show....

Anyways,

There is a balance between stripped down naked, and being cluttered with garbage. I think a lot of that comes with just time and effort, see what works and what doesn't.

Somethings are good for a season, then you and your blog out grows them. Right now for example I have a MyBlogLog widget on my site, it can be kinda lonely at times chugging away, and it energeizes me when I see peoples faces circling through my site.

Meebo seems to have potential.

SNAP Preview is THE DEVIL get it off your site.


Teresa,

Definitely. I don't follow my own advice above: logowear, blogroll, blog directories... I was just pointing out that if you are truly good at what you do, then the bling just becomes a distraction. In marketing, sometimes we need a bit of flare, or imagery to 'paint the picture' - just don't go overboard.
I love my T-Shirt on the sidebar. Does it do anything for my message? Probably not. Is is kind of fun? I think so. Should I take it down? Probably.

I wonder if I offended any of the community with this one... I know got a lot of the examples of bling from looking around at our peers.

There are dozens of community-based "opportunities" for me to increase someone else's link reputation, most of which offer little or no value to my readers or to me. Circa 2002, it seemed every other real estate site had half a dozen links to some award, "Real Estate Top Banana" or "Real Estate Immaculate Honcho". Now it's all some bloggie thingie mucking up the page.

John,

I'd be happy to send you a 'Friend of the Tomato' chicklet for your sidebar. :P

I have to agree that the bling is getting pretty wild in the blogosphere. Everytime I visit a new blog there are new toys that can be added. MSN Spaces platform is this way anymore, it was my first blog, and since their launch when the only cool things were a photo album and moveable modules there is now YouTube, Amazon and many other add in modules. I have steered away from them all on Spaces because load time dramatically goes up. My ActiveRain blog I have added some links to directories but havent gone for much bling. Not really needed and plus having all these tools it is difficult to keep track of it all.

Jim, I love all your bling! It's funny that you mentioned all the bling. Went into a sports bar and couldn't get over all the TV's a stuff...I think it's more a generational thing. This new generation wants and needs a lot of stimulous, in my opinion but you are right, if you have good content that should be all that's needed. Very thought provoking and I really need to check out Brian a little more carefuly. I do get his RSS feed but now I'll look at it more closely.

I added my first chicklet this week. Mybloglog creates a social connection. I like it but none of my clients or prospects show up there. Just other real estate bloggers. I am happy to see their faces, of course, but my prospects and clients are still anonymous.

Blog chat actually got me a new client within 24 hours of having it up on my site and one prospect. Much better results than my contact me page has ever had.

Yes, I think that blogs can get too blingy. If you dont have good content they wont come back.

Maureen,

That's awesome about the chat feature success. I wonder how many others have had a similar experience with the chat tool.
To each their own for sure, and who am I to say what is going to work for everyone?... my main point is that it is through the quality of the message and the frequency of the message that one should look to impress their audience, not with the bells and whistles.
Heck, I don't strictly follow my own advice: my sidebars are full of chicklets and I have some logowear as well. But on the other hand, I tried the chat feature for about 45 days and although I have upwards of 350 visitors a day (and growing) I couldn't get a peep out of y'all. In fact, I wouldn't know what to do if you had started using it because it was out of my control to monitor such a tool.

>>Firstly a giggle... I clicked on the link to Copyblogger and todays post has a YouTube video of Prince doing the Super Bowl half time show....

DOH!

It just figures, doesn't it? I stay focused for an entire year, someone gives me credit for it, and I go and post a Prince video.

What can I say? ;)

Jim - thank you for confirming an earlier premonition I was having about my blog. A few months back I had added the Snap Preview Anywhere "feature" to my site. I removed it this morning because it was bothering me. I have to assume that it is bothering others that visit my site as well. Down with the Bling, and props to you for helping me improve.

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