Blogs are incredibly common. Every modern business operating on the web has a website (or should have one). Half your friends have a blog. Even you may already have a blog — or you might have several.
Blogs are popular in part because of how easy they are to start – but mostly because people realize how much potential they have. With a solidly popular blog, you could funnel millions of people to your main website, or collect a ton of recurring advertising revenue and retire early, or just spread the word about an important political cause you support.
To be sure, blogs are ridiculously powerful marketing and communication tools, and it’s entirely possible to start a blog that can reach millions of people. But the reality is, most blogs never get to this point. In fact, most blogs never even attract 100 visitors – let alone millions.
So why is it that most blogs fail? And what can you do to prevent this fate for yourself?
The Conditions That Make Blogs Likely to Fail
First, let’s address some background conditions that make it more likely for blogs to fail.
- Competition. There are hundreds of millions of active blogs out there – and untold billions of individual posts. So no matter how obscure or specific your topic is, chances are, there are already dozens of blogs covering that topic. So if you want to make an impact, you need to do something different or something better – and with so many people to contend with, this becomes increasingly difficult.
- History. Similarly, most of the blogs you’re contending with already have an established audience – and a long history. If a blog on a given topic already has hundreds of posts and thousands of loyal regular readers, how can you possibly enter the market? This makes it hard to dethrone existing players, incentivizing people to start a new niche of their own.
- Defining success. What is “success” for your blog, anyway? Is it making a certain amount of money with affiliate marketing? Is it getting to a certain amount of traffic? If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, it’s difficult to make a blog that works.
- Popularity thresholds. Millions of blogs never get seen by anybody. If they never get a chance to be discovered, it doesn’t matter how good the content within is – nobody’s going to read it. By contrast, sometimes blogs continue growing in popularity simply because they’re already so popular; word of mouth allows them to be practically self-sustaining. Reaching these popularity thresholds can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out with no established audience.
Why Most Blogs Fail
Now let’s take a closer look at the factors responsible for most blogs failing – and the steps you can take to avoid them befalling your blog:
- Lack of goals. Some blogs fail simply because they don’t know what “success” even looks like. The bloggers that started them did so on a whim, with no clear idea of what they were striving to do. If you want to be successful, you need to treat your blog like a business; you need to have specific goals and targets in mind, and you need to chart a course that allows you to achieve those milestones. Otherwise, you won’t have clear direction and your blog will almost certainly disappear.
- Lack of focus. What’s the focus of your blog? In other words, what ground are you trying to cover and what do you want to be an expert in? Some bloggers fail simply because they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re trying to establish. They blog about “general purpose” topics for a general audience. But it’s typically better to focus on something highly specific – a focused niche that distinguishes your blog from others and makes you highly relevant for a specific target audience.
- Unoriginal ideas. There’s no shortage of blogs out there, so the chances are that someone else has already thought of it if you have an idea. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and have a chance of building an audience of your own, you’ll need some way to make your ideas more original. Fortunately, there are many ways to strive for more originality; you can think up a new topic, come at an existing topic from a new angle or with a new argument, or adopt a completely new type of tone. You could even dabble in new mediums or present your content in a dynamic new way.
- Poor research. Unless your blog is meant purely for entertainment value, it’s important to do your research and be diligent when writing your piece. If you make a statement that turns out to be untrue, or if you use obsolete statistics, or if you outright lie to your audience, it will reflect poorly on you. Most blog readers want to follow sources they feel are reliable; if it doesn’t seem like you’re doing your due diligence before writing a piece, your readers will leave in droves. Make sure to cite your work and include multiple sources in your research.
- Poor writing. Writing quality is somewhat subjective, but there’s no denying it plays a major role in determining your blog’s ultimate fate. If your work is poorly organized, if your statements are incoherent, or if your sentences are too long, too short, or clunky, people aren’t going to want to read it. So you need to write as eloquently and concisely as possible, while optimizing your work for readability; that’s a tall order, but it will come more naturally to you as you gain more experience.
- Irregular updates. There’s no formal rule that says you have to update your blog every day, or even every week, but if you want to stand a better chance of taking off and achieving your goals, it’s important to update regularly. Keeping your blog updated at regular time intervals allows people to follow your work and set expectations. They can subscribe to updates, check out your new work when it’s posted, and stay more involved with the community. If you go too long without any updates, they may abandon you entirely – no matter how long they followed you before your hiatus.
- No outlets for early discovery. Let’s say you have an awesome blog – something people want and need, and something that’s not covered elsewhere. You should have an easy path to rising popularity. But what if nobody knows it exists? That’s why it’s important to establish early outlets for discovery, such as building links yourself, syndicating your work on social media, and distributing your work to other people. These early-stage promotional strategies are critical for getting your first few thousand readers – and for kick-starting the rest of your marketing and advertising strategy.
- Repetitiousness. While it’s important to keep a consistent brand voice and, in some ways, a consistent outlook, overly repetitious posts can get boring. People crave novelty and exciting surprises with their content, so it’s important to change things up from time to time. Consider using different mediums, tackling new subjects, or experimenting with entirely new approaches on occasion.
- Lack of growth. If you want to keep your blog growing and sustain its popularity, you need to find some way to grow and change – and that means looking at the data. You’ll need to study metrics like how many new readers you’ve gotten, how long those readers stay on page when reading your material, how many readers convert, and how traffic patterns have changed as you’ve rolled out new content. By studying these changes, you’ll be able to make intelligent predictions about how they might change in response to new variables – and make better changes to your blog over time.
What About Your Blog?
Most blogs indeed fail, but that’s not a death sentence for your latest blog. In fact, if you learn the critical lessons from the failures of other blogs, it could put you at an even higher likelihood of succeeding.
Take your blog seriously if you want it to support your traffic generation strategy — and avoid the pitfalls that have crushed so many of your peers.
Image Credit: anthony shkraba; pexels; thank you!
New Domain Extensions Are The Future for Startups – ReadWrite
Domain names — the focal point of the internet. There is no doubt the existence of a big-three-domains consisting of the .com, .org and .net. These three reign supreme. For over 30 years, these domain extensions have been used to house some of the internet’s most recognized websites. But with each passing year, these three popular domains come closer and closer to their digital transience. This is thanks to the ever-increasing unavailability of these domains as well as the rise of more creative, contemporary and vastly flexible alternatives.
In the early days of the Internet, like the 90s and 2000s, you could only choose from these three “dot” domain extensions. This small selection pool made the choices highly sought-after by default and tolerably iconic in their own right. But like every icon of the 90s and 2000s, their relevance fades with each passing year. Yet despite this fact, these domains – the .com in particular – are still a go-to for many entrepreneurs who are on the cusp of launching their next venture. And you can’t blame them. When we picture successful websites, they almost all seem to use one of these three domains as their home on the web – think Amazon.com, Wikipedia.org and SpeedTest.net.
“Sorry… that domain is not available.”
Most entrepreneurs have spent hours, days, or weeks brainstorming new business names. Then they enter their ideas into GoDaddy only to be met with a message saying, “Sorry… that domain is not available.” The immense popularity of the big-three domain extensions has resulted in fewer and fewer web addresses, with those extensions being available. As a result, these domain extensions can no longer do what they once did so effortlessly: establish a memorable address on the web.
It’s a lot like real estate; the folks who are early to the game get the best picking. With the domain registrar VeriSign reporting over 360 million domain registrations by the end of the first quarter of last year alone, there is no question that the internet real estate market is saturated. Having an entire market saturated presents an inimitable challenge. However, business is a field overflowing with challenges that are met with triumphs by way of solutions. Herein comes new domain extensions.
New Domain Extensions vs. Traditional Domain Extensions
During the last few years, we have ushered in a new era of internet real estate. The failing availability of the .coms, .orgs and .nets has given birth to some catchy new domain extensions, including everything from .earth to .agency. The list truly is endless.
New domains now bequeath creative power to young companies and extend their branding possibilities. For example, a new fictitious accounting group called Billiton Accountants would likely opt for the domain names, billiton.com or billitonaccountants.com, but both are, of course, taken. In that case, a solid substitute would be billiton.accountants. It’s short, memorable, and most importantly — it’s still available (at least as of this writing).
The sales pitch encouraging the choosing of new domain extensions as opposed to a traditional extension is centered around these points:
These new domain extensions are still just that, new. Thanks to this novelty, a vast majority of unique and distinctive name combinations remain untouched. This creates a coveted opportunity for more businesses to get a domain name they actually want.
Uniqueness is at times tantamount to memorability. Nothing makes something more memorable than being unique. Owners of new domain extensions will tell you how intrigued clients and prospects have been when presented with a business card festooned with a new domain extension — especially if an awesome wordplay is involved. For example: thebillionairesclub.com could just be thebillionaires.club.
New domain extensions are the future, and large corporations like Google know that. So for case, rather than go the traditional route, Google opted for the domain abc.xyz for its holding company Alphabet. This allowed Google to secure a piece of coveted internet real estate and create a level of protection surrounding their sister brand. And many other top corporations are grabbing these names in an effort to protect their brand.
A Prime Time to Protect Your Brand
In building on the point of protecting ones’ brand, another new wave of domain extensions known as Brand TLDs (top-level domains) are just around the corner. A Brand TLD allows a company to use its brand as its domain. Over 600 companies have applied for brand TLDs, and some companies are already using them. For instance, Google already has domains like ai.google, and British broadcaster Sky has already set up a redirect for the q.sky domain.
Despite their rise in popularity, many wonder if using a new domain extension rather than a traditional one could affect their website’s performance in search engines. The answer, according to Google themselves, is no. Using a new domain extension will not hurt your website search performance. Not utterly surprising given the companies own endorsement of these new domains.
Although the .com, .org, and .net domains will still be around for many more years, they will likely be used less and less with each passing year. Founders in the business naming phase can stop worrying about whether their .com is already taken (just accept that it most likely is) and start thinking of all the creative web addresses they can create using new domain extensions.
The internet is a vast space with an infinite amount of potential. And while the big-three domain extensions are still alive and well, they’re getting closer to their digital transience. As such, it might be time for you to consider more creative alternatives that can help your website reach its full potential in this era of change.
This is indeed a prime time to make a solid impression and bid farewell to the .com, .net and .org domain extensions. What interesting domain names will you create?
Image Credit: maxderoin; pexels; thank you!
Paying Employees With Crypto: Can Your Business Do It? – ReadWrite
Cryptocurrency has made some remarkable progress in the past few years. Bitcoin hit a peak of more than $60,000 this year, a jump of more than $50,000 since the year prior. Services like PayPal are also expanding crypto support as the once-niche resource breaks into the mainstream.
Not long ago, businesses were hesitant to dip their toes into the world of cryptocurrency. It seemed like a fad, was too volatile, or lacked the legitimacy to be a worthwhile business investment. Now, with major banks and other companies embracing crypto, more start to believe its benefits finally outweigh its risks.
Many businesses now accept cryptocurrency payments for their products and services. Some have gone a step further, though. For example, there’s a blossoming trend of companies paying their employees with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
If you’ve heard of this trend, you likely have a few questions. Is it legal to pay employees with crypto? Is it practical? How could a company do that? Here’s a closer look.
Benefits of Paying With Crypto
Why a business would want to establish a cryptocurrency payroll may not be immediately clear. Crypto compensation is a complicated process, but it can have several benefits, too. One of the most significant is its security and efficiency, especially for international payments.
With fiat currency, cross-border payments have to go through conversions and intermediaries, which can incur fees and slow things down. Since cryptocurrencies run on decentralized blockchains, they can reduce costs associated with these payments. For example, employers can send money to international employees instantly without any intermediaries.
The distributed and transparent nature of blockchains also gives crypto payments some security benefits. Anyone can see blockchain transactions, but no one can change them. This transparency and security help establish more trust for payments, which is particularly helpful for independent contractors and freelancers.
Employees may want crypto payments because they can help them make more money without extra work. For example, instead of immediately converting their crypto, workers could wait for its value to rise, then sell it and make a profit. This easy extra money could help workers like nurses, teachers, chefs, and truck drivers who face more challenges and risks than most professions in America.
Companies in some competitive fields like the tech industry could enable crypto payments to attract top talent. By offering this type of compensation, businesses show they’re forward-thinking early tech adopters, attracting similarly minded employees.
The best and brightest, interested in new and exciting tech, would bring their talents where they believe they’re most welcome.
Challenges With Crypto Compensation
For all of its benefits, crypto compensation still has some considerable obstacles in its way. Most notably, its legal status is hazy at best. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay in cash or its equivalent. One could argue cryptocurrency is a legitimate substitute for cash, but without much legal precedent, the Department of Labor may not see it that way.
There are also state laws to consider. For example, some states require employers to pay wages in U.S. currency, which would disqualify decentralized alternatives like Bitcoin. Many of these have exceptions but would still need some potentially complicated legal loopholes to pay workers in crypto.
Crypto compensation may also be a headache when it comes time to file taxes. Regulations are still unclear about cryptocurrency’s taxable status, and they could change as crypto grows more popular. Companies may have the resources to understand and handle these strange tax situations, but individual employees may not.
Cryptocurrency’s volatility can benefit employees by giving them “free” money, but it can also have the opposite effect. For example, imagine if a company pays a worker in Bitcoin, but Bitcoin’s value drops before the payment hits the worker’s bank account. Quick value changes like this can end up with employees not getting their full compensation.
If companies use crypto compensation to attract tech-savvy workers, they could encounter interoperability issues. Different blockchains lack interoperability, so much so that users can’t transact Bitcoin for Ether without a centralized crypto exchange. So if companies pay in a different cryptocurrency than an employee uses, it would quickly lose its luster.
Is it Worth it to Pay Employees With Crypto?
It seems that for every benefit of crypto compensation, there’s a challenge to match it. Still, it’s difficult to say whether or not something is worth it based entirely on hypothetical situations. Looking at real-life examples of companies that have instituted some level of crypto payments can offer more guidance.
An employee for an unnamed U.S. company described their experience with crypto payments to MarketWatch. After paying this person for contract work, the company’s CEO asked that they return the crypto after its value rose 700%. Of course, the CEO can’t enforce this, as it would be a breach of contract, but the situation does highlight some of the troubles of crypto compensation.
Crypto’s rising or falling value can make employers feel they’ve overcompensated workers or workers feel employers have underpaid them. While these transactions may be perfectly legal, provided the employee elected to receive payment this way, they can create tension. So even if you have the legality, taxes, and logistics figured out, crypto payroll can still be a risk.
Of course, this one story may not represent how crypto compensation would play out for other companies. Nevertheless, other organizations are taking an interest in it and could serve as helpful examples.
As more prominent organizations embrace crypto payroll, the practice will gain legitimacy. In addition, standards for doing so will develop, and legal regulations could change to accommodate these payments. So, while crypto compensation may be a risky venture now, it may not be in the future.
How Crypto Payroll Could Work
Instituting a crypto payroll system today could take a considerable amount of preparation. It’s still a risky endeavor, so companies should plan thoroughly to mitigate the associated challenges. First, there’s the issue of legality. There are a few prerequisites for these payments to be legal.
Since many states require employers to pay workers in U.S. currency, they could use a conversion service. In this system, employers would send a payment in dollars, which then rapidly converts into crypto at that moment’s exchange rate. Alternatively, crypto payments could work as bonuses or overtime payments, while U.S. currency accounts for most workers’ paychecks.
Since regulations around independent contractors are less stringent, these workers are ideal for crypto compensation. No matter what type of worker receives crypto payments, though, it must be voluntary. In addition, employees have to elect to receive payments in cryptocurrency. Otherwise, employers could run into legal trouble.
Both employers and employees may need to create a crypto wallet to facilitate payment. Thankfully, this process is becoming easier all the time. Companies can even use peer-to-peer payment apps like PayPal to send crypto payments, which may be the easiest option. These third-party services come with built-in crypto wallets, but businesses must ensure they’re secure first.
Companies should also make sure everyone involved understands the risks too. All parties should know the potential complicated tax implications and accept crypto’s volatility. Everyone should also record conversion rates at the time of payment to help with their taxes later.
Cryptocurrency Is Becoming More Legitimate
Crypto compensation is still a new concept, so it will take some time before it’s a reliable, safe business practice. As more companies look into it, though, the process, as well as cryptocurrency itself, will gain legitimacy. As that happens, regulations will clear up, and new services will appear to facilitate these payments. Thus, in the future, crypto compensation may not carry many risks at all.
At this point, it’s clear that cryptocurrency is more than a trend. It’s a well-established, growing resource that businesses may not want to ignore for much longer. Before long, it could be a central part of how companies operate.
Image Credit: rodnae productions; pexels; thank you!
How to Create a Non-Fungible Token – An ultimate Guide
The world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) offers a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs to maximize the traction of their business. They have a soaring market capitalization of $22.25 billion and a daily trading volume of $2.68 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Hence, trading in crypto collectibles is a profitable investment. We cannot wait to unveil the same! So, stay glued to know more about Non-Fungible Token Development.
What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
It is a unique kind of crypto collectible with characteristics like immutability and non-interchangeability. NFTs are created on blockchain networks like Binance Smart Chain, Cardano, Cosmos, Ethereum, EOS, Flow, Polkadot and TRON.
What has contributed to the increasing popularity of Non-Fungible Token Development?
Millions of dollars are being earned by artists, content creators, fashion designers, game developers, filmmakers, meme creators, photographers, and sportspersons by selling their work for a high value in numerous NFT marketplaces. The crypto-collectibles are getting aggressive bidding from interested investors leading to a spike in their selling price.
Some big players like Binance, BuyuCoin, Collectible, eBay, Fox, Light Media, NewAuction (NAU), NFTmall, Rowket Market, Ticketmaster, VANCAT, and xSigma have also announced the launch of their own NFT selling platforms in the future. This will lead to heavy competition in the crypto industry.
Additionally, the NFTs have also eliminated the cumbersome role of middlemen/intermediaries in the system. Content creators can set their own price for the work without paying a brokerage or commission to anyone.
The step-by-step process to create a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)
- Ideally, the artists and designers should develop their NFTs – on the robust Ethereum blockchain network. It has a sturdy framework and supports different Dapps and DeFi projects.
- The content creators have to follow the guidelines – and rules of the ERC-721 and ERC-1155 Non-Fungible Token standards.
- ERC-721 implements an API – for all the tokens held in the secure smart contracts. It contains details like the token ID and the unique token pair address.
- ERC-1155 is a multi-token standard – where each NFT has its own metadata and supply. It consists of different rules of token transfer (single and batch).
- They have to set up a crypto-compatible digital wallet – like Coinbase wallet, MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and Trust wallet.
- The artists who possess fiat currency can convert them – into Ether (ETH) cryptocurrency by registering on Binance and Coinbase.
- The content creators will undergo KYC/AML verification – while registering on the NFT marketplace.
- They need to link their digital wallets – on the NFT marketplace by entering details like the Etherum wallet number and total funds kept in it.
- Some of the popular Ethereum-supported – crypto collectible selling platforms are Mintable.app, OpenSea, and Rarible.
- They need to upload their unique work – in the form of images (JPEG) and videos (Mp3 and Mp4) on the NFT marketplace.
- The online platform will automatically mint – the valuable NFT.
- The creator can add details like – accepted payment methods, banner image, description, and price for their digital collectible.
- The NFT is listed – on the online marketplace for sale.
- Once the crypto collectible has been sold – to an investor, the content creators have to pay off different expenses like auction fees, a commission on the sale, minting charges, and transaction processing fees to the NFT marketplace.
What are some popular examples of NFTs?
Unquestionably, it has the largest market cap of $8.46 billion and a total supply of 1 billion. THETA is a 100% decentralized video streaming network launched in 2018. The content creators will earn more revenue from the THETA native crypto token through peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions. Apart from this, the viewers of videos will get rewards from Theta Fuel (TFUEL) tokens.
Priced at only $0.36, the Chiliz NFT has the second-largest market capitalization ($2.14 billion) in the industry. CHZ acts as a digital currency for the entertainment and sports industries.
The fans can purchase the Chiliz crypto collectible and get benefits like decision-making powers and voting rights. Finally, the users can buy them from exchanges like Binance, Bitpanda, HBTC and Mercado.
The MANA NFT costs only $0.97. It has a daily trading volume of $254.14 million with a total supply of 1.58 billion. The Decentraland (MANA) NFT is created on the Ethereum-based smart contract.
Investors can use NFTs to play interactive games, purchase virtual property, and also experience 3D and Virtual Reality (VR). The buyers can also purchase the LAND tokens with MANA. The Decentraland gameworld acts as an enormous Metaverse that increases revenue for content creators.
Investors earn high returns by monetizing their LAND tokens through advertising, leasing, and offering paid experiences to other users on the platform.
Different use-cases of NFTs
Digital collectibles are sold through artwork, domain names, fashion accessories, games, metaverses, memes, music, photos, software licenses, sports goods, trading cards, tweets, videos, and virtual property in the market.
Crypto collectibles are also heavily influencing different industries like e-commerce, entertainment, gaming, social media, and sports.
Why is it the perfect time to enter the NFT market now?
According to Non-Fungible.com, NFT sales have reached a humongous value of $30.53 million with 10311 primary and 7930 secondary sales in the market. There are a whopping 705,691 different crypto-collectibles, according to data given by CoinRanking.com.
More auction houses, art galleries, B2B ventures, celebrities, crypto exchanges, e-commerce platforms, entertainment firms, gaming companies, and sports teams are also launching their brand new NFT marketplaces. Above all, it indicates a high level of interest and the opportunity to make a huge profit.
Venture capitalists (VCs) are also supporting the business ideas of innovative entrepreneurs due to the favorable market conditions for the trading of NFTs on online platforms.
How to earn a large amount of revenue from Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?
The buyers of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can make a hefty profit by selling them in different secondary markets. Also, the sellers of crypto-collectibles get income from numerous sources like sales (primary, secondary, and private) and royalty for every resale.
Entrepreneurs who own the NFT marketplaces earn their income from bidding fees, initial setup charges, listing fees, minting charges, selling multiple digital collectibles simultaneously, and transaction processing charges.
How do NFTs impact the environment?
Non-Fungible Tokens generate a lot of carbon emissions when they are minted on numerous blockchain networks. Nonetheless, NFT marketplaces are attempting to use renewable energy for supplying electricity to the miners.
Hence, entrepreneurs must reduce the energy consumption during bidding, canceling, sales, and transfer of ownership of NFTs.
Nifty Gateway, a premier NFT marketplace, has announced plans to become carbon negative by upgrading its technology. Artists and investors can know their carbon emissions from their Ethereum wallets by using a tool made by Offsetra.
What is the solution for NFT marketplaces to decrease energy consumption?
Furthermore, the usage of computational energy will reduce by a significant 99% once Ethereum makes a full switch from the Proof of Work (PoW) to the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism on its new Ethereum 2.0 version. Subsequently, other alternatives like side chains (Palm) and Layer 2 transactions can also reduce the overall impact on the environment.
Know the different marketplaces for buying and selling NFTs
The top NFT marketplaces by sales are CryptoKitties, Sorare, Ethereum Name Service (ENS), Decentraland, and MegaCryptoPolis. Without a doubt, the popular NFT marketplaces in terms of trading volume are Decentraland, Sorare, CryptoPunks, Meebits, and SuperRare. Entrepreneurs can create a new NFT Marketplace platform like the top NFT marketplaces.
The most expensive NFTs sold in the market were CryptoPunks collection of Portraits ($16.9 million), Death Dip ($1.79 million on SuperRare), Metarift ($905,236 on MakersPlace), Reflection ($869,487 on SuperRare), Noriko Soramoto ($618,575 on Rarible), and GOAT ($597,142 on MakersPlace).
Undoubtedly, 2021 will see new NFT projects and new records in the crypto industry. A new revenue-sharing agreement has come out in the market due to NFTs. Additionally, the future of crypto-collectibles will depend on copyright infringement, duplication, and taxation laws related to trading and transactions.
In contrast to building crypto-collectibles from scratch, entrepreneurs can reach out to a highly skilled Non-Fungible Token development company and make it big in the thriving market.
They can get services like the creation of ERC-721 and ERC-1155 based-NFTs white-label clone solutions of NFT marketplaces, onboarding of prospective investors, integration of digital wallets, and NFT marketing. Hence, progressive entrepreneurs can move forward in the industry by initiating Non-Fungible Token development.