blogging lessons

How to Treat Your Blog as a Business

blog as a businessDo you sometimes wonder why your readership goes up and down like a roller coaster? Do you wish your readers considered your blog to be the definitive “Go To” site for answers, and wonder why they don’t? Often times the answer can be found by asking yourself quite simply, do you know how to treat your blog as a business? When I ask, do you know how to treat your blog as a business, I’m not asking whether or not you know how to monetize your blog, or really, anything that has to do with profitability. I am asking if you treat your blog, the operation and administration of the everyday workings of your blog; the essence and perceived image of your blog, in the same way, and with the same respect you would treat a viable, profit generating, commercial endeavor?

If you really are on a quest to bring your blog to the majority of its potential audience, you will no doubt spent a great deal of time analyzing other successful blogs (If you haven't thought of this, check yourself - you should have.). One word that overwhelmingly separates serious blogs from those that are incidental is consistency.

There are 3 major areas where consistency is vital to your blog: Frequency, quantity, and quality. Answer the question, “Do you know how to treat your blog as a business?”, by taking a look at each…

  1. Frequency -  How frequently you deliver content to the pages of your blog is entirely up to you, and depends upon the type of content you provide. However, one of the most important things you will ever do for your blog, and your blog’s readers, is establish a schedule for new, usable content. If you haven’t done this yet, do it immediately. If you have already done this, stick to your schedule with discipline and extreme commitment. It seems obvious, but if you want consistent readers, your blog should give new and usable information on a consistent basis.
  2. Quantity There are a few exceptions, but in general, keeping your blog entries to roughly the same length, with roughly the same number of links, etc., goes a long way toward giving your readers a consistent amount of information that they can count on receiving.
  3. QualityHigh quality content is a given. People are not going to return to a sight where they have received poorly researched, or bogus information. What we are talking about here, however, is the consistency of the quality of the content you provide in your blog. You should note that quality tends to go hand in hand with quantity. Although you deliver the highest quality content, the depths to which you are able to go will most times be determined by the quantity of content, or the average length of the entries you decide to consistently post.

It seems obvious, but if your blog is consistent, if it regularly provides, a similar amount of high quality, new, and usable information on a defined subject, people who are interested in that subject and matters related to that subject will be more likely to come to your blog site for information.

Now that we have considered the idea of being consistent, I will ask you again, “Do you treat your blog as a business?”

In the same way that being consistent - keeping regular hours, and carrying viable, good quality inventory is essential to running what might be considered a more tangible commercial endeavor with a healthy customer base, providing a consistent amount of high quality content on a regular basis - being consistent – is one of the most important ways you can treat your blog as a business.

What the Crystal L. Cox Case Means for Bloggers

Crystal L. Cox case bloggersThe Crystal L. Cox case shook the blogosphere, ultimately disappointing bloggers and journalists everywhere with the truth regarding her tactics and how she used blogging and search engine optimization. What happened, and what could this case mean to you, especially if you don't consider yourself an "investigative blogger" or even blog as your profession? Here are a couple of takeaways:

Summary of the Crystal L. Cox Case

The original trial took  place in December 2011, when the court ruled that Cox has to pay Obsidian Financial and bankruptcy lawyer Kevin Padrick $2.5 million for defamation. Cox claimed in her numerous blog posts and websites that Padrick and company had engaged in tax fraud, bribery, and money laundering, among other things. The blogging community was originally outraged, as the opinion was interpreted to mean that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and therefore wasn't protected by the state's shield law. On the surface, it seemed like a company with more money and power was able to squash the notion that it could be involved in wrong doing.

Reports from April 2012 now reveal that Cox wasn't the victim of an outdated shield law, but was a scammer who utilized blogging and the Internet to ruin people's online reputations, only to offer reputation management services to the very people she defamed. It was found that this was the case with Padrick and Obsidian Financial, as well as the journalists who covered the case in the months after, their family members, government officials in her home town, and other individuals at high-profile companies. Cox has never proven her accusations. Her case went to appeal, which was denied, where the original judge clarified by saying that he did not say all bloggers weren't journalists, just not Cox.

What Bloggers Can Learn From This

The first thing to do, if you're a blogger who wants to be a journalist, is to understand what it means to be a journalist and what behaviors are associated with good journalists. United States District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez defined media toward the end of his opinion of the original trial, which states:

"Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of (1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity; (3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest; (4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources; (6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting “the other side” to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not “media.”

Follow this definition, and you and your work won't be discredited as sensational or opinionated.

Second Lesson

The second lesson is that bloggers can no longer get away with saying whatever they want, whenever they want online. Prior to this, bloggers have gotten away with writing falsehoods, releasing juicy stories before all the facts are in, or spreading rumor for self gain. If it can count as defamation, then it can be subject to an investigation and a trial similar to Cox's. Even if it's meant to be opinion, it's important to exercise restraint. Take the time to do the legwork, to find evidence that's more than anecdotal or circumstantial.

Third Lesson

Be mindful of your domain name and your blog post titles. Cox has over 500 URLs at her disposal, and some of them include,,, and Domain names like these don't present the best branding opportunities for you as a blogger. First, they show bias, and whether or not you want to be an investigative blogger, you don't want your readers to think that you're writing wanting to create/expose a certain reality, instead of doing what it takes to find the story and to tell it as it is. Second, unless you plan to build your blog into a multitude of sites and eventually to have a multimedia firm, you are building a personal brand. Do you want your personal brand (or even your bigger media brand) to be associated with vitriol, conspiracy theories, and dubious methodology? If not, then you have to think about the rest of your blog, not just individual blog posts.