Don’t Forget to Use Your Own Products

Sometimes we get so invested and insulated in the process of creating our own products that we forget to actually them ourselves.

Over the past year, I’ve found that concepting and building WordPress themes for our prospective customers that I personally have gotten removed from using them for the same purpose that we’re building them — to help others build WordPress websites easily.

Part of the problem is that we don’t do hard any custom web work anymore …

So each new site I build for myself I take one of our themes and build the site with it. Maybe that sounds obvious to you, but having done web design for almost two years, I haven’t always started with one of our pre-built themes.

I recently redesigned this site, and decided to use our bSocial Magazine theme, one of our designer James Dalman’s first creations for us. And in customizing it for my own use, I learned a lot of things we’ll try to implement later on down the road in that theme possibly but new themes as well.

Here are some of the results of not using your own products:

  • You forget what it’s like to be a user, customer (Most devastating result)
  • You start designing and building products in abstract, versus reality
  • You begin marketing your product to yourself instead of your customers
  • You assume too much and make obvious, costly mistakes
  • You get confused and lost when sales start to decline

All these things ultimately hurt your product, which hurt your customer, which hurt your bottomline.

So be sure to use your product regularly.

Get a Comments Policy for Your Blog

I like the comments policy of the Blog Herald.

It’s a good idea and something I’ll probably be doing on my blogs as I continue to get spam, and otherwise irritating and distracting comments on posts.

If you blog for long in almost any field (unrelated to your dog or cat), you’ll find self-promoters who merely want to use your blog posts as free advertising for their services, or simply build traffic to their own blog.

You’ll have to make a plan for that … and think through the positive and negative benefits to allowing or dis-allowing such actions.

Removing The Date from Posts

Seeing this article at Daily Blog Tips about removing the timestamp from posts got me thinking.

I get a significant amount of Google search engine traffic (50-60 percent on average) on my main blog (as well as my other ones), so I know many people are finding my site through single posts. And most of the content they are clicking on are my most popular posts … some of which were written more than 6 months ago.

So I’m doing this experiment … I’m taking the post date off my single post entries only and leaving them on my home page … so that people who come to my front page see timely, up-to-date content … but those who come through the backdoor don’t think it’s stale content (it’s not).

POST UPDATE ON HOW TO ACTUALLY TAKE OUT THE TIMESTAMP FROM POSTS: One of the commenters to this post mentioned he came because he wanted to know HOW to get rid of the date from posts. To do so, go into the Theme Editor and select the single.php and Main Index templates and take out this code:

< ?php the_time('F j, Y'); ? >

For more information on this tag, go the WP Codex page here.

Pavlina: Become an Expert, Create Value

Professional blogger Steve Pavlina answers 11 questions from Daniel at Daily Blog Tips.

Number 8 was worth reading the entire post. Daniel’s question was: If you could give an advice for a novice blogger, what would it be?

Here’s Pavlina’s response:

Don’t be a novice. Nobody wants to read a novice. Instead become an expert at contributing substantial value to your readers’ lives. Focus on giving people something that will actually help them as opposed to pumping out “content” that will just waste their time. Value generates referrals, referrals build traffic, and traffic builds income. Focus on giving the best you can, and the getting will come fairly easily.

Google PageRank, Fortune Telling and BCS Football

According to Daniel and Bob, Google is updating their PageRank stuff, which in laymen’s terms means … how King Google determines your worth, value and significance (not personally, I think).

Evidentally, they use some sort of fancy, smanchy math formula (alga-rhythm or is it algo-rithmm-m) to determine who matters in cyberspace in their search results … (if you’re confused, just think of the BCS Championship series’ method for determining who makes it to the Big Daddy Bowl, playing for the crystal … and then the ensuing fallout from those who thought they should be No. 1 and No. 2, but probably got beat by an NCAA Div. III team for their opener.)


Here’s a neat tool (ala Daniel) … for checking your potential rank called LiveRank.

And another one (ala Bob) … called DigPageRank.

Along with these sites, I am also using my super secret decoder ring, found in my CrackerJack box, to determine where I’ll land in the rankings … and most specifically, whether or not I’m worth the virtual space I take up …

OK, OK, OK … it’s actually serious to a lot of people.

But hey, even if Google ranks me at a negative 11 … I still have WordPress and my handy dandy Google Sitemap Generator, to help me score high for those obscure, random and irrelevant keywords, right?

Be gentle, King Google … be gentle.