Sunday

The Secret to Quality Blogging

why i don't use
seo
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. 
Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
―  Brian Clark
image source




I remember a time when a good friend of mine asked me for advice about blogging. I have been blogging since a decade ago, and I am quite comfortable with the lingo, affairs and the struggle to be heard and seen in the chaotic world, that is the internet.


Sure, we have read somewhere there are bloggers out there who earn thousands of dollars from their blogs every month and year, and this has inspired a group of people to start blogs of their own.

As with any newcomer in the "business", they went for free platforms such as Blogger, Wordpress, just to name a couple of blogging platforms that I'm most comfortable with. They select the blog theme with which they are going to present to their intended audience. Then, they sign up for bloggin advertising platforms such as Google Adsense and Nuffnang. At this point, it's not really a struggle.  These steps are all the setup phase. 

To begin with, the thing that usually turn people off who are just starting out blogging is when they have to decide the contents of their newly-created blogs.

Then, once they have sorted out the subjects, they then begin the writing process. For those that are not quite practiced in writing, here's something I have to share with you: it's a skill and skills are something that we practice over and over again to develop; writing is about crystallizing your thoughts and turn the complex ideas floating around in your head into a simple to consume format. 

This is one of the reasons why some people who thought they wanted to follow in the footsteps of successful bloggers out there, fail. Once they have churned out their blog post and got it published, they somehow have this expectation that people would drop by to visit their sites and write comments. 

After several posts have been published, there are still no feedback from their readers. There are hardly any comments, if at all. The money isn't coming into their advertisement account and before long, they start to post less and eventually, drop out of the game, bitter, disappointed and dispirited. "This is not for me. It's wasting my time."

FORGET ABOUT SEO ( FOR NOW )

I have friends who thought they could try to earn money from blogging advertising platforms such as Google Adsense, Nuffnang by copying articles from other sites and put those articles in their blogs. On top of that, they will somehow use all the all-important keywords and work on the SEO aspect of their websites. 

DON'T TAKE SHORTCUTS

While I am an advocate of entrepreneurship and positivity, blogging is not about taking shortcuts. Just as newly-opened restaurants can't attract new customers by having the finest interiors but offer mediocre range of food, you can't expect to sustain on the long run (blogging) by taking shortcuts.

You need to learn to love writing. If you don't like it, then it will be a real struggle. Forget about SEO or social media strategies for now, just focus on the quality of your writing as well as the content you would like to present to your readers.

YOU ARE A JOURNALIST

In fact, if you are taking the time to write each post with more research as though any journalist would before they appear on the news, you will be more pleased with the collection of your quality writings than to worry about whether there are readers coming to visit your blog.

Some blogs that I had visited over the years posted, I don't know what I should write today...hmm...I guess I will be talking about what I had for breakfast, or what I did last weekend.

While it is a personal online space for us to write our thoughts and get them published on the internet, if you are looking for quality readers, my advice for you is to focus on producing quality posts rather than posting for the sake of...er...posting.


BLOG COMMENTS

The same goes for some of the comments from the readers. I have visited your blog, nice article. Visit my blog at this URL { so and so.com }. I did this before. I visited other blogs and wrote comments like this because it worked. Sometimes I had 100-200 comments on a single blog post, but looking back at those comments now, they were pretty much the same. It's a "blog-walking" routine to encourage the blogs you had visited to come to your own blog and drop a similar comment. By doing so, my blog posts looked like they were on fire!

I appreciate those who had visited me then and wrote their comments, however it was not quality, rather it was merely focusing on quantity. Now, when I decide to write comments in other people's blogs, I make it a point to write something only if I have something meaningful to write, with the hope that it would lead to further discussion.

Also, by spending some time to research well before you write and then publish, you ensure:

I.    Your posts are not rushed. 
II.   You have a collection of quality posts.
III.  You can use your blog as a walking resume'. 

For the third point above, I make it a point to whomever I meet to read more about me at my blog. I got hired for some projects in the past because my clients had read my works. It was great. I had even encouraged my potential employers during job interviews to visit this site before they hire me, to get a full picture of the person they are hiring.


COMMIT TO QUALITY

If you want to start your own blog, start writing. Don't worry yourself with the social media and SEO. That should not be your priority at the moment. Be different and write with authority. If you can't imagine yourself going through the rough patches, then I'm afraid it's going to be really difficult for you to last in this game.


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Wednesday

Three Trendy Fashion Street Styles For Men

 THREE TRENDY 
FASHION
STREET
styles for men

“You can never be overdressed or over educated.” 
― Oscar Wilde


For the last four years, as an entrepreneur, I have been working really hard on my survival skill, even if I had to jump in and out of working for major corporations (and a few enterprises), I still keep my focus on my end goal: to live my life the way I want to, as an entrepreneur. This skill has helped me to survive be flexible with everything that has happened so far. 
It's a choice I've made a long time ago and it's a choice I am comfortable making, even when sometimes the hard times were unbearable. I had to tighten my belt because I was starving, moved places to stay because I could not keep up with the rent and even settled for the same clothes over and over again because I could not afford the nice ones.
It's not until the fourth quarter of last year that my life as an entrepreneur was starting to have a little smooth sailing. The books are doing well, side projects are pouring in and I've enrolled for my Masters programme. 
Then again, no matter how hard it will be, pursuing the entrepreneurial life doesn't mean we have to sacrifice looking good, especially when we want to attract businesses, don't we? 
Here's a question:
Have you given a thought that being accidentally stylish might not be as hard as you think it is? 
I thought fashion is something interesting to talk about this time, and there are three trendy fashion street styles that I'd like to share. You can learn to build a perfect wardrobe at home with the combination from the street style  and well-dressed gentlemen on the internet. 
Just bear in mind, the trick is to do it properly. Draw inspirations from the trendy street styles that appeal to you. Personal style is definitely subjective, and our selection of clothing projects the kind of person we represent. If there is anything that I'd like to draw from my own past articles, what other people think of you shouldn't bother you. 
Ergo, you should really select something that appeals to how comfortable you would feel while wearing your clothes, rather than what other people might think of you. 
But, if you need a hand, that's what I'm here for. Let's check out these Three tips to learn from fashion style street. 
i. Mix different denim
   washes together
Now, don't believe it when people say you can't wear a denim jacket or shirt with a pair of jeans. It's a myth and they just don't know how cool it actually looks! Seriously, you can pull this off easily by making sure the washes are at least two shades differently. 
Just bear in mind, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and rock acid-washed grey, solid back or stark white denim. Stepping out of our comfort zone is the mark of an entrepreneur anyway. 
It's all about confidence
ii. WEAR CAMO TASTEFULLY

It gives a taste of being a red-neck, isn't it? But you really cannot ignore it--the camo trend is here to stay! It is definitely a pattern we can all pull off. 
And with all the fresher variations on this classic military staple, it is much easier to pull it off. 
And finally, 
iii. CHOOSE BOLD-COLOURED
     OUTERWEAR WISELY

No matter what type of style you're portraying, as long as you're confident, you can pull it off, and men can definitely wear colours without looking like weirdos!
Choose carefully, though; go too trendy and chances are you won't touch it again for years. Your best bet for maximum versatility is to opt for colours like black, tan and navy
Match these conservatives colours with bold patterns, and you're good to go. 
Just remember, however you wish to put things together when you look at yourself in the mirror, my advice is to pick something that you're comfortable with, and something that makes you feel good. 

There are a lot of places where you can get nice clothes based on the three tips above, and one of them that I recommend the most is definitely ZALORA, check it out here: http://www.zalora.com.my/
It makes a big difference when you feel good with what you wear and see how confident you would be when you're going out there to enjoy what you do best. 
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The Beautiful Truth About The Ugly Past

SEEKING 
CLARITY

“In the land of Gibberish, the man who makes sense, the man who speaks clearly, 
clearly speaks nonsense.” 
― Jarod KintzThis Book Has No Title

Last year, I was fired from SHELL. I was told by my manager that my skills do not fit my position and there she told me, and I quote, "You are a liability for this position", which made me wonder, why bother hiring in the first place?
Two years before, I had spent more than $10,000 on a book project only to lose the money and more
Three years ago, I received a phone call from home, informing me that my grandmother had passed away; the grandmother whom I was not able to meet because I was too lazy to drive back home.
Four years ago, I was cheated by my partner; by someone I thought I could trust with the company's fund. 
image source
THE LESSONS
Whilst living in this beautifully complex, relentlessly bewildering and unexpectedly shifting life, I have and will continue to experience a myriad of emotions that hurt and seemingly impossible pain that cuts so achingly deep. 
Looking back though, I could begin to connect the dots. By looking forward, I might not know what's in store for me. Everything seems so unpredictable, chaotic, scary and a feeling of helplessness always around me. But, if I look back and start to appreciate the lessons I have had so far, the link between  the dots that form the path I'm taking today, I could see that those lessons are necessarily difficult. 
By believing that the dots will connect down the road, even if the path I am taking now will lead me to unfamiliar and scary territories, it gives me the comforting warmth, strength and confidence to explore the uncharted waters ahead; simply by continuing with the process of learning and re-learning, continuously discovering and appreciating. 
We live by constantly making mistakes, constantly faltering, constantly changing our paths and directions in life, and constantly judging our each and every move. We live to blunder and to learn from our mistakes. 
Making mistakes is a necessary part of life as they not only teach us, but they bring us a step closer to finding ourselves. 
I believe, everything in my life must have happened in order for me to exist--every single, little thing. I would not be the exact same person if any of my past experiences were different. Even the littlest, most unpleasant things have a way of shaping me into the person I was always meant to be. 
I have attended several interviews before, when the hiring manager asked me , what is it that you really want?
It is a question that I am still struggling to answer. 
For a while, I was ashamed. The question does sound quite simple, what exactly do I want? Where do I see myself in Five years? Ten? Twenty?
Personally though, that question which has been asked quite often during the last couple of years, has driven me to jump several times from company to another and trying out several ventures here and there. 
I don't have the answer yet, even today. Therefore, by looking at the question from another angle; to see it as connecting the dots, I begin to trust my guts more these days. 
If my instinct tells me that something isn't right, I wouldn't be doing something much longer after that. 
I seek clarity in my life so that I could understand a little bit more about me. You see, I have always taken myself for granted many times before; thinking as though I really knew myself and only to discover that what I once thought I knew, what I had desired before was not entirely the truth and there were many ambitions that I had in the past aren't quite what I want today. 
It's not about possibility. It's about letting go, being wiser and dictating the directions I'm taking now based on experiences I have had accumulated so far. 
There is so much more to life; for me to dig, to question and to pursue, no matter how uncomfortable they might be for me. 
I used to be afraid of uncertainties, a coward that kept on pointing fingers at other people for the mess I put myself in and I cared too much about what other people think of the decisions I made that had stopped me from pursuing what I really wanted. 
And...I find the greatest moment of clarity in my life happened when I look at my journey and conclude that it was all necessary and that it's all beautiful. 
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Monday

What Can Happen, Will Happen

THE
JOURNEY
“Never give in to the obstacles that lie in your path towards the achievement of your dreams.”
-Lailah Gifty Akita


For the last four years, I've had an internal struggle: between wanting to pursue the entrepreneurial life, and wanting to pursue a job just like anyone else. 
To be honest, I haven't completely figured out how to resolve that struggle. But every step I've taken so far, every mistake, every turn along the road, they have all provided me with invaluable experience. 

image source
I can read as many books about mistakes committed by other people as I can, and while I may see their journeys as something that I can learn from, it is not quite the same as experiencing them myself. By taking the "road less taken", I have taught myself to become a survivor.
I have taught myself to be more content with life. 
Last year, I began to explore this way of living: by letting "nature takes its course". What can happen, will happen.
This year, today in fact, I am celebrating my 27th birthday, and I could see more clearly what I want from my life. That meant accepting who I really am and not be too judgmental about who I am now, knowing my limit and seeing more clearly about what's important in life: which is not the fancy shoes, or the number of countries I travel to for vacations. 
I stop caring for what other people think of me. Two months ago, when I made the decision to jump back into the water and search for jobs, I made the decision knowing it is the best decision at the time, so that I could eat and pay some of the bills, including my study fees. 
By being more content with life, stop listening to critics and naysayers, be honest with my hardships and proud of what I have had gone through for the past four years, I have taught myself to become happier with who I am and what I have, and that is the best birthday present that I can give to myself today.   
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Wednesday

The Birthday Truth

 THE 27TH 
YEAR

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” 
― William Shakespeare

Come March, I will be 27. It feels weird—especially because it seems like only yesterday I was just 12, nervously preparing for my final exam at school. 
Every so often, it seems, life presents us with opportunities to look back and reflect: the birth of a new year, the death of a loved one, or a milestone birthday.
And on this day, I cannot help but look back and consider who I have become today, and not exactly the way I had pictured myself fifteen years ago.
I used to have an ideal image of myself as someone who would have figured everything out in my life: living in my own apartment, drive my own car, with a good job and happily married.

But, here's the confession to smack the hard cold truth on my 12 year old self back then: I haven't figured everything out in my life. The image that I used to have of my older-self was borne out of my admiration for adults who seem to have the answers to everything. 
In contrast, 
1. I am living in my own (rented) apartment, but it means I have to fork out my own money to pay for it. I couldn't depend on my parents to pay my roof anymore. 
2. I am driving my own car, but it also means I have to work hard to ensure I stick with the payment schedule every month so the bank wouldn't take it away. 
3. I have a job, but a job that pays for my food, car and house would also mean stress and sacrificing comfort and security for dear life, especially when I am working on my own. 
4.  Happily married? Not yet.


IT'S THE FANTASY.

The fantasy that I have had over the years about who I was supposed to become today is normal. It's always natural that we want to have the best of days for ourselves in the future. 
But just because I seemed to have chosen a different path, doesn't mean it's a failure. It simply means I have learned to let go some of the things in my life I had thought was really important to me before, and holding on to the things that are more meaningful instead. 
I wanted to become a doctor. Then, an engineer. And then a comic artist. Millionaire. Billionaire. Scientist. 
Instead, I have become a writer and a full-time blogger. I have regrets in my life that I wish I could erase and instead, over the past few rocky years, I have learned to pursue a more minimalist life. 
I have sold my game console, laptop, donated most of my books and unused clothes, cleared the cabinets of old exam papers and files and reduced the things I want on my wishlist so I wouldn't spend my money away buying unnecessary things from the mall. 

grow.live.learn.

As I am nearing my 27th birthday, I could see more clearly what I want:
1. Inner-peace
2. Contentment
3. Happiness
When I gave away my books that I had collected since I was fifteen, trust me it was not easy. A lot of those books have been part of my journey and it was like letting go of an old friend. 
But three months since I have been apart from those "old friends", I am starting to wonder why it was so hard to let go in the first place. 
I have always thought that my possessions define my personality: the brand of my hand phone, the labels on my clothes including my underwear, the perfume I spray and even the food I eat. 
However, as I am going through minimalism, I can honestly say life has gotten much lighter. It's much easier for me to clean the house now with only my important stuff (but fewer) at home and it's a lot easier to go and hang out with my friends in the shopping mall without the urge to buy things to add onto my possession-list.
It is a choice that makes me happy. I do not blame my younger-self for believing that adults have somehow figured everything out in their lives. 
It has opened up a lot of new perspectives for me these days: although my parents are older than me, but they (like me now) have not quite figured everything out too and ergo, tend to commit mistakes just like any other adults too, which are often misunderstood by little children.
Next month, I will be 27 and it has been a great twenty-seven years of adventure so far. I would like to thank you for joining my journey until today and I am looking forward to share another twenty-seven years of my adventure to come(God willing) with you.
Footnote:
Image source: Tumblr
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Saturday

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

THE GREAT
STORIES



“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya AngelouI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Each time we meet someone new in our lives, we seem to have a template story that we share with them. Mostly the stories we share with one another are about our history; something that project the kind of image we want others to think about us, something we have been rehearsing over and over in our heads before. 

We share stories about ourselves that could put us in a good place in their eyes: we tell them about our life achievements: our excellent exam results, our job promotion, our beautiful homes, our cars, our exotic holiday destinations and the important and popular people we hang out with over the weekend. The Good Stuff.

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the stories of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a great story written by Robert Stevensen which was first published in 1886. It is a story of a man with two sides to his character; Dr Jekyll is the good man while Mr Hyde is used as a way for Stevenson's character to commit evil deeds. 

I'm not pointing out to the idea that the reason we are only telling great stories about ourselves because we have an evil side to ourselves that we hide from the society. 
The reason, I believe, we always tend to choose to tell great stories about ourselves because we are afraid what others might think of us: We are afraid what others might think about our weaknesses and flaws and this, in return, may affect how others might treat us later. 

WOULD YOU SHARE IF...
Would we be willing to share, as proudly as we would with a great story about ourselves, about the day we got fired by our boss? That is one of the lowest points in our lives and we are embarrassed by our failures and naturally, we try our best to conceal that major disappointment and embarrassment from the society.
Or maybe about our struggle with pornography, gambling, alcohol and any other thing in our lives that might put us in the same light as the evil Mr Hyde? Of course, we should all practice a certain degree of censorship in our lives. It is not a good idea to reveal every little thing in our lives to the public which, unfortunately, is getting out of hand as more users are using Facebook these days.

THE STRENGTH OF INVULNERABILITY
However, there is a great benefit for us if we try less harder on impressing people with only the good stories about ourselves. Instead, we should include stories that make us as simply being human who are imperfect to begin with. The stories we tell, is not only a good way for us to foster stronger relationship with the people around us. We are also providing them with our history, the experience that we have and the kind of person we really are.
During first dates in the early phase of every relationship, most couples tend to share only the good things about themselves. It is during this phase too (if the first dates went well), that we have almost always come to the conclusion that she or he is the one. She or he is perfect. Over time, however, we learn about each other's weaknesses and flaws and couples that could accept their partners as they are as quickly as possible, usually stand a higher chance to last longer in their relationships.
Do you realize how much more comfortable it is when you are around your friends who know a lot about who you really are and have accepted them (your weaknesses, flaws and history) as part of you, rather than being in a room with a stranger? 
We are much more comfortable being around with our best friends and family because we put much lesser efforts on hiding our weaknesses and flaws.
It is also a good idea to start sharing your not-so-favorite life stories with the people around you because you are showing your human side, which makes you more approachable. Sharing those stories also allow you to pinpoint areas in your life that you need to improve because your willingness to share them show how much you are making an effort in coming to terms with your mistakes and past, and act as a reminder for you to not pursue those paths again later on in your life. 
Personally, I find a person whom I have just met during a business meeting that shares his weaknesses and flaws as part of the stories more approachable and trustworthy. 
Our stories define who we are. The difficult  and easy roads, the failures and successes in our careers as well as relationships and every part of our past have helped to form the person that we are today. While I do not recommend for you to share every part of your history with the public, but it would be a good start for you to share with the people around you about your struggle. 
Chances are, some of the people that you share those stories with, might be able to relate to your struggle and they in return, might offer valuable help, suggestions, opinions and advises. 
Grow yourself through your stories. Think about what you have gone through and what you have done to overcome those obstacles. That's a good place to start. 
Image source: Minutsgirl
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Wednesday

Contentment


THE PATH OF
CONTENTMENT

We feel discontent every time we set our eyes on the things that others have in their lives, that we don't currently have. Every area of our lives seem to come up short by the time we are done comparing, based on what we have seen on Facebook and Instagram. We seem to think everyone else (but us) seem to have more fun in their lives, careers progressing well and relationship are doing very well. During a time when product and brand advertisements come into our lives from everywhere, we are always fed with the need to buy something we don't need because that is what makes other successful people look great in their lives. 



In our pursuit to bring in more happiness into our lives every time we feel we are lacking in something, we look for external factors to fulfill that need


temporary happiness


When we are not happy with how we look, we shop for new clothes at the mall or have a new haircut or maybe buy a new perfume.

When we are not happy with the way our careers are progressing at the moment, we commit longer hours at work to impress our boss and hopefully, we might be able to get a pay raise and climb the corporate ladder just like any other good employees out there. 

We keep on bringing in more things into our lives, to feed the temporary need for happiness into our lives. But it is only a short cycle and before long, after another session of comparison, we would be back on the road searching for other things to fulfill that never-ending need. 

We will never be able to find peace in our lives as long as we don't start appreciating what we have and keep on chasing the things that we don't have. But what we must realize, no matter how many things we have, how high in the social class we are in life, we will always feel as though something is missing. 

A happily, married man with a beautiful wife and six wonderful children might be jealous of the large mansion that the wealthy man lives in, with an expensive car in the parking lot and a gorgeous swimming pool at the backyard. 

But the wealthy man with the large mansion, an expensive car in the parking lot and the gorgeous swimming pool might envy the happily, married man with a beautiful wife and six wonderful children because he doesn't have anyone in his life. He has spent a long time building his business that he had found little time for a family. 

THE KEY: ACCEPTANCE


Contentment is a way of accepting the way our lives are at the moment, and being grateful and happy with it. It would be a very good start for you if you could start your day being grateful with your life and ask, Are you happy with who you are at the moment? You don't have to accomplish all your life goals now to feel content with your life. It starts by being grateful of who you are. 

Take some time to accept who you are, and keep on telling yourself that you are perfect just the way you are. You can be happy now, without changing anything in your life. You don't need a more expensive, luxurious-looking car to feel good about yourself; or a bigger house in the neighborhood or the next job promotion to be happy. 

You already have what you need, now. 


Footnote:
Image source: BookNVolume
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