The Travelator is a wonderful invention. There is nothing better than rushing for a flight at an airport and seeing that the long walk to the departure gate is going to be cut down by jumping upon one of these moving sidewalks.
On a recent trip overseas we were lucky enough to find ourselves with the use of a Travelator on our way to passport control at Singapore’s airport – as I used it I realized that different people used it in a variety of ways. There were basically three types of approaches that I observed:
Self Powered – The first group completely ignored the Travelator. For whatever reason – they decided that they wanted to get where they were going under their own steam. Perhaps they wanted the exercise, perhaps their destination was halfway along the travelator or perhaps they were too proud or even scared to use it.
Free Loaders – The second group saw the Travelator as a chance to take a break from walking. They rested their luggage on the ground, stopped walking and let the travelator do all the work. While I didn’t join them – I could understand why they did it – after hours on a plane the last thing you want to do is go for a long walk while weighed down by luggage.
Power Walkers – The last group of people was the group I belonged to, we got on the Travelator and walked as fast as we could. The travelator was simply a tool to double our speed and get where we were going faster than would be possible under our own power. This group not only use the power of the travelator but they utilized their own ability to propel themselves forward.
Ok – so what do travelators have to do with blogging for money?
As I’ve worked with a variety of bloggers over the years I realize that many of them fall into these same three categories. This analogy is still forming in my mind so be gentle with me – but let me explain:
Self Powered – These bloggers are probably not as common these days as they were a year or so ago – but I still from time to time come across bloggers who do virtually all the work themselves. I chatted to one blogger a few weeks ago who answered my question of ‘which blogging platform do you use?’ by saying that he codes his blog completely by hand. There is virtually no automation to his system. While some of these blogs provide great quality content – the effort to get them running can be significant.
Free Loaders – There are an ever growing array of blogging tools and services at the finger tips of bloggers wanting to automate their blogs and improve the efficiency of what they do. These tools range from blogging platforms, to offline blog editors, to RSS aggregation etc. The temptation with many of these tools is to set them up and let them do all the hard work. This is the concept behind some of the site scraping software that is going around at the moment – in essence it lifts content from other bloggers and puts it on your own blog. While I’ve got nothing against quoting other bloggers and collating the information of others with due credit – many of these tools are being used by free loaders. I’m yet to see many successful examples of freeloaders making it too big.
In addition to the automated Scraper Blogs in this category are those who see ‘blogging’ as having all the answers. I meet these bloggers all the time – they think that all they need is a blog and all their problems will be answered. They set up their blog and realize that while they have a great tool they could be going forward a lot faster if they’re willing to do a little work themselves.
Power Walkers – The third group of bloggers are those who have their fingers on the pulse of and use some of the blogging tools available to them – but who also work their blogging butts off. They work on providing original, quality content and presenting it in effective and useful ways to their readers. They are no content to just sit back and let some automated system do all the work because they realize readers want originality, expertise and useful information. They use and are even willing to pay for the best tools and advice possible to make their blogging system efficient but are also willing to put in the hard yards to propel their blogs above the clutter being created by the free loaders.
Most of you know where I try and position myself with my blogging. While I do use blogging tools to increase the efficiency of my blogging I’m a big believer of putting in the hours and effort to take it to the next level.
Well written, Darren. Well presented “original, quality content” is the key. No-one wants to read about yesterday’s Gizmodo or Engadget posts on your blog. Nor do they need another picture of the Apple Pico. They want something new and engaging, and if they find it they’ll probably return for more.
I had a mentor many years ago who had a novel response to my complaint that “someone was stealing my good ideas.” He looked up, smiled, and said, “Yes, but you’ll have more and he probably won’t.”
When you say coding pages by hand, do you mean putting paragraph tags and the link around each paragraph?
Or physically typing in all of the links and menu options that WordPress lets me take for granted?
Good analogy, it will also work with escalators. One other characteristic of the Power Walkers group, it’s also the group where you find the rude and obnoxious. They’re power-walking their way to the end even if it means jostling and cutting-off everyone else. As bloggers are such an amicable bunch, there’s not likely an analagous blogging style. ;)
Best answer: get yerself a tame geek to do the hand-coding while you do the blogging. I suppose the analogy is I walk down the travelator while my son pedals like mad to keep the thing going (hope he doesn’t read this). :D
Power-walking people get highly irritated by those free-loaders that are just standing on the travelator. Ignore content grabbers and you do fine.
Great comments James.. To come up with original contents every day is real real hard work…
But I have a question for everybody.. how come so many collaborative blogs such as Fark.com which rarely have their original contents can become so successful? All I see what they do is linking to other original contents. They are doing a darn good job to link effectively and right on time to present the hottest topics.. but still.. all they do is screening the links..
If a blog was being run by a software developer would it look better if they used a blog they made themselves (and maybe use a ready made one while developing it)? I’ve studied programming as part of my IT studies and I thought it might be good for me to have a go at making my own blogging software.
Would that make me “Self Powered to a Power Walker”?