29 December 2009

Choosing Topic for your Blog which is right for you

One of the readers of the blog asked my advice on how to choose the right niche to work in. While it looks like and easy question to answer, in reality it is not. I have personally started several blogs, which I got eventually bored with, thus placing them in the passive mode. I have other blog, quite interesting and attractive, but appeared to be unmarketable and unprofitable (at least, for me). I have found a nice post by Daniel Scocco at DailyBlogTips, where he reviews the possible reasons of the blogging failure, based on the improperly chosen blogging niche. Presenting the post for your attention. 

A lot of people want to make money blogging, and a most of these people will fail miserably. There are 1000 reasons why this happens (and happens so often), but I find that one of the most common reasons a blog fails is because of the subject it is about.

No, not because you picked a subject that is way over saturated. And no, not because you picked a subject that is hard to monetize. What I am talking about here is when you pick a subject that you, the writer, have no business writing about in the first place.

You see, the number of people with blogs about a subject they either have no real interest in, no real passion for, no real experience with, no real knowledge about, or any combination of the four, is, quite frankly, pretty freaking insane. And hilarious.
Seriously, do you have any idea how many blogs there are about “making money online” that are written by people who have never made a cent online? Or how many blogs there are about “blogging” that are written by people who don’t actually have anything close to a successful blog? It’s kinda like a fat guy writing about weight loss. They lack significant knowledge about it, and they certainly lack first hand experience with it, but they see other people blogging about it successfully and making decent money, so they decide to try it too.
I mean, if it works for these people, it will surely work for you, right?

The obvious problem (well, obvious to me at least) is that you don’t actually have any knowledge about or experience with the subject. And, no matter how talented of a writer you may think you are, this tends to come through to your readers. You’d be surprised at just how easy it is to tell when you are reading something written by someone who is truly knowledgeable about a subject, and when you are reading something written by someone who is mostly just rewriting stuff they’ve learned from someone who actually IS knowledgeable about the subject.

It’s a big difference, and it’s usually quite noticeable. The result? Your blog will probably fail. People seeking information want to get that information from someone who is truly qualified to give it. You aren’t, and they will most likely notice.

It’s also entirely possible to be knowledgeable about a subject, but still not really be interested in it or passionate about it. This will again come through to your readers, but the even bigger problem here is that one of the keys to having a successful blog is time. It is extremely rare (you might as well read that as “impossible”) to see a blog become a success overnight. As I’m sure has been mentioned on Daily Blog Tips before, it takes time. In some cases, lots of time. And, if what you are blogging about isn’t something you are truly passionate about and interested in, guess what? This will be the slowest passing time you’ve ever experienced in your life.

In most cases, you will completely lose interest long before that time is ever reached. The result? Your blog will probably fail. You can’t fake passion, at least not long term. You may be able to fool your visitors for a while, but you won’t be able to fool yourself.

In the end, it’s pretty simple. Blog about a subject that you are at least somewhat knowledgeable about, and a large amount passionate about. If you don’t, you are putting your blog in a position to fail from day 1.
So the question now is, how do you find this magical blog subject that fits the above description? Well, there’s a few ways, but here’s my personal favorite tip:
Go to your family and close friends and present them with this question: If they had a problem of some kind, something that they needed help with, something they couldn’t figure out, something they didn’t understand, something they had questions about… what would make them say “Hey, I need to call [insert your name here]!”

The responses they give should give you a really good idea of the kind of stuff you should be blogging about. And once you have that, you’re set. Only 999 other possible reasons for why your blog will fail. Look on the bright side though. At least you’re starting off in a position to succeed. Many people don’t even have that.

08 December 2009

WordPress Exploit Scanner – Check your blog for malware!

The WordPress Exploit Scanner is a free plugin that scans your blog installation to see if any nasty malware code has been inserted into your site by hackers. It hunts for unauthorized code in the database and WP files on your server (it’s designed for self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com) and sends back a report on anything suspicious it finds.

When a website is compromised, hackers leave behind scripts and modified content that can be found by manually searching through all the files on a site. Some of the methods used to hide their code or spam links are obvious, like using CSS to hide text, and we can search for those strings.

The database can also be used to hide content or be used to run code. Spam links are sometimes added to blog posts and comments. They’re hidden by CSS so visitors don’t see them, but search engines do. Recently, hackers took advantage of the WP plugin system to run their own malicious code. They uploaded files with the extensions of image files and added them to the list of active plugins. So, despite the fact that the file didn’t have a .php file extension, the code in them was still able to run!

You can find the Scanner admin page linked off the Dashboard. This is the screen you’ll see.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You can search in numerous ways:

1. Files and database.
2. Files only.
3. Database only
4. Search files by custom keyword.

The custom keyword form allows you to search your files for whatever you like. Be careful with that one because a search for a common keyword like “php” will takes ages and generate an extremely long list of files.

Warning! Searching through the files on your site will take some time. Even a clean WordPress install with no plugins will probably take a noticeable length of time. It’s also heavy on your server. Only run the file check when your server is idling and not busy.

More information and direct downloading link at the developers website: http://ocaoimh.ie/exploit-scanner/


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