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A Bloggers Retrospective of 2012

Source: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Source: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

As the year is coming to an end (and now that the world did not actually end), I thought it would be wise to sum up all of what happened to my ever-growing passion of  blogging and what are some of the mistakes that I did and how I plan to change my focus for the upcoming new year – 2013.

I also asked this question to some of the well known bloggers out there and you can read their personal experiences down below. I hope this consolidates all our thoughts on how to move ahead with our blogs without actually repeating any of the mistakes that we did and how to continue with our blogging careers.

Mistakes I could have avoided in 2012 

The very first and important mistake that I did this year was to monetize my blog without consulting my attorney!!!!!! Can you believe what I just told you? If you are a blogger and want to make money out of your blog, first and foremost you need to think is how you will receive the revenue and how you will disclose your returns on the income earned. Believe me, I have done some research on this and faced several hard facts regarding the same.

Of course this may not apply to all the bloggers, but it is always better to play it safe. To give you a summary, as most of you are aware by now, I am a citizen of India and have migrated to the US for pursuing my work career. I am here on a work visa and working for a consulting firm who runs my payroll. I get my W2 from my employer and file my taxes without fail every year through a tax consultant.

What I wasn’t aware of was that as an immigrant, I am NOT supposed to earn any sort of income other than from what my employer pays me (refer to this article on Murthy.com). Lot of my friends have opted to earn some extra money by getting themselves into blogging or even worse some of those pyramid schemes which are a strict no-no when it comes to USCIS and their immigration laws.

If you are in some sort of a similar situation, please do not waste any more time, call your immigration attorney and seek advice at the earliest, better late than never!!!! It is nice to earn a few extra bucks at the end of the day, but one has to consider “at what cost?”.

Having a Disclaimer – I never thought this would be a big deal until recently, when I read about this in a couple of articles around. What if you write about a specific food habit or recommend a restaurant for a particular dish that you liked there, and one of your readers actually tried it out and had some negative impact on the same? Is he liable to sue you for publishing the content online? What protects you from such liability?

So, having a disclaimer (something like this – DMC Disclosure) will actually protect you and limit the liability with your blog alone. That means, even if you end up in a legal tiff, your personal belongings will be safe and all that is at risk is your blog.

Email Subscription List – Recently one of my readers approached me and asked me to promote his eBook via a newsletter and was certain that I will have a good amount of subscribers to my updates.

I had to admit then and there that creating a subscription list was the last thing on my mind and asked if I could promote his book by any other means like writing a review or hosting a giveaway.

It was then that I decided to use the ‘MailChimp‘ service to see if anyone would actually like to get my subscription service…and just in a matter of a couple of months I have gained 119 subscribers in my list :-).

Also another important reason why I decided to move up the Email Subscription option on my sidebar is after I had my blog reviewed by Marya from Writing Happiness. She recommended that my existing option to subscriber to my RSS was not noticeable and asked me to move it to a prominent position on my home page.

Blog Review – Now that we are on the topic, I should say that Marya’s review of my blog was an eye-opener in several areas of improvement to my blog and I was astounded by all the loopholes she could point out with my current design and focus.

She actually summed up all my mistakes and sent me a 5-page PDF which went in detail about the various areas of my blog like content, menus, sidebars, blog vision and focus, guest articles etc which has helped me to a huge extent to re-think of how my blog is presented to my readers.

What Other Bloggers Had To Say -

Now let us see what some other bloggers had to say when I asked them

“What are the most important lessons you learnt in your blogging career in the year 2012? And how are you planning to implement this new found wisdom in 2013?” 

Hajra Khatoon -

“That writing (and posting) more is the way to keep pace. I am hoping I write more often in 2013. “

Vidya Sury -

“I realized the importance of an editorial calendar and planning in advance.  While there might be lots of ideas in our heads, it needs some planning to convert them into good posts. If we want to build a community, it is very important to share and interact in social media. Best of all, it is fun!”

Leora Wenger -

“Important lessons -
1) I can write both technical and non-technical posts if more (the majority) are non-technical and are friendly, warm and encouraging.
2) Just because a blog gets a lot of comments doesn’t mean it ranks higher than a blog with fewer comments in traffic.
How to implement?  Hm … working on it.”

Sue Neal -

“Main lesson – the importance of building relationships with other bloggers through commenting and responding to comments on my own blog. Also that I should have started building a list ages ago – I’m planning to have that actioned by the New Year. I also aim to continue developing links with other bloggers – and, as Vidya says, to keep having fun!”

Barry Wells -

“Having spent the majority of this year off sick the main lesson I learnt is to “try” and have posts written in advance… Although I would’ve needed loads to carry me through this length of time.
I agree with Sue Neal the importance of building relationships. I’ve been strong on this for the last few years and by doing so I’ve had some fantastic support from my blogging friends, who’ve come to my aid and written guest posts for me. They’ve all continued to leave me comments and share my posts even though I’ve not been able to return the visits as i normally would.
Without the support of my blogging friends this year would’ve a complete nightmare.
My plans for next year: Once my issue has been resolved I’ll pick up where i left off. Update 2 of my products and continue to build relationships with like minded people. :)

Adrienne Smith -

“The most important lesson I’ve learned in that relationships are the key to having everything you want.  Just to add a comment or visit someone’s blog is not enough.  Get to know your readers and help them as things come up.  You will soon learn that they’ll keep coming back to you time and time again because they know you are someone they can count on and trust.  I hope everyone will learn this valuable lesson as we venture into a new year. “

 Atish Ranjan -

“Blogging is all about learning and If it comes to me then I would like to tell you that I had started blogging just to learn only as I didn’t know it can earn me money.
In 2012 I have learnt that if you want to succeed in blogging you must have to build strong relationships with your readers and fellow bloggers. Apart from this I came to know that personal branding is as much important as blog’s branding. It might help in your future endeavors.
For 2013 I am planning to reach out to more bloggers and build healthy relationship with them. My ultimate goal is to come into full time blogging so will be implementing 100′s of stuffs. Learning is always be there in my life. :-)

Carolyn Nicander Mohr -

“What are the most important lessons you learnt in your blogging career in the year 2012? My blogging lessons were about subject matter. Don’t worry about what you think will bring you the most traffic or what others are writing about. Write to help people. The topics you think may generate the least traffic may, in fact, generate the most.
And how are you planning to implement this new found wisdom in 2013? I have started using a calendar to plan my topics. I can spread out topics so I don’t write about too many apps in a row, for example. I have color coded my topics so I can see instantly whether I am covering a lot of one subject in a short period of time. I like to spread out my topics so that people get a variety of tech information at The Wonder of Tech. “

Now these are some wonderful thoughts and some interesting feedback from these bloggers. I do know many of you will have something to share on similar lines, please do leave a comment and make this post more interactive and informative to all the readers.

Have a wonderful new year ahead!!!!!

Post By Praveen Rajarao (465 Posts)

Praveen Rajarao is a Software Tech Lead and in his spare time blogs on his website –http://www.dailymorningcoffee.com and http://www.techivy.com. His topics range from blogging to technology to affiliate programs and making money online and how-to guides. Daily Morning Coffee is also accepting Guest Posts from Professional Bloggers at this time, take a look at “Write For DMC” page for more details on the same.

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29 Responses to " A Bloggers Retrospective of 2012 "

  1. Adrienne says:

    Hey Praveen,

    Wow, you ran into a mess there didn’t you! So many restrictions when you aren’t a citizen. The way our government lets illegals make money I’m shocked that you are having these issues.

    I appreciate you sharing things you would do differently and what others would too. Thank you for including my blurb among these other fabulous bloggers and I enjoyed reading what they had to share.

    So let’s me sure and make 2013 our best year ever okay!

    Thank you again Praveen and have a joyous and wonderful weekend.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…Thankful Thursday – End 2012 With A BangMy Profile
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  2. Loved it Praveen!

    Lot of lessons for each one of us to take back home :)

    Gosh! You really ran into problems regarding taxes! I don’t think being in the same country has such issues, or at least at our end we don’t have such things though the earnings need to be disclosed. Email subscription is another thing I need to get started with myself and I am already late with it I know, so thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks for sharing great bloggers and what each of theirs suggestions are with all of us – always nice to learn from others – isn’t it? Yes, it does all come down to building relationships and connecting with one another, especially when you are blogger – nothing works better. :)

    Wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year as well. :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted…Blog Anniversary – Making Merry this Christmas and New YearMy Profile
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  3. Vidya Sury says:

    Very well done, Praveen.

    Yikes, That reminds me…I must put up the disclosure page. I had everything in place before I moved my blog recently to self-hosted. I’d better add it pronto.

    Great tips and insights here, Praveen. Thanks for including my input.

    Blessings to you for the New Year!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Children, Chores and ConfidenceMy Profile

  4. Atish Ranjan says:

    Praveen – Sad to hear about these legal issues you are facing there in US. Come back to India hehehe.

    Thank you for giving opportunity to share my perspective. Loved to see other’s views. :) God bless you
    Atish Ranjan recently posted…Facebook’s Updated Features – What are they?My Profile

  5. Sue Neal says:

    Hi Praveen,

    It sounds as if you’ve had a very stressful time – I think taxes are a nightmare, they’re so complicated even if you’re working in your own country, so I can imagine what an issue it must be if you want to earn money overseas. It’s great that you’re bringing this issue to our attention, to save other people from falling into the same trap.

    Thanks for sharing all these lessons from other bloggers – we all have so much to learn from one another,

    All good wishes for 2013 – I hope it’s a good one for you!

    Sue
    Sue Neal recently posted…Content Writing Tips: 6 Lessons From Santa ClausMy Profile
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  6. Barry Wells says:

    Hi Praveen,

    I’m sorry to hear of the aggravation you’ve had whilst monetizing your blog. It sounds strange that trying to earn money to pay your way is limited by the law of the land, especially in these troubled times when money is tight. You’d have thought the tax man would be happy to gain more revenue.

    Having some form of disclaimer is a must as there’s always someone that’ll try to take advantage. I was told a story earlier this year about someone in the US buying a coffee to take away and spilling it on themselves. They then made a successful claim against the coffee shop as they weren’t told the coffee was hot… Sounds stupid but it’s true Praveen, we need to cover ourselves against such people.

    When it comes to email marketing we all need to have an opt-in form on our blogs and as Marya said, you need it to be above the fold where people can see it as soon as they land. Email marketing is huge and if done right can bring you a good income.

    Thanks for including my response to your question in the post. I’m hopeful that next year will be better than this one.

    It was interesting to read others peoples replies as well and I see that many of us stated that building relationships was the priority :)

    I’ll close by wishing you a Happy and prosperous New Year and wish you all the best for 2013.

    Barry
    Barry Wells recently posted…Promote Yourself and Your BlogsMy Profile
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    • Barry – First off…wish you a very happy birthday and hope you enjoy the new year with good health and prosperity.

      I have also heard about that story and that is the reason why all these take-out cups have “Hot Beverage” printed now!!! It is indeed silly, but you need to cover your a#@@#s :-)

      Thanks for your wishes and your thoughts on this subject. Hope to see you back soon.
      Praveen Rajarao recently posted…5 Tips for Livening up Your Living RoomMy Profile
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  7. Carolyn says:

    Hi Praveen, What a wonderful gift you have given to us, sharing your lessons as well as the lessons of others so we can learn what to do and what not to do.

    I’m sorry for your difficulties. As an American living in the UK, I heard many stories of those who ran afoul of UK immigration laws, often unwittingly. I hope that you have been able to straighten everything out successfully.

    Thank you for including me among the other amazing bloggers you have quoted here. Each one has important advice to share and for us to keep in mind as we move on into 2013.

    Happy new year to you, Praveen!
    Carolyn recently posted…Getting Started with Your New Smartphone or TabletMy Profile
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    • Carolyn – Yes, I have found a way out and it is the peace of mind that can keep one going rather than thinking of what would happen if something goes wrong.

      I can clearly see that every country has it’s own rules that an immigrant or a resident should follow and it is for one’s own good…and the country’s security.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and am glad to have you mentioned in my article. Happy new year to you.
      Praveen Rajarao recently posted…How to Have a Generous, Organized Holiday SeasonMy Profile
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  8. Leora says:

    Praveen,

    I’m sorry to read of your troubles – I’m glad you have a good attorney advising you. Hope it all works out.

    I learn a lot from you – glad your mailchimp list went well! I meet other knowledgeable bloggers through your posts – that is valuable.
    Leora recently posted…Proving The Value Of Your Blog With Multi-Channel Funnel AnalysisMy Profile
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  9. Mayura says:

    Hi Praveen,

    Wonderful post up here now :) I can see many ideas of friends I know here and they gonna definitely help out users.

    You can get no more income from your blog now? I didn’t know about that. Anyway it doesn’t apply me but glad to know about that. Wondering how you gonna deal with getting the money via VigLink and all.

    Disclosure is something always need for a blog as I think. Usually we don’t take seriously if something goes wrong as usually it’s his/her experience or opinion there, no? But never know who will get seriously angry at us to be enough to file a complaint ;)

    However after all you have learnt a lot from ‘em and now we are learning from your experiences too :) Always love to learn from experiences rather than rules. Well, I tend not to break rules though ;)

    Ah… Now I get it. Is this the one you mentioned about other day that you sent me over Google+? :O If you have sent a request for me, then I wanna say I haven’t got such mate. Just wanna let you know about that :)

    Wishing you and your family to have a HAPPY, HEALTHY, WEALTHY and SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR Praveen :)

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted…How to Mention People and Pages in Blogger with Google+My Profile

    • Mayura – Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment here. Yes, this is the same thing I was talking to you about over IM, not sure why you didnt get it on G+, but anyways, it is good to see you here.

      Yes, i did come up with a way to handle all the revenues and continue earning from my blog in a legitimate way, so it is good from my end. Thanks for asking :-)

      Thanks for all the wishes, and hope you have a wonderful year ahead.
      Praveen Rajarao recently posted…5 Tips for Livening up Your Living RoomMy Profile
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  10. Siddhartha says:

    Nice to read about the goals of these great personalities here. You did a fantastic work here Praveen. Sorry to hear about your legal issues.

  11. Kumar says:

    Hi Praveen

    Really sad state of affairs. Hope Attorney advise will be handy in overcoming that.

    Thank you for introducing such great bloggers and their Goals. I know most of them, will check others as well.

    Kumar
    Kumar recently posted…When Nokia was Caught Sleeping – An InfographicMy Profile

  12. Sydney seo says:

    Hi Praveen,
    A wonderful post!! Reading through this post, I grabbed a lot of significant lessons. These lessons are an eye opener for me. And must say, troubles are the part and parcel of one’s life, none of us can live without them. They are the elements which add a certain spice into our life. I wish you the best of luck for your legal case. May you get the best. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post.

  13. We all learn from our mistakes and that of others too. I have been a clumsy blogger too and reading your post I know what corrections I have to make this year. Thanks for the great share.

  14. [...] A Bloggers Retrospective of 2012 (dailymorningcoffee.com) [...]

  15. Colin Boyd says:

    That is ridiculous, they should be encouraging the creation of income irrespective of status or if you’re an immigrant. Ironic really when you consider that 99% of all Americans are immigrants, therefore it should only be American Indians that can earn revenue outside employment.

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