Want More Readers?
Try Expanding Your Internet Universe

image of the Pleiades

Ever notice how everyone on the blogs you read seems to agree on everything?

We all know that content is king, that transparency is good, that sleazy sales pages are bad.

We even seem to know the same people: Brian, Sonia, Naomi, Johnny, Dave N, Chris G.

What we forget is that this little galaxy we’re occupying is only a tiny sliver of the universe. And if we want to expand our audience, we need to start boldly going beyond our own safe little corner.

I was recently exploring some strange new worlds on the Internet, places I hadn’t ever been before.

On this particular journey, I wasn’t looking for content, but for patterns and themes. Here’s what I found:

  • Blog and site designs in the rest of the Internet universe are quite different. We might think that Thesis, Headway, and Frugal themes are everywhere — but they aren’t.
  • Their presentation patterns are different. There are many more implementations of left-column, three-column, and, occasionally, one-column layouts.
  • The way they display banners and advertising is considerably different.
  • Highlighter much? The fake yellow highlighter we make fun of here as being ridiculously old hat is a common, accepted tool to focus attention.
  • There are far, far fewer comments on posts, even on “big” sites, than what you’re used to seeing in our galaxy.
  • The blogs you see on “everyone’s” blogroll simply don’t appear.

Their trends and pattern are different. They’re not necessarily worse, and they’re not necessarily better.

We’re in a hot, flat, and crowded galaxy

We often forget that the Internet is a network of data. Instead, we focus on sites that are just individual nodes in that vast network, and we mistake the part for the whole.

We don’t really understand what’s going on, because we don’t have a good mental picture of it. It’s too big to get our heads around.

The particular galaxy that we’re in is pretty dense, heavily-populated, and interconnected. We read each other’s stuff, link heavily, and have backchannel conversations. This interconnectedness and density creates a strong gravity well of ideas, patterns, and themes.

We’re just one galaxy, though.

Some galaxies are as tight as ours and others aren’t. But there’s so much space between us that what we do here hasn’t quite reached them yet, like the light from distant stars that takes millions of years to reach the earth.

We’re prone to assume that if we don’t perceive something, it doesn’t exist. Bad assumption.

Seeking out new civilizations

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a bit more on your game.

People who write effective copy that’s SEO-friendly do better both in search engine results and in getting readers engaged.

If you’re here reading this, it’s probably because you want to make your site better, and because you know where and how to find good information about that. That makes you different than most inhabitants of the other galaxies.

Just remember that what’s known and common here isn’t known and common elsewhere. In other galaxies, there’s no launch fatigue as we know it. There’s no third tribe. (Or first tribe, or second tribe.) Hell, there might not even be a Seth Godin.

Forget about “fields of opportunities.” There are whole galaxies of opportunities for you out there. While the particular aesthetic styles might be different, the principles of effective copywriting and SEO are universal. You don’t have to lower your standards just because the new galaxies you’re exploring seem to have less-evolved ideas of what makes a good blog.

To put it another way, visiting Rome doesn’t turn you into Caligula.

Instead of waiting around for the citizens of other galaxies to come to you, go to them instead.

Tips for interstellar explorers

Instead of using StumbleUpon in the usual robotic way, actually stop at a promising new website and get engaged. Hang around. See who they’re connected to. Be useful, relevant, and helpful there rather than on your own website or in your usual galaxy.

Click through to a commenter’s website, then click an interesting, unfamiliar link there. Repeat that a few times.

Follow your curiosity and you’ll probably find yourself in a third- or fourth-degree network from yours. Which pretty much puts you in the land of painted green dancing girls and monsters made from scraps of industrial carpeting.

It’s in those networks that you’re going to find your new readers. It’s also in those networks that you can really become next years’ A-lister, because A-lists are all relative to particular social networks.

If you’re happy where you are, then, by all means, stay put. Keep farming your own home planet.

But if your curiosity and ambition aren’t satisfied with that, consider this:

Someone out there in the Internet-universe is struggling with something you learned three years ago. What do they need, where are they, and how can you help them?

About the Author: Charlie Gilkey writes about meaningful action, creativity, and entrepreneurship at Productive Flourishing. Follow him on Twitter to get bite-sized slices of mojo.

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Google+ or Twitter to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips! I just started my blog a few months ago and am trying to build my readership base.

  2. Hey Charlie,

    I always remind myself as I’m progressing in my internet marketing business that there is someone out there that needs to know the information that I currently have. I like to look at myself as a student of this business. At the same time as a teacher for someone else. As I continue to learn. I’ll continue to pass on valuable information to help out the next individual.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  3. I definitely like this idea of getting out of your own little corner – I love breaking into new and strange territories. Being fearless when it come to expansion really is the way to break those barriers – your niche is only as crowded as you allow it to be – why not get out and create a new hybrid alien/blogger?

  4. Solid advice here. I have recently started allowing myself to go down the “rabbit hole” of bloggers and have found some really interesting people.

    I am not a traditional blogger in the sense that I am trying to make a career of it. I use my blog to promote myself and other products/services. I have found that my view of the world has helped some bloggers think about entrepreneurship in a new way. At the same time, they have helped me understand how to network in the blogging community and meet likeminded people.

    In general, I am exploring all corners of the universe and its cool!

  5. A galaxy where there’s no Seth Godin? Surely not!!!

    I find Twitter quite useful in peering round the corner – using the remoter connections to check out blogs several removed from mine and my little band of followers.

  6. Thanks for this post – I found it most reassuring!

    I am very aware of all the “names” in the universe I have been occupying, and have envied their broad reach and consequent high levels of traffic from, exposure and ?sales? to all the wannabe and actual entrepreneurs and small business owners out there!

    Being a true niche provider has made it near impossible for me to aspire to such greatness!…

    … so this post helps me remind myself that my job is to serve and expand within my own niche galaxy and develop name familiarity and trust there. I can avoid the temptation to be all things to all, and focus instead on being of great use to my galaxy’s inhabitants, or Tribe (loving term from one of those “names”, Seth)!

  7. Great advice.

    I actually do this quite a lot. I like visiting new sites and exploring new territories, as this expands my vision. Gives me new ideas and helps me meet new people and is just fun to move out of the same routine.

    But it is also important to avoid ‘information overload’ as this can cripple your progress.

    Kindest,
    Nabeel

  8. Rod Watkins :

    I believe this is well exemplified by the story of the Cargo Cults. During WWI (but other times also) bases were set up on remote islands, and to supply those bases cargo was shipped in. To the inhabitants of those islands this appeared to be no less than a divine occurrence. Which only goes to show that not everybody sees the world through the same rose colored glasses as we might think.

  9. Amen!

    *applause*

    That is all.

  10. Hi Charlie

    This is so very true.

    Just last night I decided to learn a little more about a very well known and super successful internet leader I have become curious about.

    When asked in the interview who her mentors are/were, she didn’t mention the names that I was so sure were THE leaders. In fact, she named 4 people, 3 of which I had never heard of.

    I definitely need to expand my horizons.

    Thanks for the great post.

  11. Great ideas but I think there is a danger of wasting a lot of time when exploring other networks. It’s easy to get carried away and not reap any benefits.

  12. Lol, Charlie, expanding the colonies of your home world race. I admit, I haven’t done that in a while: Resting in the same territories that I have colonized before.
    This awesomely written post will move towards that, I will spread today !

  13. Charlie, I’m not sure how others found there way to this particular galaxy. I came upon it at copywriting guru Clayton Makepeace’s site.

    So I came from the sales side of the universe to learn how to blog. Probably the opposite tangent from many others.

    What I love about this shining galaxy at Copyblogger is the quality of writing and copy. It inspires me to keep pressing on as my own industry is practically barren in terms of blogs and decent copy.

    Joe :)

  14. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs about blogging, and what I think is funny is the constant reference to Chris G, Seth Godin and Darren Rowse as if they are the super stars of every niche. The only reason I know who they are is because I want tools to make my blog the best it can be- so I read what they write. However, I write an astrology blog and that’s an entirely different world on the internet. But, the elements for successful writing, design, readership and SEO are the same. As you can imagine, there are some awful astrology blog designs out there.

  15. All the Great’s have tippy-toed into or fallen into new corners of the Internet Universe. Gathering ideas and insight from other blogs, websites, and social websites is the nor… links are passed faster than a speeding bullet. Tell everyone in your team nolonger requires a memo.

    In the quest to be different or first in your search for success, remember that you must take risks that may tip your boat. Take time to go a few links deeper, turn right when you would normally take a left. Let the force be with you.

    In the end you will lift your face from the screen, neck strained and palm sweating. You will have stretched you playing field. It’s easy to get stuck in a high-level groove – this is where many will stream. To make a difference, you must be a difference-maker.

    Great is a great Internet article because it will inspire your process and remind those who write copy to challenge traditions.

    Gibron Williams
    Head Honcho
    Oevae Marketing Consultants

  16. Best article I read all year.

  17. I consistently view the world as a series of Venn diagrams. And what applies online in the internet universe applies in our face-to-face social circles as well. Heck, it applies on our drive to the supermarket or work. We are creatures of habit, but it’s breaking those habits and fording a new road where is experience is gained.

    Whether it’s the websites I visit or the people I know in my hometown, it’s still a very small portion, demographic, and representation.

    I’ve found it quite healthy to always be thinking in terms of Venn diagrams and pondering how I can bring in other circles.

  18. I love your last line! The idea that someone out there could benefit from something that I already know, yet take for granted. What a great way to think about sharing yourself and your work. Thank you!

  19. @Danielle: Check out the link for new readers in the last section. It’ll hop you through some posts that might help.

    @Josh: I personally think continual learning is a requirement for to thrive in micro-businesses, so, yeah, I love your comment. :)

    @Kiesha: Niche saturation is one of the disadvantages of choosing the niche domination business strategy, so, like multiple streams of income, it seems smart to me to be serving multiple niches while remaining core to your value proposition. It’s a hard balance sometimes but has been high yield for me, without some of the limitations of niche saturation.

    @Justin: I’m not sure what a traditional blogger is anymore. I myself am not a problogger or a strict business blogger, but there’s a lot to learn from each perspective. And, yeah, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there.

    @Tess: I know, right? Until you talk to other web producers and they don’t know who he is…

    @Phillapa: There’s an alternating strategy you can use here. You can spend periods of time developing depth in your network and periods of time developing breadth across networks. I think the key thing, though, is to make sure you have the capacity to serve the people/networks you meet. Better to serve your local network really well than to have a bunch and underserve them all.

    @Nabeel: “All things in moderation” works in this context, too. Thanks for the feedback!

    @Rod: I never heard that one – it’s a great analogy. I’ve got some Wikipediaing to do!

    @Andy: *bow*

    @Kathleen: We all need to expand our horizons. The second we think we don’t, we’re wrong.

    @Sandy: Yes, moderation is key. But there’s also a huge danger in NOT exploring.

    @Mars: (Queue the french horns) To seek out new life and new civilizations… (Thanks, Mars!)

    @Toronto Dentist: Welcome, Joe! I’ll have to admit that Sonia Simone does a fine job both curating and editing posts. Her edits took a much rougher gem and made it shine.

    @Michele: I don’t need to imagine the awfulness – I’ve seen it. There are a lot of opportunities for people in astrology, natural healing, alternative medicine, and such who are willing to invest in the fundamentals of web content production and design.

  20. I forgot to mention – great post. Love the analogy.

    You mentioned how everybody seems to agree on blogs. I noticed that too, and was first put off by it.

    Then I clued in… People show agreement out of courtesy and respect for the author. The author is the one who has done all the heavy lifting and taken all the risk in revealing their article/post to the world.

    My initial urge was to disagree with every article/post I read or nitpick on small details. It’s so easy to be a critic and point out flaws.

    I made some snarky comment on a blog and was given a quick wake up call. I realized I was coming across as a total jerk and without common courtesy there was little chance of positive influence.

    Now I try to begin any response by being courteous and respectful. I look for areas of agreement and start from there.

    Joe :)

  21. Great post. The idea of “exploring a new galaxy” is exactly why I started a blog/online magazine on a topic totally outside the sphere of marketing and writing. Not only has it been a valuable learning experience but it’s been, surprise on me, a ton of fun.

  22. Great article…. I think when you spend time on all these stellar blogs it can be easy to bench mark yourself against them and wonder why you aren’t getting the same sort of responses. Perspective is all important.

  23. This last sentence “Someone out there in the Internet-universe is struggling with something you learned three years ago. What do they need, where are they, and how can you help them?” is some of the best advice I’ve read in a long. It’s a big world, and a bigger universe, there is room for everyone to make a difference and a positive impact.

    Congrats Charlie on your guest post!

  24. Interesting article, Charlie – I found it through Twitter. Like Tess, above, I find Twitter useful for “peering round the corner” to see what else is out there, and like Kiesha, I like to get out of my own little corne,r once in a while, and look for new and strange territories! I’ve read copyblogger a few times, but this is the first time I’ve commented. Perhaps it means I’m ready to allow my “circle” to connect with yours…! (reference: Bugsy’s quote about Venn diagrams)

  25. Exploring other galaxies is easy. It’s finding the time to do so that is hard…

  26. The great thing about the internet is the vast amount of social and financial opportunities still untapped in this virtual world. Good article.

  27. Great analogy and good message. I definitely need to get in my rocket ship and explore new worlds.

  28. Thanks for implanting the image of becoming next year’s A-Lister! I love a challenge AND I love the structure to make it happen.

    Sandi

  29. Hi Charlie – I’m LMAO at the thought of a galaxy with no Seth Godin. But I have the same problem as Hugh – not enough time to hang round the other galaxies. It sucks because I do enjoy contributing to discussion forums outside of this.

    SEO is one useful way to reach folk in other galaxies. And as you mentioned StumbleUpon is another but I haven’t used that for years.

  30. Charlie, I am probably one of those you might consider in a “far out galaxy” from yours, but I’ve learned much here, and having always been one to mix in different circles, because I enjoy the differences in people so much, probably, I’ve benefited from the well-written copy with practical, effective tips!
    Quoting:
    “Someone out there in the Internet-universe is struggling with something you learned three years ago. What do they need, where are they, and how can you help them?”
    This woke me up.
    I blog to inspire, help and encourage, and I needed the reminder to be agressive in expanding my horizons, because of the truth in that quote (no matter how hard it is to believe that I could be three years “ahead” in knowledge of anyone!): There are people who haven’t yet found “the people who have the answers, the resources, the teachers and wise counselors, the hope, the help, the truth” that I have. I’m forever grateful for all I’ve “happened” onto, and been taught and given, but I need to share it…so out of my complacent, comfort zone.
    I appreciate the good counsel.
    Wendy
    Faith’s Firm Foundation

  31. @Cath, you don’t have to go all that far. Even in the corporate marketing world, where you’d think Godin would be a household name, you’ll often see a confused squint, maybe followed by, “uh, is that the Purple Cow guy?”

    Many of them bought the book; few of them read the book.

    It’s also rather amazing how many highly paid marketing professionals have never heard of John Caples, Claude Hopkins, Gene Schwartz, or any of the other great teachers of direct response. They know Ogilvy and Leo Burnett because there are still giant agencies with their names, but they haven’t read them and they can’t tell you the classic ads those men wrote. They might know a few of the big 50s and 60s names in advertising from Mad Men, and that’s about it.

    Shocking, I tell you. :)

  32. Great advice! How else would we expect to grow besides expanding our horizons?

  33. Brilliant article! Thesis is a fantastic theme, but, to be honest, I’m a little fatigued seeing it everywhere I go. It just looks the same and sometimes these sites seem like mimics of the “hot” people without offering sufficient depth. I find sites using other themes appealing to me as more creative, interesting, not stuck in a box. Your entire article resonated for me, this is just one point that’s been popping in my mind lately as I traverse my small part of the universe. Now planning to expand!

  34. I think “where are they” is the question of the day. What you’ve written about curiosity is interesting. In my experience, I started following my own curiosities and passions and subsequently stumbled into some great new pools of readers. Once all of the same faces started circling my blog, I realized how small my reach was and that it was time to do something different in order to increase influence.

  35. I can always count on words of wisdom when I come to your blog. Thank you again.

    Jim Hageman

  36. Great post, Charlie. For the longest time I felt insecure about my blog because while it seemed that I had a good amount of traffic I wasn’t getting the amount of comments some other blogs do.

    Then I started hearing things like “I showed your blog to my sister and we just laughed and laughed” from people I barely knew and seeing links to my stuff in the streams of my “civilian” facebook friends who I assumed had no interest in blogs at all with very positive remarks from their friends and I realized that I do have an audience that likes and appreciates what I write, they just aren’t the commenting sort. And that’s just fine with me.

  37. Hi Charlie

    I like this post of yours especially much since I live in Iceland, where the “blogosphere” is very different from what I’ve discovered in this part of the galaxy…

    I’m a new blogger, taking my first steps in finding some innocent readers, and I actually ended up over here (a couple of months ago) in a journey similar to what you described, clicking away from home and to strange places.

    In fact, when I first started a blog (many years ago and with no real purpose) I had no idea there were people out there writing about how to do that sort of thing better, how to use the web for marketing, etc.

    When I started my blog last May I did so having found out about all this and knowing someone who had an online career (something I didn’t even think was possible before). I hadn’t even heard the term “copy writing”. The concept doesn’t exist in Iceland.

    So, to make a long story short, good post- good points- nice to meet you ;)

  38. The Force will be with you, Always.

  39. @Hugh MacLeod: As always, it’s a question of priorities and consciously deciding on what to use time for. The day has 24 hours for all of us, so we’re all in the same situation… I personally find exploring new blogs refreshing and relaxing, much better than TV or reading repetitive posts by staying always in the same niche. Great post, Charlie!

  40. This is so, so ,so good. I can’t tell you how good, and how much I agree with you.

    Even when you move from the marketing to the sales galaxy.

    My biz partner and I had dinner with some folks we had met on Twitter. They happened to be in Seattle and it was a perfect time to meet. They were all known and highly respected in sales. But when they started talking about evidently some very big names they had landed for a webinar, I was lost. Didn’t recognize one!

    And, yes, the names we throw around are just as unfamiliar to God knows how many other people. It’s all relative. I think the get out and explore, it’s a great big world out there advice is excellent.

    I have just started to follow the links of some of my readers to visit their sites and their “galaxies.”

    I’ll be referring people to this post. Thanks, Charlie!

  41. This post is fabulous. I was just thinking the other day, “Am I playing in a saturated field”? Great insight on how one should explore other areas for readers, I really enjoyed it and will share. Thanks so much!
    Val Taylor

  42. Thank your for your brilliant ideas. I think, I will benefit from them. Thank you.

  43. Ah, what is it with the fake yellow highligher already? Is anyone out there that doesn’t find it cheap!

  44. Thanks, Charlie — this is a great cosmological treatment of theme and variation for bloggers.

  45. Great Article… Thank you for give me the north to follow. Looking for new readers on my blog.

  46. It is amazing how you can think you ‘know’ everyone because you see them around your own little haunts… but in actual fact, there are a ton more people out there than those you ‘know’.

    I am constantly running across new blogs that I found through ‘a friend of a friend of a friend’. And they simply don’t run in the same blogging circle I myself run in! lol

    But you’re right, it’s definitely good to expand your world a bit and get to know bloggers not of this world, but in galaxies far far away. :) Good for the soul and the brain!

    C

  47. This is very timely Charlie! I was just thinking the other day that my online experience is very much an echo chamber. I got to thinking about how much bigger the Internet is than what I was patronizing. Thanks for putting my thoughts into such a cogent and precise metaphor.

    Time to go exploring!

  48. @David: Wow – thanks!

    @Bugsy: As a philosopher, you know I love my Venn Diagrams. However, I’ve learned that thinking in terms of networks is actually more powerful. Here’s why: networks have major nodes to them, and when you recognize a node, you know there’s a lot of traffic and visibility there.

    And just like any network – whether it be a rail network or port – there’s opportunity. Find the node, find the opportunities.

    @Valerie: That last line wakes me up in the morning some days. True story.

    @Toronto Dentist: Honey attracts more than vinegar, it seems, and it’s always easier to critique a solution/idea than it is to come up with your own, as you mention. That said, it was hard for me, too, as I was trained in two zero-defect environments, but I’d much rather have a good, useful bit of information with a few small errors than a “soon to be published” bit that’s perfect. :p

    @Karen: That fun is the important part. Hold onto it. :)

    @Miss Kitty: Yep, and it goes back to not trying to be someone else. It’s hard enough to be ourselves!

    @Sandy: Thanks, Sandy!

    @Julia: Thanks for commenting, Julia, and nice to connect Venns with you. (That sounds more scandalous than I thought!)

    @Hugh: I hear you, Hugh! But maybe that’s a sign that rather than exploring, you should be tending to the people who you’ve already found or who have found you. Writing a massively popular and great book has the “downside” of having more people want some Hugh than Hugh has to give, after all.

    @Sandi: Hey, in 2005, Brian was next year’s A-lister. Think about it.

    @Cath: As I was writing this post, I definitely felt the “not enough time” pain, and I still do. But like I told Hugh, I took it as a point that maybe I should be tending to the people that I already know and cherish.

    @Wendy: Glad to hear that line helped! I particularly like Michele (Woodward’s) idea of expanding your comfort zones rather than getting out of them, for the truth is that we’ll always be uncomfortable about something.

    @Sonia: See, I don’t have to go that far at all. Everytime I talk or read one of your comments, there’s all these great people and ideas that I know nothing about. Thank you!

    @Sandra: Yep, I’m a Thesis user myself, and it’s refreshing to see a Headyway, Frugal, Woo, Tumblr, and such in the mix. As long as it’s not Typepad… :p

    @Tia: Maybe there are two questions, then: 1) where are they? and 2) what do I need to do different?

    @Jim: Thanks, Jim!

    @Tracy: I’m glad you said this because I feel that way sometimes, too. Then I remember that commenters fall within the 10% of people reading your blog and I think about all the other 90% that might be enjoying it just as much as the few commenters but not saying something. It helps!

    @Thoreyo: “Copy writing” doesn’t exist in Iceland?! +1 to the pool of things I didn’t know. Interestingly enough, I had to learn about what copywriting was since it’s a foreign term within academia.

    @JD: What’s the reply to that? “And also with you?” (Thanks!)

    @Fabian: I dig your point re: priorities and TV. There’s so much cognitive surplus wasted on TV and video games as opposed to exploring and connecting with new people.

    @Judy: Thanks, Judy! I’m glad you liked the post and appreciate the references.

    @Val: Glad this helped, Val! And, when you think you’re in a saturated field, look down – as in, whether you could go deeper – or around, as in pulling in new ideas from convergent niches/fields. Either way can be a winning ticket.

    @Kevin: Thanks, Kevin!

  49. The best point at the end about someone needing the information you have from 3 years ago is looking for it now makes this worth doing. If you can help someone else it makes it all worth it!

  50. I certainly had a Star Trek moment reading your article. Seeking out new civilizations, good idea. I’m only just starting into the blogger universe so I have a lot to learn. Your site is providing me with a lot of that information thanks. I will have to try and remember there are more universes yet to be explored. Thanks.

  51. I’d settle with more traffic to be honest.

  52. Brilliant post Charlie. I have been so guilty of not expanding my network and looking beyond my current boundaries. I think I need to be a little more curious!
    Thanks for this article a most enjoyable and thought provoking read

  53. I really like the example of the fake yellow highlighter. It reminds me of my musician days, when inhabitants of my galaxy would ridicule country music one day and become fans the other – just because someone of Seth Godin’s stature had proclaimed that country music had officially become cool.

    It’s always good to get away from our own tribe once in a while.

  54. Fantastic metaphor. And a timely reminder.

    It even goes beyond the internet – running live workshops brings it home to me how many creative and interesting people have yet to really engage with life online…

  55. Greetings! I come from another galaxy! Here in our world we revere food, wine, travel, art, architecture, history…all the beautiful things! I invite you and all of your countrymen to come visit us at ProvencePost.com…

  56. This post particularly resonated with me.

    In a way I already feel like a visitor to another planet just coming here! Much of the post already seems alien and I don’t know half the people you mention.

    I come from a group of bloggers who started out using a different CMS (e107) and within that community I built plugins, shared tips, helped people along the way. As a commercial developer I have also seen things from another perspective again – things are very different in the corporate world!

    Having recently moved to WP I am now discovering a whole load of new sites and personalities and certainly feel better off for doing it!

    Pop over, visit a new world ;)!

  57. Great post Charlie. Sometimes I over-think my universe. “Expert” advice often tells you to follow the path of someone else and play in their universe. I would like to learn from their path and then make my own.

  58. Very nice post Charlie. This post is very informative and use ful for me as a new blogger.

  59. Very usefull post!
    I am a new blogger and come from the far off galaxy of interior design. Though I have no idea who any of the people you mention are or what half the words mean, I often find pertinent information here and in other blogs of your niche.
    Bloggers should really do this often to break up the monotony of their specific subject. I wander frequently outside my universe but rarely comment. I think I will start leaving my thoughts behind and see what that brings!
    Thanks, and always look forward to the next post!
    P.S. Where I am from we use a lot of exclamation points.

  60. Good stuff that’s way too easily forgotten (or the opposite, blindly bought into). I’m a coach and one of the big criticisms I’ve always had about the “coaching industry” is that there is so much out there that is coaches selling “get rich coaching” things to other coaches. I’m tiny, but see how right you are. The challenge of only talking to the people that we talk to all the time is an invisible case of groupthink.

    Here is one of the problems I see though. I comment on what I find interesting. There is an ulterior motive in there as well. It just makes sense to comment on blogs that have a lot of commenters, because that is a way to get noticed, for better or worse. Let’s face it, many of us are bloggers with sights on starting an online business, expanding a business, or getting readers and thus traffic and through that customer.

    To paraphrase an Oscar winning song, “It ain’t easy out there for a — blogger.”

    Mike

  61. It’s not as easy as you would think to stumble across something completely outside your scope on the internet.

    As web users we live in our little world, visiting the same five or six sites a day.

    And Google decides a lot of those visits.

    Working out how to jump into new networks is the trick, especially for a book reviewer and writer.

    Patrick Jungla

  62. @Vince, that can lead to a really good strategy, which is to take something that works well in galaxy A and teach it to the inhabitants of galaxy B. It makes you look like a super genius (which is nice), but more important, it gets some smart proven techniques and finds them a larger audience.

  63. @sonia, on my second pass through Gene Schwartz. He’s one of the few that really digs into the why of the matter. Halbert for pulling the strings, Schwartz for knowing which strings to pull.

  64. One of the best marketing strategies.

    In summary, you could just say ‘Get involved with social networking’. Instead, you tackled the various details and nuances of exploring your networks.

    I like that.

    I’ve recently gotten involved into marketing after an incident with my amazing marketer. I’m barely starting to open my eyes and wake into greater sectors of the universe, starting with deviantart.

    I also like your short sentences.

  65. hey charlie,
    love this post to bits.
    very interesting way of you to write on such a particular topic.
    indeed, i just started out my making money online conquest a year ago ( oh boy, long way to go ) and i have come across times where i was so reluctant and stubborn from trying out anything new because i was apparently ‘comfortable’ with what i was doing.
    however, as i continue working constantly and similarly like any of the particular days, i got kind ‘bored’ and besides, results were…..unsatisfactory. =(
    hit myself on the wall and pushed myself and told myself that i have had enough. Got back up and explored other parts of the ‘galaxy’ as you speak of =P
    its not simple during the initial start as my time and ‘actions’ are so used to working on my old routine but eventually, things improve and so are my ‘rewards’ =) * all smiles now*
    therefore, i agree with what you have to say. its not just a field of opportunity, its a whole galaxy literally we are talking about. there ought to be something new for us to learn each day and each time. what is stopping us from taking the first step? ourselves!

    cheers
    keep up the good work,mate

  66. Charlie,
    This says it all:

    “Someone out there in the Internet-universe is struggling with something you learned three years ago. What do they need, where are they, and how can you help them?”

    Thanks for this wonderful post – I’m definitely looking to expand my universe and help more people.

    Heather

  67. I have to agree. I think I also get tired of farming my own backyard. There are so many of us doing the same things that we get bored with each other. Your idea of clicking through several times is something I’m going to try this week to see where it leads me.

  68. I have heard of ‘CopyBlogger’ and decided to come check it out. Very interesting post. I have also heard of ‘Seth Godin’, but don’t know what he does…I assume he blogs.

    Brian, Sonia, Naomi, Johnny, Dave N, Chris G. (No idea who these people are. I am sure they are friendly, or you likely wouldn’t have mentioned them.

    I have only been blogging since Jan 2. I am at 190 posts, Averaging 900 words or so, have a tiny readership of about 5800 visitors per month and only 31,000 page views, so obviously I am a long ways from being a serious blogger. But I do enjoy it.

    I know almost nothing about how to be a blogger, except that I have gotten good at adding new content every day. I don’t do any SEO. I have never done a googled in bing to find a blog. Do people really search for blogs by using a search engine? Everyone I know reads blogs they have found through their social networks.

    Perhaps the reason I have not done very well at attracting big numbers, is because I don’t do any of that magic SEO stuff? I guess, I need to spend some time exploring the blog universe.

    I enjoyed your blog. I can see why I have heard of ‘Copyblogger’ as it seems you know what you are doing.

    Thanks for the post.

  69. I’ve been working on this by joining the MyBlogGuest website and guestblogging on a whole slew of sites “outside my niche”.

    I’m creating a resource for stressed people – and what kind of people are stressed? Game developers. Divorced people. Public speakers. All these people have blogs to serve them, and I’ve guestblogged on some of them.

    Don’t know yet whether that’s going to be a winning strategy, but it sounds plausible to me.

  70. I have noticed the same things as I look at other sites that are not within the personal blogging community.

    Some things I really like are the added functionality of sites like ZDNet and others.

    One thing that I have noticed is that WordPress is very user friendly but is not capable of doing more advanced things easily.

    Anyways, this is great post and I will be back to read more articles in the future.

    Jason

  71. Charlie,

    Thanks for this post! I feel like I always have this conversation every week with my co-workers regarding comments, blog traffic, and how to increase our visibility. For data hounds–and I’m certainly one of them–it can be frustrating to look at just the number of comments or retweets of a particular post. It’s also frustrating when the conversation takes a turn down the “well, people are just lazy/stupid/willfully ignorant; that’s why we’re not seeing impressive numbers on our blog” track. I can see your post becoming required reading to help combat this–as well as keep morale up.

    Thanks again!

  72. Hey Charlie, I really like the way you wrote this post. It certainly is a twist from the usual way people present this issue. i think your article basically sums up that the internet is so vast that there really isn’t any possibility of something getting too saturated and its still growing. Explore the universe, venture into other galaxies. i think India and China and other parts of the world (Asia) are catching up on this and they will be people who are craving for information even in the internet marketing niche!

  73. Good advice! And here I am trying to put it to good use. I normally only comment on & frequent the small world of design blogs. There’s a lot to be learned from other “galaxies”.

  74. Charlie,

    That’s exactly what I’m doing. The galaxy I’m trying to take over speaks Spanish and is totally devoid of any good content. The content that does exist is r-hashed content from American blogs, not very compelling, and te.re are no attempts to provide calls-to-action to promote anything, let alone valuable educational content

  75. excellent post – inpsiring and thought provoking. I will raise your points at our next team meeting

  76. It never hurts to try and expand your network through looking at new websites. The more you get your opinions out there, the more people will start to notice, and consequently begin reading your own blogs if they like what they see. By exploring outside of your usual sites, you’ll not only increase your own knowledge but also begin to positively influence others.