New Design for 2010

new-design

Today I have spent the afternoon developing my design for the new year in a stage to reach my ambitious goal with publishing 365 posts. I am currently 3 posts behind after 10 days but I am sure to catch up since I got a slow start.

Less is More

The main idea behind my new design is the classic less is more. By removing my sidebars and its information I am shifting the focus to what’s important; my knowledge. Instead of wasting your attention on unimportant menus, polls, Twitter and Last.fm I place my posts in the spotlight.

On the downside I also had to remove all advertising. Even though this is my personal blog where I write about my own projects and I am not trying to make money on it, I was glad to be able to pay for my domain and hosting. I will probably change this later on and add some advertising below my posts.

Informational Greeting

This is something I recommend all of you to use at your blog. Add a box with short information in which you greet the visitor, share something about yourself and summarize what your blog is all about.

Hello and welcome to my blog where I share knowledge on personal development and making money online for free. My name is Stefan and I’m currently studying advertising and communication while running a company on the side. Feel free to read more about me and subscribe for my well worth reading content.

As you can see I also add a few links in the text. They are not only helpful for my visitors but also in terms of search engine optimization since they are high quality deep links from the top of my first page.

Wall of Fame

Just like the greeting box, this information actually deserves to be a own post. When it comes to blogs a majority of all visitors are interested in who the author are, even though they might have just found you through a search engine. Therefore you should take advantage of this and expand your about me-page to also show your favourite posts.

If you head over to mine you will see that I not only share information about myself but also lists my favourite posts, quotes and guest posts. Later on I will add a photo but my last one is 2 years old and needs to be updated.

Your Thoughts

After working with a design for a few hours you need to get a second opinion since you get stuck in the same route. Therefore I would love to hear your opinion on the new design. What can I do to improve it?

Become a Yes Man and Say Yes to Every Opportunity

yes-man

2008 was a great year with movies such as The Dark Knight, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Seven Pounds and many more, but one of my top 5 movies from 2008 is without doubt Yes Man with Jim Carrey. As a comedy the movie is far from being something special but I truly love the message in it.

Life! We are all living it — or are we?

What is a Yes Man?

Forget everything you have previously learned about the traditional Yes Man who sits quietly and always agrees with his employer or superior. The 21 century Yes Man celebrates life and takes advantage of every opportunity by always saying yes when his  friends asks him to tag along.

You’re dead, Carl. You say “no” to life and therefore, you’re not living. You make up excuses to the people around you and to yourself. You’re stuck in the same dead end job you’ve had for years. You don’t have anything close to a girlfriend, and you lost the love of your life because she couldn’t be with someone who didn’t live theirs.

In the movie Jim Carrey manages to learn Korean, learn how to play guitar, learn how to fly and finds his true love by deciding to become a Yes Man.

The secret behind becoming a Yes Man is simply to stop hiding behind your excuses. Instead of saying “no”, just say “yes” and go out with your friends and have the time of your life. I promise when you grow old you will fret all the things you did not do and remember all the things you did.

Yes is the new no! Start learning to say yes to life today!

Two Week Challenge

Starting Monday next week I want you to become a Yes Man and say yes to everything in life for the next fourteen days. I promise you it will not only change your view on life but also bring you out on adventures you never thought would become true.

When you have completed your fourteen days challenge I want you to come back and share your experiences below by leaving a comment. What did you take part in? Tell me about your two weeks as a true Yes Man.

Yes Man Trailer

Import and Export WordPress Thesis Settings

thesis-settings

Yesterday I wrote a post sharing my tips on my favourite Google AdSense themes for WordPress and as a follow up question I was asked if it is possible to export your Thesis-settings and import them to another site. This is extremely useful if you decide to use Thesis when creating small niche sites because it saves you time which you can use to develop unique content.

The solution is a plug-in named “Thesis Import/Export” and as soon as you install it you can download all your Thesis-settings into three different files. One for your Thesis-settings, one for your Thesis-design and one for your OpenHook-content which is great if you use the OpenHook-plugin.

When you are done exporting your settings you can upload them again to a new site just by locating them on your hard drive and pressing the import-button. Remember that this is only for your Thesis-settings and you will have to install WordPress and upload your plugins just as usual.

Download Thesis Settings Export

Best WordPress Theme for Google AdSense

Today I got a difficult question from Luc Biggs asking which template I recommend to run Google AdSense on when it comes to small niche sites.

I would like to find and stick with ONE WordPress template – one that looks attractive and is also more-or-less AdSense ready – as I have limited knowledge about coding, HTML, PHP etc. I will then use this theme over and over again with all my high PPC domain names. Which theme(s) could you recommend?

The problem is that you will never find a good looking theme with high CTR (click through ratio). You will always have to make a compromise between these two and therefore I have decided to list one of each. Here are my best looking theme for Google AdSense and also the theme with highest CTR.

Best Looking Theme for AdSense

thesis-adsense

Surprised to find out that I love Thesis the most when it comes to good looking themes made for small niche sites? Probably not. This version of the theme only took me 10 minutes to set up and still have a CTR of 5% which I find very good since it’s such a good looking template.

By using Thesis your visitors will take you seriously and most probably come back if you deliver good content. This is probably nothing for you who create a one-paged site and need every cent you can get to pay for the domain fee. Just remember that you need every visitor.

Visit Thesis | Live example

Highest CTR for AdSense

bluesense-adsense

With a cross section of 25% CTR I will most certainly never find a good AdSense-theme as BlueSense. If you are creating niche sites made for AdSense this is your number one theme irrespective of what others say. Again, BlueSense has a CTR of 25% on my sites!

This is way better than Thesis but with it comes a risk. A risk that no one will take your blog seriously and therefore find it more difficult to mention it.

Visit BlueSense | Download | Live example

Group discussion

Have you tried any of these two themes? If yes, did you get the same opinion about them? Or do you maybe use another AdSense-theme? If yes, which?

Why You Don’t Want to Lose Weight

lose-weight

Yesterday I wrote a post sharing my tips on what you should do to keep your new year’s resolutions. Besides smoking, losing weight has become one of the most popular resolutions for several years now and even though one of my goals are similar (exercise more), I do not like the term “losing weight”.

If you take a closer look at the image above you will notice that both of them have a weight of 250 pounds and a BMI of 33.9. Now ask yourself, are they equally healthy? Probably not.

By eating to little and trying to starve yourself you will set your body in starvation-mode which will result in your body burning lean tissue and use muscles as a fuel source. You will actually lose weight in the beginning but it is only because your body will reduce your muscular mass.

Women like Jessica Biel (photo) do not get beautiful bodies by starving themselves. Instead they eat healthy (not little) and exercise.

So please, stop using the term “lose weight” today!

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

resolution

A few days ago we celebrated the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 and I am one of those who believes this is a perfect time to begin a new era of your life. Unfortunately a majority of all new year’s resolution will be broken and therefore I will share some of my tips to make sure you will keep yours.

1) There are still time

Even though it’s a few days ago the new year began you can still decide for new year’s resolutions. You should actually try to create a new habit every other month but this is a perfect time for you to come up with the big ones.

2) Be realistic

Some of your friends might say this is to aim low but it is a much better idea to go from zero to two exercises a week instead of going from zero to five and then break your new habit after only a week.

With that said you should always aim high since this is how we continue to develop. Just remember to choose a habit which you can accomplish.

3) Give way for monogamy

Just as you should be realistic and choose a habit you can accomplish you should also stick to one or a few at the same time. Even though you might want to quit smoking, loose weight (more on this in another post) and begin exercising you will probably not be able to handle all of it at the same time.

Instead you should decide for one of them, continue with that for two months and then head over to your next challenge while you continue to succeed with your previous habits.

4) Keep it to yourself

Most people spread the word about their new year’s resolution as soon as possible but personally I have mixed feelings about this. I think it is a great idea to find a special person to compete with and help each other.

To mention a specific example I and a friend will run a competition on who covers the the biggest distance during the month of January. This is nothing we will share with our friends (oh!) but since it is a competition it will most certainly encourage us to exercise more. To measure the distance I will be using a Garmin Forerunner 405 which I ordered earlier today. I will receive it later this week and post a review here as soon as possible.

Another reason to keep your resolution to yourself is because some of your friends has probably already failed with it earlier and will remind you. Some people have a tendency to drag others down by being negative.

5) Reward yourself

In this case I went the other way around a bought a gadget first but this is only because I have been lurking at one since my surgery a few moths ago. Instead you should set a goal and when you reach it you can reward yourself with a gadget, journey, bicycle, etc. All depending on your resolution. By doing so you will not buy things that you are never going to use again.

6) Share your resolutions

Even though I told you to keep your resolutions to yourself I feel that all of my readers are positive and therefore there’s no risk with sharing your resolutions below. Here are my resolutions for 2010:

  • Run or walk (exercise) for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
  • Continue to stay away from unhealthy food with my calendar method.
  • Publish 365 posts on this blog.

Don’t forget to read my best post from 2009 and subscribe.

My Best Posts of 2009

New Year

Close to my birthday in the end of July I decided to begin blogging in English and created this blog. Now I have 88 posts published and personally i think it has been a successful first year.

Below you have a list of my best posts on this blog for 2009 and I would love to hear which one you liked the most. If you are blogging as well I would also love to see a comment from you mentioning your best post from 2009.

Blogging

Making Money

Personal Development

Motivational

Book Reviews

Happy new year in arrears!

Photo credit: auburnxc

How Music and Life Works the Same

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end. Success or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played. – Alan Watts

Best Method to Become an Authority Online

Authority Online

Last week I got a question asking me about how to become an authority online and since there are so many methods I will mention the best one of them even though this also might be the slowest one. Remember that making money online is a slow trade and Rome wasn’t built in one day.

The best method by far is to go where your audience is.

Choose a forum where you easily can distinguish yourself from all other members by simply helping them with their questions. Usually you want to find one where there are few authority’s already. A newly started forum can be a great idea because then you can begin answering the most simplest questions. The problem is that the forum might become a failure and without visitors your work will be useless in all aspects.

You should try to build an archive with your answers. When someone in the future asks the same question you will simply refer them to you old answer and by time other members will do so as well.

When it comes to traffic you should not use forums to build backlinks but rather use a signature and try to embed relevant links to blog posts in your forum answers. Do not just leave a link but try to answer the question and end your comment with “more info can be found in this blog post”.

By time people will not only link back to your answers but also remember your nickname and mention your blog when their friends are looking for help in the specific niche, so make sure your blog contains high quality content.