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Author: Drew M.

Drew is a writer and blogger from the Greater Atlanta, GA Area. He is the mind behind the blog "Tech and Well-Being" (a blog on personal and psychological well-being in the modern age) and is an Editor and on the Administrative Team of the SupaFlyBloggers Community.
Weekly Meeting Notes: April 29, 2017

Weekly Meeting Notes: April 29, 2017

Hi, guys. Upon the request of several of you, starting this week, we have begun posting meeting notes for those who were unable to make it to the meetings. Also, soon we will be able to provide a complete mp3 audio file of each meeting. We can’t promise an exact date yet as we are still testing the software, but it should certainly be in the next couple of weeks. So, without further ado, here’s what you missed this week in our meeting.

Posting Schedules

Joshua brought up the fact that he has set up a posting schedule for his website recently in order to be sure his posting is both consistent and high quality. Roby brought up the fact that he has used Trello in the past to keep up with post ideas and track his progress toward his goals. If you are not familiar with Trello, it is a tool that allows you to make categories and cards in order to keep up with the different statuses of different projects you are doing. It is worth a look. Joshua mentioned that he currently uses a combination of Wanderlust and Evernote. Wanderlust is a to-do list program and Evernote is a note-taking program. All three of these tools have apps on both the Android Google Play store and the Apple App Store.

Social Media Concerns

The topic of using social media to publicize work was discussed. It was decided that publicizing and relying to any real degree on social media is good in some cases and not in others. People on social media who follow you are not guaranteed to share (or even read) your work. Outreach to individuals is much more effective in the early days of your blog. Spend time doing outreach instead of spending money on advertising when you have a limited amount of material to show.

Posting Concerns

Members’ blogs were examined and feedback was given. For example, one member mentioned having concerns about creating the first paragraph of his blog and making it eye-catching and well-written, citing that the first paragraph is what draws a reader in and therefore deserves special attention. It was mentioned that you should act like you are talking to a specific person who has a specific question, then go back and edit the content to make it more widely applicable. Another member states that he writes multiple first paragraphs and picks the one he likes the most. Joshua let us know that he will summarize a problem, explain that it is not unsolvable and describe how he will help the reader to solve it.

While discussing post optimization, Joshua brought up the fact that he loves Yoast. The usefulness of this plugin can not be overstated. If you have a self-hosted WordPress installation, I would recommend you check it out. The basic service is free, but there are additional services you can pay for. Roby mentioned that he has used a Chrome extension called Grammarly. It can help with your grammar when you type and could be very useful if you struggle with certain issues of grammar.

Networking

During our networking discussion, Roby stated that, while outreach to individuals can help in the beginning, it is important to reach out to other bloggers as well. An established blogger can help you get noticed and grant you visibility to their followers/ It’s that much better if that blogger has perhaps a few thousand readers/subscribers. If you can reach out to around five of those bloggers, you will see great benefits and very possibly experience a growth in your following. To do this, of course, you must be seen as worthy by the established blogger, through meaningful content generation and possibly a considerable following yourself. Each experience with an established blogger is different and what they would require of you is just as varied.

This community, for example, is a great place to meet others and grow on your journey as a blogger. It can help you to have others who can understand your struggles and give you advice on how to improve on the things with which you struggle. We can’t always talk with our friends or significant others about these issues, because, quite honestly, they don’t always understand, and sometimes they may not really care that much. For that reason, this community has been established and we are all here to help each other. Make the most of your time here and make some good friends so you can help each other on your paths. Also, don’t think that just because someone is currently new or lacking readers, that they will always be that way. Everyone starts somewhere and you never know who will be the next big thing.

New Channels

We created two new channels, one for WordPress questions and one for post feedback. The WordPress Questions channel is for all questions about WordPress, large and small. The Post Feedback channel is for members, level 5 and up, to request feedback on their most recent post when they have questions about it, or just want some additional sets of eyes to take a look at their post to tell them what they think. The WordPress channel does not have a minimum level requirement at this time. Please be kind in these channels, and remember we all started somewhere. It is fine if you want to give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism about posts, but please do not be rude or mean, as a moderator will discuss your behavior with you if you do so.

Group Marketing

We discussed trying to bring in people from other areas, such as podcasting, SEO, graphic design, etc. We will be doing this through some advertising and we are already seeing some traffic from these as I write this. Since members seem to be helping each other with general blogging issues and discussions, we will try to bring in people who have expertise or knowledge of these other areas. This will be done in an effort to help each other in a MUTUAL relationship.

This is not so we can have a panel of experts to ask things of and ignore beyond that, it will be done so they can help existing members with their problems and existing members can help them with their. I am telling you this so you know that perhaps not everyone who comes here will have an active blog; some may be using techniques used by bloggers to get their goals accomplished. They will be a great resource for bloggers and bloggers can be a great resource for them.

What Do You Want People To Do?

This is a great question to ask yourself about every page and every post on your blog. If your answer is “I want them to view another article,” then make it easy for them to do so. If your answer is “I want them to buy what I am talking about,” make it easy and attractive for them to do it. This goes double for your homepage. For example, Badi is one of the bloggers in our group and he wants people to listen to his podcasts. Therefore, he chose to make his podcasts more readily available on his homepage (and all other pages).

The easier you make it for your reader to do what you would like for them to do, the more likely they are to do it. This is advice you should keep in mind while writing your posts as well as keeping it in mind in general for your blog as a whole. What is your goal with your blog? Is it easy for your reader to perform that action? If not, can you make it easier for them?

This will increase the success of your blog, so it is worth going through your website and making sure you can say “Yes, it is as easy as possible for the reader to do what I want them to,” even if it is a series of events. Just address them in order. Also, don’t confuse your reader. Better to decide on a simple goal than to give readers too many options and risk your website becoming intimidating.

If you own a self-hosted WordPress site (or any site that offers analytic usage), use that to gauge whether your website is too confusing or if people are being funneled properly to the features you would like. It is important that you keep an eye on your site’s usage and see if people run into any problems on a certain page or fail to do what you would like. This keeps your site not only serving the purpose you want, but also keeps it user-friendly.

That’s All, Folks

Well, that gets you caught up on what we talked about in the meeting. If you have things you would like to discuss in the next meeting, it will be held on Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM UTC) and we would love to see you there. There are no requirements to join, except for signing up on our Discord server. Meetings are open to all members, and membership is open to all bloggers. Until next time, take care, guys.

Join Us On Discord!

 

Announcement: Membership Statuses

Announcement: Membership Statuses

Have you seen the different membership levels in Discord and wondered how people got there? Do you wonder how you can get there yourself? Wonder no more, friend, because in this article, I will tell you all the ins and outs of our membership policy. We will start from the beginning and work our way up. But first, let’s look at how a member accumulates “points” to work toward the various levels. If you have any questions about this policy, feel free to ask an Administrator or Moderator on Discord.

Our Membership Level Moderator

In the SupaFlyBloggers Community, we use a chat bot known as Mee6 to automate the advancement of members based on their activity. We do this for two reasons. One reason is because if we managed the advancements manually, there is always the chance that someone could play favorites and promote someone before they really deserved it. Or the opposite could even happen and a personality conflict could hold someone back. This would not be fair to anyone in the entire community, and we try to be as fair as possible here. The second reason is because the administrators and moderators are all volunteers here and it would not be fair to them to ask them to keep up with member participation manually, as that would take a lot of time. Combine these two reasons and you have the reason we use our good friend Mee6. We, as the administrative group here, thought this would be the most impartial and fair way to implement a system to reward valuable users for their effort and contribution.

How Do Points Work?

This question requires a bit of explaining. Mee6 is not set up to give a set amount of points for each comment in chat, so instead he grants a semi-random number of points for each comment in chat once each minute. What this means for you is that, while your number of points is somewhat random (within a small range of 15-25, but still random to some extent), you will get credit for one comment made each minute. This discourages members from breaking up comments into multiple smaller comments in order to mine points. It also gives members a reason to pause and truly reflect on what the other members are saying before responding, allowing for more useful feedback. It really helps everyone out.

When you get a set number of points, you are advanced to the next “level” in Mee6’s data bank. Once you achieve certain set levels, you are promoted to a new membership level. Think of it as a role playing game. You begin as a newcomer, but with the accumulation of XP, or experience points, you morph into something better, stronger and more established. While we discourage people from shaming others who are a lower level than they are, we wouldn’t mind one bit if you gain confidence in your abilities and your place in the group as you advance.

Now, on to the membership levels:

Membership Levels

Member

To become a member, all you have to do is join our server. That’s it. You are automatically a member just by signing up. There are no forms to fill out, no hoops to jump through, no dues to pay (for any level, ever). All you have to do is log in and you’re a member of this great community. To see what is expected of you, please view our #rules channel on Discord. Our rules are minimal, but we do enforce them, so be familiar with them. Also, please note that voice comments do not count toward this total.

Active Member

To be an Active Member, you need to rank at a level of 10. This can be accomplished by sending an average of 234 messages in chat (though in reality, it is a variable number between 187 and 312). This can be done during meetings, by giving suggestions or (our preferred method) by talking in chat in the #blogging room (though talking in the #general room will count toward this as well). Please note, however, that if your comments are consistently viewed as empty of content or substance, a moderator or administrator may reach out to you and make sure you are enjoying the community to its fullest. We encourage meaningful discussion, even if many of your comments are simply asking questions; this is a learning community after all.

Established Member

An Established Member has passed through the Active Member status, and given extra effort and contributions to discussions in order to gain a level of 15. This can be done by sending an average of 592 messages in chat (though it is actually a variable between 473 and 789). At this level, you will begin to see benefits come your way. You will have the opportunity to write Guest posts on our blog from time to time and back-link to your website in your author bio. We will also offer one general chat each week where Established Members and above may come and talk about things they want to discuss with Administrators, Moderators and other Established Members.

Elder

The role of Elder is reserved for those who have committed a large amount of time and effort to our community and have reached level 20. To achieve this, you must submit an average of 1,193 comments in chat (though it is a variable between 954 and 1,590). This is the top tier that a member can reach. Elders will see even more opportunities come their way. In addition to the perks offered to Established Members, Elders can do additional things. Elders may submit an application to teach a course at SupaFly University, our learning section where all classes are free, in a topic related to blogging in which they are knowledgeable. The terms of teaching a course are forthcoming, but the material will be reviewed by the administrative staff before being accepted to ensure its accuracy and usefulness. When you teach a course, you may hype up your website to a reasonable degree if it fits the theme which you are teaching. Regardless of whether your blog fits the topic, you will be able to mention it in appropriate places. We hope this will drive more traffic to your blog in addition to giving you the opportunity to teach others the things you wish you had known earlier. We will also hold one Elders meeting every week, similar to the Established Members meeting, where we can discuss things that are on your mind in an atmosphere where other major contributors can answer you directly. Also note that anyone of Elder status is able to apply to become a Moderator when positions are available.

A Warning

We try to maintain a productive and open community here at SupaFlyBloggers, and as such, we reserve the right to demote (temporarily or permanently), kick or ban (temporarily or permanently), at our discretion, any user who disobeys our rules. We attempt to use these actions only when we feel they are necessary, but we urge you to be careful and obey the rules nonetheless. If you feel you were treated unjustly, please feel free to contact us and we will help to moderate the issue. Likewise, if you see anything that the Administrators or Moderators seem to have missed and not acted upon which you feel they should have, feel free to contact an Administrator or Moderator on Discord.

Announcements: See What We’ve Got In Store For You

Announcements: See What We’ve Got In Store For You

Welcome To Our Awesome Community

Welcome to the SupaFlyBloggers Blogging Community! We’re kicking things off with a few awesome announcements. Please read on to learn about our plans and feel free to give us your feedback either in the comments below or on our Discord server (details below). We urge everyone to come and participate in chat and meet new bloggers in your niche.

Here comes the good news:

What’s New?

SupaFly Discord Channel

We hold our blogging meetings on Discord at 4:00 PM Eastern Time each Saturday. Feel free to drop by anytime, though, as we are often chatting about blogging-specific topics in our Blogging Room, or you can chat about whatever is on your mind in our General Room. Want to make suggestions for how we can improve the group or its presence? There’s a Suggestions Room for that. You can also keep tabs on what is new in our Announcement Room, where the moderators post when cool new things are either happening or about to happen. Come on over whenever you want, all bloggers (beginner to advanced) are welcome on our server. You can find us here.

Our Website

Yes, we know you’ve heard of it or else you wouldn’t be reading this, but we thought it was pretty cool. You can check out our Tools and Resources Page where we catalog all of the tools and links recommended by our members and approved by our moderators. Just remember to use caution when visiting outside websites. Though we try our best to assure that they are safe and secure before we post them, we don’t (usually) own those websites and aren’t able to always assure their accuracy.

We also have a page describing our Discord group. If you want to learn more about our little community, you can go there and get some information.

What’s Coming?

Man, oh man, do we have some things in the pipeline for our members. Here is a sneak peak at what we are working on. Deadlines have not yet been set, but we’ve assigned these projects to various moderators/administrators and they are all in some form of development as I write this.

Community-Led Tutorials

We will be choosing our most dedicated and knowledgeable members of our community to post free classes and tutorials for others to learn from their experience and know-how. Topics covered will vary, but all things blogging and writing will be considered. Know that we will manually approve these classes before posting them to assure they meet our high-quality standards. If you would like to learn in this format or even if you would like to teach in this format, stay tuned; we will be releasing more information as the time draws near.

Benefits to learners include:

  • Education by knowledgeable individuals in their field
  • Learn at your own pace
  • It’s totally free forever

Benefits to teachers include:

  • Free exposure for yourself and your website
  • Valuable experience to put on your resume
  • The ability to give back to the community things you wish you had known earlier

It really is a win/win. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments or in our Discord chat.

Guest Posting opportunities

As our community grows and people start to exchange information and ideas, we will be helping people find guest posting opportunities within our group. You are also welcome to set this up among yourselves, of course, but we hope to help facilitate this among members to make things easier.

We will also be looking for guest posters for this blog from time to time in order to show off some material you are proud of or to create something new in your general field of writing. We will let you back-link to your site in your bio and this will potentially help you to get viewers for your blog. This is valuable for community members of all levels, but if you are a talented beginner, this can be especially valuable to you. Stay tuned and we will announce more when the time comes.

Niche Collaboration

Do you have a specific topic that you write about? Would you like to find others who write about the same or similar topics? In the not-so-distant future, we will have channels (chat rooms) on our Discord server to cater to specific blogging topics. This can help find or become a guest poster, plus it is always nice to talk with people who have similar interests to you. We will start with some general topics that we see arising (maybe SEO, Graphics, Tools, etc.) and will also consider actual general blog topics in the future when we see people with similar topics begin to chat about them, so chat early and chat often to pique interest and attention. You will also be able to request a topic for a channel in the future and we will consider all topics based upon member interest and potential usefulness to the community.

Conclusion

As you can see, we have many tools and resources we are working on. If you would like to submit a request, we would be glad to hear it in our Suggestions Room on Discord, or in the comments below. You can also message an online moderator on Discord. We hope to hear from you and get your feedback on our plans. We are always looking for things the community wants and value everyone’s input. Until next time, everyone. Happy Blogging!

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