She Had Sharp Teeth & Hands Like Sandpaper


Someone told me that my headlines are killing my efforts to grow this blog. They said that they are too goofy or too boring. They told me that I wasn’t maximizing my SEO efforts and that I post too frequently.

I nodded my head and then they provided a list of 18 other things that they hate about my blog. I nodded my head again and said that I wasn’t interested in listening to any more of their negativity and that if they didn’t shut up I would knock out every one of their teeth except one and that god willing they should get a toothache in that tooth.

Well they just ignored my words and went about their business. I can’t say that I was surprised about their reaction because let’s face it, that guy in the mirror is my best friend and my worst enemy.

He is the guy who looked at the Blog Metrics stats and discovered that there are 3,819,293 words in this blog. Incidentally credit for that particular plugin goes to Robert Dempsey. He has a very solid marketing blog that I have learned a lot from.

Headlines and Readers

This joint has been growing by leaps and bounds lately so if you are among the new crew you might not be aware that I have a love/hate relationship with headlines. Great headlines are overrated.  There is no doubt that there are a lot of distractions out there and that it is easy to be lost and or ignored but I am not a fan of using the “look at the shiny object” principle because you still need to find a way to keep your readers from pointing and clicking their way to the next place as fast as they got to yours.

Since I know at least seven of you will write me about the headline I will gladly assure you that there isn’t just one story tied into it, but three. However I am not going to write about those now because I am wearing my dad blogging hat and dad bloggers never write about untoward stuff. Uh oh, is it just me or did I try to jam a few keywords into this post so that I would rank higher.

Yep, I did. Got to tell you that years ago I blogged about naked pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and for a while I ranked pretty high on those searches. Never did get any naked pictures of them or Kim Kardashian but the traffic still roles in.

Some people might say that it is the wrong kind of traffic but I don’t necessarily agree. Ordinary people search for those things. Executives search for those things and you never know who might end up here and decide that even though I don’t have what they initially were looking for I do have something of value to them.

The Power Of Words

That was going to be my headline. I was going to tell you about my son. He plays on the school soccer team and in their most recent game his coach said that he was the player of the game. It was well deserved and long overdue.

I don’t say that as anything other than a biased father who is proud of his son. But the best part was the look on his face. I have been telling him for years now that if he plays hard good things will happen and that people will notice.

And then it happened. He had a great game and his coach made his announcement in front of the team. It was great and it provided another teaching moment. We talked about the power of words and gratitude.

An Email Newsletter- The Power of Words

Earlier today I stumbled across an old post called The Power of No and decided there wasn’t any reason to wait any longer to start the newsletter I have been talking about. I signed up for AWeber and set things up.

Technically I set up the $1 trial but what I really did is follow through on a promise I made to myself. I took action and decided that I would teach myself how to do everything that is required. Granted there are tutorials and resources that I can use, but those don’t take care of anxiety/nerves.

I don’t want to embarrass myself. I don’t want to look like a fool, but I would rather try and fail than fail to try.

Sure, that sounds like some kind of silly new age saying but I see truth in it. I am actively working on the ebooks I said I want to write. I am actively working on finishing my story so that I can edit,polish and publish it.

Good things are happening because I am actively working to make them happen and because I have support from you and others. I am grateful for it. Don’t think that I haven’t noticed.

Just write. Tell your reflection to STFU and keep pushing. Can’t say what will happen but if you don’t try nothing will.  So walk with me and let’s find out and if you are so inclined scroll down to the bottom of the page and sign up for the newsletter.

P.S. I forgot to add that sandpaper hands had a grip that put me to shame and gorillas cry when I shake their hand.

Good night for now.


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  1. Daniel May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    That headlines are overrated is an interesting point. I guess it depends what industry you are writing about. I’ve seen an article that advocated that 80% of your time should be spent on the headline (sorry can’t remember the source). 80% is too much, but the point been made is that if you stuffy up your headline, a great article may be overlooked and shared less. We recently looked at headline formulas and instead of re-hashing or listing every headline under the sun, we cam up with an interesting way to put a new spin on old formulas. See the link below.

  2. Pish Posh April 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Promotion, attention, marketing and the like are important. But I agree: if the writing isn’t something worth reading, I won’t read it, and I don’t want to write it. At my job right now we seem to be doing the same thing – focusing on marketing and retention, not teaching and education.

    • Jack April 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      Sometimes people miss the forest for the trees. It sounds silly and far too obvious, but it happens with increasing frequency. I think some of it is because it is quick and simple and many people are afraid to go out on a limb.

  3. seattledad April 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Glad to see you are growing here as much as you are. You certainly deserve it.

  4. Ralph April 29, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Hey Jack,

    Thinking of Aweber myself. Hope it works out for you. So, let me ask you something. What type of community are you trying to build? Aspiring writers, dads who want to share their experiences, tips for bloggers? Just curious because the best piece of advice I have received to date (for me) is that people want to be clear about what I am offering.

    Like may others blogging can be a hobby and for me it’s not entirely a serious pursuit yet but is getting there. As I delve in deeper I see the need to hone in on my niche. That’s how I see it but like anything it’s really just up to you to pursue it your way.

    I appreciate you commentary and your writing is engaging for sure. The headline ideas are solid in my book. I agree that SEO is important but like anything it is only a piece of the puzzle as you surely know. Blogging every day is good for the soul. I can’t post every day but I do try to write a bit every day. I can see the benefits for posting frequently but like life; to each his own.

    Great bit just not sure about the crying gorillas…….

    • Jack April 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Ralph,

      Those are good questions and I don’t have one simple answer yet. So here is what I have for you. I have readers from multiple communities and I intend to touch all of them. It is kind of funny since I don’t try to be all things to all people, but in this situation I think I can do things a bit differently than I have in the past.

      The big picture here is to become a published novelist. I think that the newsletter is a tool that can help with that in a number of ways and that is part of why I am doing it.

      Crying gorillas- now that is a term I might have to look up, rather I might have to check to see if I am now the top ranked result when searching for crying gorillas. 😉

  5. Jens P. Berget April 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    To me, it looks like you’re doing great. And now that you’ve got yourself a newsletter it will be even better.

    I am using AWeber too, so let me know if you have any questions. I’ll try my best to answer them. I’m using it every week, but I’m not very technical. And since I prefer the personal touch, I haven’t designed a fancy newsletter. I want it to be like a regular email.

    Headlines are very important to get readers, but I don’t like spending time to create them. I just use what comes naturally when I’ve finished writing the post.

    • Jack April 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Jens,

      Thank you for the offer of help. I am slowly figuring it out and will probably have questions in the not so distant future.

      As for headlines, well sometimes I write them in advance and sometimes I write them afterwards.

  6. Betsy Cross April 28, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Headlines only matter to me when I don’t know a person. I rarely pay attention to them after I’ve subscribed to the blog. But, the reason I subscribe is the content.
    To find good content I look for links from people I trust tweeting stuff out.
    So the two keys for growing an audience is two-fold: good, solid content, and friends!
    I have the most boring headlines of all time! Oh, well!

    • Jack April 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      I do the same. If I am regular reader I tend to come by regardless of the headline. A lot of times the post is far better than whatever headline they came up with.

  7. Julie April 28, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Hey Jack,

    There’s a difference between promising something in the title and failing to deliver (which is always so disappointing and can be found on 90% of supposed personal development blogs – in fact, popularity vs actual usefulness says something really scary!) and having a cool title that draws you in knowing that the author is joking. The latter would be you, I’d say? Carry on!

    • Jack April 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Julie,

      There is a lot of disappointment floating around the blogosphere. I sometimes wonder how many people are aware of how their posts fall short. I won’t say that it never happens because we all our rotten eggs, but I hate when I do it.

      Anyway, I appreciate the feedback and the support.

  8. Bill Dorman April 28, 2012 at 3:47 am

    I say you post too much, but that’s only for my benefit and I will say it to all ‘everydayers’. It’s only because I can’t get to it everyday so I know some ‘stuff’ will be missed. However, I know what you are trying to accomplish and the fact that you ‘can’ do it every day just means to plow ahead.

    You only have to answer to yourself.

    • Jack April 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Bill,

      Some of us everydayers have no choice in the matter. We just have to do it, but you already knew that.

      Every night when I go to sleep I want to do so knowing that I did the best I could that day to be a good guy and to try to turn my dreams into reality.

  9. Bell April 28, 2012 at 2:48 am

    I’ma go __________(fill in the blank) on you and declare that a great headline is nothing if not followed by a great article. One that makes readers laugh, cry, or take action.

    Headlines are hooks but readers aren’t fish. They wiggle free when they realize a writer doesn’t have much to offer them, or that somehow they find themselves in a strange, unwelcoming place.

    Even the weird and eccentric like to feel at home somewhere. My POV as a reader is, if your body copy doesn’t deliver on the promises your headline made, I am unlikely to return soon, if ever. This applies to any text; it really doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to sell anything.

    [And we sell ourselves all the livelong day — either for money or attention, but we do. Attention is currency as well.]

    Yes, I’ll be honest, I’ve come here more than a couple of times and left scratching my head. What was Jack trying to say, I’ll ask myself.
    But you’re a blogging powerhouse, so I know it’s a matter of time before you post something I relate to. I guess that’s the key in retaining readers, showing them how they can relate to you.

    • Jack April 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Hi John,

      I am not surprised to hear that. I expect a chunk of people are right next to you scratching their heads but I am sincere in my efforts to build my community around me. Ideally I’ll do more than catch your eye with every post, but I am not afraid to fall short.

      That’s because I know that someone will find something meaningful in what I write and they’ll keep coming back. Over time those numbers grow and a community begins to grow within the comments and that helps to cover the occasional short comings.

      At least that is my story today and I am sticking to it.

  10. k~ April 28, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I like the tips you offer. Headlines… I think they have to say something, but I would also agree that they don’t need to bolt you off the seat you are in.

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