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The Importance Of Screwing Up

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of making mistakes. And I don’t mean the garden-variety mistakes we make as a matter of course that are part of the learning process, important though these mistakes may be.

I’m talking about big mistakes. I’m talking about mistakes that have consequences. I’ve been thinking that it is important to make these kinds of mistakes.

I’ve been thinking that not only is it important to make consequential mistakes but it’s important to make them when you’re at the top of your game. It is important to make a big mistake when you are at that point in your career when you have mastered your craft, skill or whatever it is that is central to your work.

For whatever possible reason, you’re no doubt asking, would I want to make such a mistake?

I am not advocating intentionally making a mistake. I’m just saying, if you’re gonna make a professional mistake, there’s something to be gained by making a big one and making it at the point in your career I’ve just described.

Again, David, why?

Several months back I sat through a Webinar featuring Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell, and she closed with two words of advice for Internet marketers: Respect and Humility. That is, respect the Internet and use it with humility.

It is when you are cruising along, blissfully confident in your abilities that you are most susceptible to becoming careless. And it is precisely then that the Internet will come around and bite you in the ass, because you needed to be bitten.

These consequential mistakes, while they can be painful and you hope they don’t happen, can bring you down to earth and focus your attention on the need to sweat the details. Such mistakes can and should restore your humility and give you a new-found respect.

Domain Lost

I know. I’ve had a few, one of which I will now share:

Videolicio.us Traffic - April 2009

That was the traffic to my Videolicio.us video blog for April. The reason for the precipitous dive in traffic, from an average of 350 visitors a day to a handful of visitors a day is because my domain name expired.

Yep.

I had it set to auto renew and because of that, I did not pay attention to the notices that emailed me saying the domain was set to expire. They notify you of upcoming expiration dates for all domains, even those that are supposed to auto renew.

I only discovered, painfully, that GoDaddy’s auto renew feature is not fail safe when I investigated why my blog was down. By then, it was too late. Someone had already purchased the domain and GoDaddy said there was nothing they could do.

I started Videolicio.us in May 2006 as a way to stay on top of the growing demand for online video. For nearly three years I’d posted at least once a day so there were more than 1,000 pages seeded in the search engines that brought me incremental steady traffic. That was about the extent of my marketing of the blog but over time, traffic grew.

Add to that the fact that I had recently begun experimenting with and the advertising was beginning to bring in some dough.

So, this was not a career-threatening mistake but it was a big one (to me, anyway) nonetheless. I was careless but the loss of my domain has reminded me that what the Internet giveth, the Internet can taketh away.

I have been humbled and my respect has been renewed.

Domain Found: Videolicious.tv

I’ve decided that I will turn this blogcastrophy into an opportunity to share a project, to discuss with you how to market a blog, and to take you through the steps I take as I try to rebuild my audience for .

That’s the first thing I did: Buy Videolicious.tv and change the blog’s logo to reflect the new domain. The .tv domain is much better and more memorable than Videolicio.us, anyway. So I’ve already improved its marketability by using a more memorable address when people tell their friends about the blog.

Tomorrow I’ll run through the initial steps I took to let the search engines know about the new domain.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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