How Blogs Can Make You Money

How Blogs Can Make You Money So, What is a “Money Making Blog”? OK, that’s when someone stops me and says,”What’s a Blog?” So, Lets start at the beginning! Blog Basics A blog is sometimes called web log or weblog. It is a type if online journal or diary, often including personal comments as well … Continue reading “How Blogs Can Make You Money”

How Blogs Can Make You Money

So, What is a “Money Making Blog”?

OK, that’s when someone stops me and says,”What’s a Blog?”

So, Lets start at the beginning!

Blog Basics

A blog is sometimes called web log or weblog. It is a type if online journal or diary, often including personal comments as well as web links and images. Many people keep a blog as a type of personal creative exercise, but you can easily use this popular online type of writing to market your business. Blogs are very popular right now and they can be a great and inexpensive way to contact more customers.

The great thing about blogs is that people read them for fun. Customers may be becoming more jaded about advertising, but they will gladly read a blog that has some interesting things to say. Many top companies are using blogs to deliver a better and more personal message about their companies – and the strategy seems to be working.

Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is as simple as finding a space online to write – and the time to write. To begin a blog, first develop a theme idea or blog idea. You may want to look at other people’s blogs to do so. In general, you will want to develop a central theme for your blog in the same way that columnists develop a theme for their articles. This helps ensure that your blog is not too “scattered.”

Next, find some place to publish your blog. There are a number of sites – both paying and free – that give bloggers a chance to publish their material. You may also want to simply set up your blog on your web site, especially if you already have an active web site.

Writing Your Blog

Once you have a place to publish your blog, you will have to set aside some time each week to develop new content. When writing your blog:

oWrite simply and clearly. Use small paragraphs and spell check before uploading. Your readers will trust what you have to say if you say it well.

oGo easy on the advertising. The idea of a blog is to give readers something fun and exciting to read and look at. You will have more readers if you comment on the world and are entertaining, rather than just hype your product. Consider writing about your day, the atmosphere your workplace has, and culture, rather than just your company.

oConsider many types of content. Blogs allow you to upload images, create links, and allow users to make comments. Your blog will have many more readers if you make your blog exciting with these pluses.

Promoting Your Blog

Just putting your blog online is not enough. After all, there are many millions of blogs on the web right now, so unless your blog is on a high-traffic site, you may not get readers unless you advertise. You can easily advertise your blog without spending a cent by mentioning your blog in your emails and web pages or newsletters. You can also enter in online competitions – if your blog wins a prize you are more likely to get a constant flow of traffic to your blog. You can also ask ezines and other content providers to review your blog, which will also draw readers.

Blog Marketing Ideas That Sell

Once you develop a blog, you will want to use the best blog marketing strategies you can to sell your company. However, marketing blogs are different from personal blogs and blog marketing or advertising is very different than other forms of marketing.

Make Your Blog a Customer Draw

In order to make your blog a powerful marketing tool, you need to get your customers and clients to see it. That means that you will need to advertise and provide content that gets attention:

oMake your blog visually exciting. Choose an attractive background colour and provide photos or images. Consider sound. Develop your blog as you would a web site, with the same visual appeal. Some bloggers even add video and sound to their blogs. There is no need to spend many hours composing art works, but know that simple text on a white background may simply not draw as many readers as you like.

oMake sure that your customers know that your blog exists. Providing some targeted advertising on the Internet is not hard. Try some link exchange programs with web sites, blogs, and ezines that have similar content to your blog. In many cases, simply providing a link to another web site can convince that web master to provide a link to your blog.

Make Your Blog a Company Pusher – Without Being Pushy

Your blog needs to promote your company. However, if you are too heavy-handed, you will not be terribly exciting and may push customers away. That’s why you should aim for only a small amount of content that actively pushes your company. Do suggest newsworthy items that will lure your readers in. For example, writing “today we launched a new division – now expecting mothers can take advantage of our fashions” is much better than sales copy such as “buy our hot new maternity fashions now.”

Give Your Readers What They Want

Studies suggest that as many as a quarter of Internet users tune into blogs. That means that if you can give your blog readers what they want, you can be reasonably sure of having a decent audience. Among the content that you may want to include in your blog:

oTips and advice. Many successful marketing blogs are much like successful consumer magazines – readers tune in to read content that is useful. A computer company can offer computer tips and advice, for example, while a writing service blog can include daily ways to boost writing skills.

oInterest. If your personal or business life is fascinating, then great. There are many successful marketing blogs that detail the exciting lives of company presidents who are also hobby racecar drivers or skydivers. This sort of material can ensure a steady audience.

oHumanity. One of the things that blog readers are most interested to see is the face behind the company. Many blog readers like a company run by people who have similar concerns. Building humanity into your blog by detailing your company’s efforts to help the community, for example, is a great way to build credibility and customer loyalty.

oStyle. Many readers just love to see a gorgeous, well-written blog. Plenty of marketing blogs simply provide interesting content and nice graphics and do quite well in drawing readers and customers.

Get More Readers for Your Blog, Get More Customers

There are several ways to make your blog one of the “hot” blogs online. Traditionally, those companies that have the largest star-power have had the most popular blogs, since everyone loves to read about celebrity or success. However, a great many smaller companies and individuals are developing large followings on the web. You can, too, with this simple lesson.

Keep it Rich

Keyword-rich, that is. Blogs are a great way to generate keyword-rich content, especially if you update your blogs each day. In fact, for some smaller businesses, blogs make more sense than hard-to-create web pages. Blog software makes creating a blog almost automatic while the spiders on search engines seem to favour high-quality and often updated keyword-rich blogs.

Steps to take:

oKeep keyword content high with plenty of keywords. As you write your blog entries, do try to use not only keywords having to do with your topic, but also synonyms for your keywords. This will help your readers find you more easily on the Internet. For example, if you offer discount fashions, use a variety of keywords, including “discount fashions,” “cheap designer wear,” “discount clothing” and others.

oProvide quality, often-updated content.

oSpecialize. The best way to make use of the search engine optimisation of blogs is to narrow your focus. Rather than developing a hodgepodge of ideas and themes, write with one theme in mind. It will help ensure that people looking for information on your topic will always find you through a search engine.

Join the Community

Make sure that you promote your blog by joining the blogging community. Creating a larger presence for your blog online will result in more blog readers and possibly, more customers:

oAdd the address for your blog to email signatures and include mention in any ezine or email newsletter you have to let readers know about your blog.

oMention your blog on appropriate forums. For example, if your company offers resume writing services, consider writing about your blog in job-hunt forums.

oAllow for readers’ commentary on your blog. Many online blog publishing programs already allow this. If your readers can post their comments and read the comments of other readers, they are more likely to return to your blog regularly, and so keep your company name in mind.

oMake your blog searchable through your interests. Many blog programs allow you to create a user profile, which allows readers to search for you and your blog by interest topic and locations, in many cases. Do not overlook this simple way to draw readers. Simply fill out your profile, taking care to use many “interests” to attract more readers and browsers.

13 Steps to Successful Blogging

13 Steps to Successful Blogging

Blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable tool if used correctly. Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing the attention of an audience and not doing any actual salesmen selling. In this article you will learn the 13 most essential steps to successful blogging.

1) Where to start?

You should begin your blog with a free blog hosting service such as Journal Home or Blogger. Starting with a free blog hosting service allows you to begin blogging instantly without having any advance knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. It allows you to focus on your content and not the internal maintenance of the blog. The best benefit of starting with a free service is, in the case your blog doesn’t become successful you do not lose any money or are you left holding the bill. The great thing about a blog is that they are organized in chronological order, your latest entry is displayed first. When your blog traffic grows greatly and you are ready to upgrade to your own domain then you can simply make your last blog entry the announcement of your “move”. Simply add a last entry stating that your blog has “moved” and type the new blog URL address. Which directs visitors to your new blog site, keeping your following, without a major inconvenience to anyone. Upgrade as you need to…but only when you need to!

2) Niche

A niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. You should first decide on a product, service, or topic which interest you. Choose an area which you can enthusiastically write about on a daily basis. You can use keyword research services like Google Zeitgeist or Yahoo! Buzz Index to find popular searched topics. It does NOT matter if your topic is popular as long as there is a audience for your topic and the topic is precisely focused then your blog should be successful. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience no matter how large or how small the audience is. A blog about your cat can be a niche or a blog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market, if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family…you can even choose to build your audience for a market which an audience does not exist, but first you must build your blog.

3) Update Daily (nothing less)

This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog daily not only keeps your blog more interesting to readers, but it also gives your blog fresh content on a day to day making it more appealing to search engines. Not updating your blog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most, but missing days at a time or weeks is unacceptable and will most likely result in your blog being unsuccessful. To keep your blog traffic and retain your visitors interest it is a must to update your blog daily with multiple entries. You should try to update your blog everyday with at least 3 or more daily entries. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your blog and adding new entries. It may even be wise to schedule a set time which you dedicate to your blog each day. Give yourself work hours and treat your blog as a job, what happens if you don’t come to work for days or weeks…you lose money or worse you get fired! Same applies here…if you don’t update your blog for days or weeks you’ll lose visitors.

4) Traffic

It’s no secret. You must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are numerous ways to build traffic. Paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth. You should always use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your blog URL address to search engines and blog directories. You should submit your RSS/XML URL feed to blog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger. You should confidently share your blog with family, friends, co-workers, associates, and business professionals when it relates. Many blogs can be considered as a collection of articles, for this purpose you should submit your blog entries (those that are valuable and lengthy articles) to content syndicators like GoArticles.com or ArticleCity.com. Once submitted your articles can be picked up and published by others. The trick is to make sure you include your Blog URL address in the “About the Author” passage. What this does is create link popularity and backlinks for your blog, when someone picks up your article from the syndication then publish the article on their website the “About the Author” passage is included with each publication and the link you included is followed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. Imagine if your article is popular enough or controversial enough to produce 10,000 publications across the web. The search engines is bound to find your site in no time with that many publications and credit you a authority on the topic, in return increasing your rank on search engines. The small effort of writing a well written article is rewarding. You should try to write at least 1 full length article every week for syndication and submit your article to at least 10 article syndicators.

5) Track Your Blog

How do you know if your blog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn’t mean your blog isn’t growing. Many visitors do not leave comments but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy but with blogs people are more interested in what “you” have to say! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all, but are active daily visitors.

Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated usually a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com or Active Meter will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the html of your blog template and start tracking your visitors. Its better to use a service which gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking information, referral information, and search engine information. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.

6) Listen to Your Audience

When using the proper page counter you should begin to see how others are finding your blog and if through search engines then which keywords are being used to find your blog. If constantly your blog is being found by 1 or more keywords then focus your blog around those keywords to make it even more powerful. When writing entry titles and entries use the keywords as often as possible while keeping the blog legible and interesting.

7) Multiple blogs

Use multiple blogging accounts to attract more people. This means you should have a blog with JournalHome.com, Blogger.com, LiveJournal.com, Blog-City.com, tBlogs.com, etc. The more blog accounts the better. You can copy/paste from 1 blog to all others. Having different blog accounts is like having a publication in different newspapers. This enables you to attract more visitors and this also increases the chance that 1 of your blogs will be in the search engine results for your focused keywords.

8) Short & Concise

Aside from the lengthy article a week for syndication and publication your blog entries should be short & concise (if you can help it). Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule and you have no choice but to blog lengthy entries, but try to avoid this as much as possible. You do not want your blog entries to become hours of reading. Visitors like to easily find information and skim through your entries. It is good to be detailed and provide useful information, but do not include useless information or run away sentences that veer away from your topic.

9) Digital Art

Try to include non-advertising graphics, pictures, photos, and art in your blog entries. Not too much. Once a week is fine. Graphics can sometimes bring your blog to life. Of course, the content of the blog is the most important aspect and you do not want to overshadow your content with graphics, but displaying graphics can add a bit of spice to the blog. Be choosy about your graphics and make sure they fit your entry topic. You should add content with the graphic, at least a caption. Original graphics, photos, pictures, and art is recommended.

10) Keep it Personal

A blog is most successful when it is kept personal. Try to include personal experiences which relates to the topic of your blog entry. Stay away from the business style of writing. Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives. Do not write any of your entries as sales letters, instead share product reviews and personal endeavors.

11) Interact With Your Visitors

You now have the traffic you deserve. You should begin interacting with your visitors. Create a regular theme such as: “Monday Money Tip” or “Picture of the Week” which entices your readers to look forward to each week.

Give your readers advance notice about a product, service, or topic which you are going to review and then talk about later. If the President was scheduled to give a speech then in your blog you should state that you “will discuss the speech and give your opinion after the speech airs. Comments will be appreciated”.

Try your best to find exclusive information that not many have. Do not disclose any confidential or secret information which is deemed illegal or can potentially get you into trouble, but try to get the scoop before everyone else does. Such as: If your blog was about Paris Hilton (the socialite) and you had a blog entry about “Paris Hilton Getting Married” then it would be interesting to your readers if you had a actual picture of Paris Hilton engagement ring. Give your best effort to dig and search the internet for exclusive information and you will possibly come up with something useful. Your readers will appreciate this and they show their appreciation through word-of-mouth referrals. Imagine how many readers will tell their friends, family, and others about information they only can find at your blog.

12) Make Money

Once your blog has gained some real momentum and your blog traffic is increasing then it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. You should use contextual advertising, like Google AdSense or Chitika. Contextual advertising is usually text links which use the content of your blog to publish targeted ads on your blog. The payout is usually based on a pay-per-click model, meaning for ever click an ad receives you are paid a small percentage of the profits. In addition to contextual advertising it is good to also use graphical advertising such as: BlogAds.com, Amazon.com, MammaMedia, or General Sponsored Advertising.

13) You’re a Professional

You’re a professional now! What are you still doing with that free blog hosting service? It is time to upgrade to a domain hosted solution. You need to get a web host and choose a domain name for your blog then check its availability. Select the blogging software you wish to use, such as: Squarespace.com, WordPress.org, MovableType.org, etc. When you have your new blog domain setup and ready for traffic then it is time for you to announce your move on all your previous blog accounts. Your last entry to the blog should be a “move” announcement. The title should be “Moved” and the blog entry should state something like “Old Blog has been moved to New Blog please follow and bookmark this link for future reference. This way all returning visitors and new readers should not have any problem finding your new blog domain.

At the level of a professional blogger you may want to team up with 1 or more other bloggers. This will create a more interesting and more powerful blog. The old saying “two heads is better than one”, more authors mean more advertising and exposure because each author will have a vested interest in the blog. The idea of a team blog is to make it profitable and rewarding for all authors, while continuing to target the blog topic and keeping the blog interesting for visitors.

Following these blogging techniques should make your blogging experience much more rewarding. There is no guarantee that your blog will become popular or a household name, but the effort should at least put you one step closer. Making money online is not an overnight experience like many may think, but making money online is definitely a foreseeable possibility. As well, growing popularity on the web is not an overnight experience, but through time, dedication, and persistence you will be rewarded with all the royalties of blogging.

Ant Onaf is an expet SEO consultant. Ant Onaf has years of SEO related experience. His ingenuity, dedication, and passion for technology, internet marketing, & writing has made him an monumental icon on the World Wide Web. To learn more visit Ant Onaf blog here

What is a Business Blog

What is a Business Blog

Although Blog was the most requested word of 2004 as per Merriam Webster Dictionary Online, there are quite a few people, for whom the word Blog is still unknown.

Blog is an online journal of events, raves, rants of the people. When blog first came, it was gladly adopted by teenagers and later by adults to write about their daily lives. Then writers and journalists entered the mix, writing about books and investigative reports on their blogs. Blogs gained prominence in 2004 US Presidential Elections. Meanwhile few innovative people invented “Business Blogs”, “Corporate Blogs” and “Company Blogs”. Suddenly Blogs started appearing on the Company web pages. Somewhere along the line, people discovered that search engines like Google and Yahoo were displaying Blogs, in most cases, above other search results. Impact of this discovery was huge! Corporations started writing blogs in the hope, to get more prospective customers to visit their websites.

So what exactly is a Business Blog? It is a blog about a business. It is a carefully planned journal about company products and/or services, tips and tutorials about using company’s products. At times, customer service issues are addressed using a blog. Some companies have put up white papers on blogs, while others are achieving branding of their products on the blog. On rare occasions, blogs are used to launch or test market the product.

Here is a classic example of business blog. The Stonyfield Farm has not one, but four blogs to interact with customers and community about each of their four product streams. Each of these blogs does more than just praising their products. They provide service to the community. Read this blog here: http://www.stonyfield.com/weblog/

Larger corporations are able to allocate technical writers and/or sales and marketing personnel to write blogs for the company. To a certain extent, medium sized companies may be able to allocate resources for blogging. However small businesses maybe at a disadvantage, when it comes to writing and maintaining Blogs. Mostly a small business is one person show, trying to manage every aspect of business. Although, someone who owns the business or is experienced in the business is most suitable person to write the business, but now there is an option available – Business Blog Process Outsourcing.

How does Business Blog Process Outsourcing work?

Process starts with a thorough study of client’s business. If client has a website, blog is embedded in it. If website does not exist, it can be created. Next, a series of posts (articles) are prepared, covering various products or services in consultation with the client. Client approves these posts and they are posted on a pre-selected schedule. Other services include, popularizing the blog by submitting it to various Blog Directories, making blog available via feeds and RSS Readers, optimize the blog for the search engine.

Blog posts generally receive comments which are good and at times not so good. Service includes moderation of all comments. All issues are resolved in a positive manner and in consultation with the client.

Take-away: With 80% people turning to internet to search for products and services, small businesses cannot afford not to be easily findable on search engines. Business blog is an easiest way to improve search engine rankings, provide customer response, tips and tutorials to better use company’s products and services.

Harish Keshwani is a Strategic Blogging Consultant, Software Developer, Blogger and an Entrepreneur. He is focused on consulting and guiding small and medium businesses in setting up their blogs and managing it for them as an outsourced process.

He guides corporations of small and medium size to realize the potential of blogging for their business. With appropriate content, he helps companies to keep their customers satisfied and in close touch. He promotes blogging as a marketing and customer response tool to the companies.

The Corporate Blogging Alphabet

The Corporate Blogging Alphabet

Corporate Blogging Alphabet – What Is It?

I built this alphabet to showcase what I think are the benefits and best practices of corporate blogging. Not all of these entries will apply to every individual blogging scenario, but they all apply to corporate blogging in general. So here you have them, corporate blogging benefits and best practices … from A to Z.

Accountable

Accountability applies to corporate blogging in two primary ways. With single-author blogs (such as CEO blogs), the author can inspire trust among readers by “owning” his or her commentary. But companies also assume a certain level of accountability for all blogs under their umbrella, regardless of disclosures to to the contrary. So blogging accountability must be carefully considered at both the individual and corporate level.

Believable

Used properly, a corporate blog or CEO blog can make a company more believable. And in the low-trust, post-Enron world of corporate skepticism, a little believability goes a long way. Use your blog to tell an honest story in a passionate way.

Candid

A common mistake in corporate blogging is when organizations use the blog as “website, part two,” shoveling press releases and other corporate literature onto the blog. To achieve the believability mentioned above, a corporate blog must take on the candid, heartfelt voice of the author. Sure, it takes courage to do this (and probably a set of corporate blogging guidelines), but your readers will reward you by becoming advocates.

Direct

Corporate blogs are direct. You write your message, click the “Publish” button, and your words are directly viewable across the Internet. This removes intermediaries from the corporate communication chain. There are no journalists or editors to put their own spin on things. The message goes from the author directly to the audience. Never again will your message be diluted or mis-aligned (unless you do that yourself).

Enthusiastic

In my opinion, only enthusiastic bloggers should be allowed to represent the company. Half-hearted commentary stands out like a purple elephant in the corporate blogosphere. This kind of commentary does more harm than good, whether it comes from the CEO, the communications chief, or Joe Employee. Enthusiasm comes across in blog posts — and it’s contagious.

Flexible

One of the great things about blogs is the versatility with which they can be used. A corporate blog, for example, can be used internally or externally. It can be a news channel, a customer-feedback forum, an educational tool, or a combination of these things.

Google-friendly

And Yahoo-friendly, and MSN-friendly, etc. A corporate blog can help you increase your search engine visibility in a number of ways. For one thing, a blog gives you an easy way to expand your website with new content. If you blog daily for a year, you’ve got 365 new pages of topical content (and 365 new items for people to find through search engines). Blogs are also more “social” than websites, so in time a well-written blog will acquire links from other blogs. This kind of link popularity does wonders for your search engine ranking.

Happening

Nine times out of ten, a corporate blog is more “happening” than its website counterpart. Blogs are easier to update than a regular website. And when you update a blog often with quality content, it becomes an active resource that people are more inclined to revisit.

Informative

When you keep your customers well informed on new products, services or “behind the scenes” company happenings, you increase the likelihood of future business from those customers. Corporate blogging is a simple but effective way to keep people informed.

Jargon-free

Generally, corporate blogs are not the place for corporate speak. At least, not a customer-facing corporate blog. Save that language for your annual report. Business blogs evolved from online diaries, single-author sources of information and insight. Much of this plain-speak expectation carries over to corporate blogs, so the potential power of blogging for business purposes lies within the blog’s frankness, not its jargon.

Knowledgeable

Use your corporate blog to show readers how knowledgeable you are on your subject. When your readers see how much information you have to share on a subject, they’ll recommend your blog to others who are interested in the subject. These are the kinds of readers you want. Just remember, some of your readers will know as much about the subject as you do. So check your facts before posting.

Limitless

Corporate blogs can be configured in endless ways to serve endless roles. They can stand alone, be part of a website, or be part of a larger network of blogs. Because the technical aspects of a corporate blog are limitless, so too are the uses for the blog.

Manageable

Blogs reduce the technical side of web publishing to such a degree that anyone can blog, regardless of their web experience. Blogs are so manageable, in fact, that even a large web presence built on blogging technology can be managed by a single individual. In this way, blogs are only an initial burden on the IT department. Once a blog is setup, it can be managed by the author alone.

Non-invasive

Corporate blogs “pull” readers to the message, rather than “push” the message to the reader. People can sign up for a blog in total privacy, simply by pulling the blog’s RSS feed into their feed reader. In this way, corporate blogs are non-invasive for readers. The readers come to the blog — the blog is not thrust upon them, like other forms of corporate communication. As long as blogs adhere to this non-invasive, respectful approach, they will be held in higher esteem than other communication channels like email.

Operational

Corporate blogs are more than simple communications tools. With their versatility and ease of use, a corporate blog can server operational roles. This might include internal collaboration (like an intranet) or outward instruction (like an interactive Q&A forum). Blogs can be an active part of your organization’s daily operations.

Purposeful

The key to a good blogging experience is to have a purpose. Sure, you can plunge right into corporate blogging and figure out your purpose as you go. That’s part of the appeal. But your blog will be more effective (and easier to produce) if you have a blogging plan and purpose. Maybe your blogging purpose is to educate readers on what goes on behind the scenes at your company. Maybe you want to increase your visibility on the Web. Or maybe the CEO wants to share his ideas on the business to foster interaction. Fill in the blanks as needed, just be sure you have a purpose behind your blogging efforts.

Qualitative and Quantitative

When corporate blogging is done well, it has both a quantitative and qualitative affect. Because blogs are easy to publish, they help you increase the quantity of content on your website. This increases your blog’s value to readers, as well as its visibility to search engines. If the content is also useful and informative to your key audience, the blog adds quality. A well-managed corporate blog can enhance your web presence by adding both quantity and quality.

Reusable

Blog content can be reused for a variety of purposes. For example, if you expand on a blog post (or compile several blog posts), you can create articles that you can syndicate online. This will help you grow your web presence and even more. This is one of the strategies I teach through my blogging guide mentioned at the end of this article. Another example of reusing blog content — Seth Godin’s book Small Is the New Big is simply a compilation of his blog posts over the last few years.

Straightforward

Okay, so this is somewhat repetitive of ‘C’ for candid. But it’s worth repeating. The most popular of the corporate and CEO blogs reached their level of popularity by being straightforward. And here, I’m referring to both the design and the content of the corporate blog. Blogs that are “overly designed” don’t really look like blogs at all. They look like corporate websites, which (I believe) takes away some of their candidness and authenticity. The same is true of blog content. Blog postings that are straightforward and candid will generate more trust, interaction and “buzz” among the blog’s readers than thinly-veiled corporate speak.

Thoughtful

The best corporate blogs are thoughtful. I don’t mean thoughtful in the sense of “kind,” although kindness goes a long way on the Web. I mean thoughtful as in “full of thought.” Blogs with a lot of “fluff” don’t fare well in the corporate blogosphere. So be sure you put some thought into your blog’s content.

Usable

Your corporate blog should be easy to navigate and read. In fact, any blog should be easy to use, or any website for that matter. Web readers and researches are skilled at hopping from site to site. They don’t need much of a reason to bail out on you, and they’ll do just that if your blog is hard to navigate. Review a list of the most widely read blogs on the Internet, and you’ll find they have something in common — they all have simple designs with high levels of usability.

Voluntary

You should blog because you want to, not because you think you have to. If you start a corporate blog just because people say you should, it will lack the heartfelt enthusiasm that’s a hallmark of great blogs. (See ‘E’ for enthusiasm above.)

Wise

Your corporate blog is the ideal place to share your wisdom about your industry. This will help you position yourself as an authority in your field, and will also help foster the trust that’s mentioned under the letter ‘T’ above. Show people what you know about your industry, but do it in a conversational way. A “tip of the day” series is a prime example of this. It’s a great way to share your wisdom, and it’s the kind of thing others will link to if it’s full of useful content or advice.

Xstensible

Okay, so I cheated with this letter. But blogs are certainly extensible (and you try to come up with a good adjective starting with ‘X’). Corporate blogs, business blogs, CEO blogs — any blog — can grow as the company grows. You can add additional authors, additional sections, whatever you need. And it doesn’t require and act of the I.T. gods to get it done. By design, blogging programs are meant to be extensible.

Yours

If you ask me, anonymous blogs are not blogs at all … just plain old websites. A corporate blog can have one author or several authors, but it should be somebody’s blog. It should be yours, or his and hers, or all of yours. Somebody needs to own it. Otherwise, nobody will trust what it has to say.

Zippy

The definition of zippy is “lively and full of energy.” These are great traits for a corporate blogs. Some people equate the word “corporate” with “dull.” Show them otherwise. Inject your personality. Show them the passion you have for your industry. That’s the only thing that will keep them coming back.

How to Create a WordPress Blog For Your Internet Business Opportunity

How to Create a WordPress Blog For Your Internet Business Opportunity

A blog is a type of website maintained by means of regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, graphics and or video. A blog is a very simple method for promoting your individual internet business opportunity with practical and valuable content; content that can be applied to any business whether online or offline.

The written content you post on your blog is referred to as a “blog post.” Your blog posts can show up in the search engine results of Google for specific keywords that are in your posts. For example, if you wrote a blog post about “the difference between top tier direct sales and MLM,” your blog could show up in Google’s results when someone searches for “top tier direct sales”. Blog post entries are generally displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Blogs provide commentary on a particular subject or can function as more personal online diary. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments is an important element of many blogs. Most blogs are generally text, although most will also include photographs and videos. Micro blogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.

The following list provides some incredible statistics and the significance of a blog for today’s internet marketer.

Blogosphere Stats
133,000,000 – Number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002
346,000,000 – number of people globally who read blogs (COM Score March 2008)
900,000 – Average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period
There are many different types of blogs, differing not only in the type of content, but also in the way that content is delivered or written. The following are only a few examples:

Personal Blogs
The personal, traditional blog is the most common form of blog. It is an ongoing diary or commentary by an individual. Few personal blogs rise to fame but some personal blogs quickly acquire a widespread following. Microblogging is form of a personal blog which is extremely detailed and seeks to capture a moment in time. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook allow bloggers to share thoughts instantaneously with friends and family and are much faster than e-mailing or writing.

Corporate and Organizational Blogs
A blog can be private or it can be for utilized for business purposes. Blogs used for marketing, branding or public relations purposes are called corporate blogs. Similar blogs for clubs and societies are called club blogs, group blogs, etc.; typically used to inform members and interested parties of club and member activities.

By Interest
Some blogs focus on a specific subject, such as political blogs, travel blogs, house blogs, fashion blogs, education blogs, music blogs, legal blogs, etc. Two common types of genre blogs are art blogs and music blogs.

By Media Type
A blog comprising videos is called a vlog, one comprising links is called a linklog, a site containing a portfolio of sketches is called a sketchblog or one comprising photos is called a photoblog. Blogs with shorter posts and mixed media types are called tumblelogs.

A blog is primarily a website that allows you to quickly and easily add fresh content whenever you wish. Blogs are easy to publish (you only need to know how to type, easy to find (your audience can easily find your content), social (a great way to build a presence in the online community), viral (your blog posts can be virally distributed), and easy to link to and from. Blogs do require frequent and ongoing maintenance as the addition of fresh content – writing, photos, video, etc. – is necessary in order for a blog to remain effective. The content should be relevant, informative, thought provoking, etc…

There are many different blogging platforms. If you are new to blogging WordPress.com is a very simple platform for ease of setup. WordPress provides flexibility, tutorials and support and you can easily migrate your content from one blogging platform to another should you choose to switch platforms in the future. Do be aware WordPress.com can place ads on your website. However, this can be avoided if you choose to use WordPress.org By paying for you hosting, which is very minimal in cost, you gain total control of all your content without unsolicited advertisements. And most importantly you avoid the risk of never being suspended.

Now the following are a few basic action steps to start you blogging experience:

1. Sign up for a WordPress Account
2. Select a theme
3. Select a hosting account (this can be done at a late time)
4. Write Your First Blog Post

Easy Ways to Get Blog Post Ideas:
• Write down 5 things you learned today, and post it on your blog.
• When you learn something new, post it on your blog.
• When you do something fun, post it on your blog.
• When you make a video, post it on your blog.
• When you take new pictures, post them on your blog along with a description of what you did.
• When you have a strong opinion about something, post it on your blog.
• When you submit a new article or press release, post the link with a brief summary on your blog.
• If you have the solution to a common problem in the industry, make a blog post.

5. “Ping” It
When you “ping” your blog you are notifying the search engines that you have new content on your blog.
• Step One: Go to Pingomatic.com
• Step Two: Enter the name and the URL of your blog.
• Step Three: Click all blog services to Ping.
• Step Four: Make sure you ping every time you update your blog with new content.

6. Manage Comments
Comments are good; it means you have active readers. Make a point to respond to your readers who take the time to leave a comment. If someone makes a general comment you can always respond with “Thanks for your comments. They are valued.” If you disagree with a comment one of your readers let them know WHY you disagree. Don’t be defensive or confrontational. Be open to joining the conversation and supporting your opinion in a rational effective manner. Remember, you want to give your readers a reason to regularly return to your blog.

You are now on your way to becoming a professional blogger. Here are several basic tips and tricks.

• Don’t ever plagiarize. If you are quoting content from another source be sure to cite your references and include any appropriate links.
• Always be yourself and be original.
• Share your opinions.
• Avoid clichés.
• Provide Fresh Content
• Provide real content, not just sales’ pitches. Your blog posts should not sound like sales’ pitches. You should be sharing valuable thoughts, ideas, and opinions with your readers. As a general rule in blogging and in marketing in general, you want to provide 80% content for every 20% sales pitches.
• Engage in meaningful dialogue with your readers through comments. Your audience will increase as your readers share your blog with their circle of influence and they’ll be more likely to do this if you take the time to acknowledge their interest in your blog.
• When sharing your opinions, consider framing your thoughts in such a way where you acknowledge that you could be wrong. If you come across as being close-minded to new ideas or other viewpoints you run the risk of turning your readers off. However, if you pose your opinions from a “here’s what I’m thinking right now” perspective, you could encourage some healthy debate in your comments. With that said, some of the most successful blogs are highly controversial and unapologetically opinionated.
• Check out other blogs. Examine other blogger’s styles and discover what you like and what you don’t like.

The following are several more advanced suggestions:

1. Blogging Etiquette
When you include a link to another site in your blog post WordPress will automatically “ping” that site letting them know you just linked to them. If both blogs are on the same platform you should see a reference to your trackback link in their comments section. When someone links to your blog you should always go check out their blog and then leave a thoughtful, intelligent comment on their blog. Include your blog’s URL with your name in the comment and this will not only foster two-way communication between you and the other blogger, but will also encourage their readers to also check out your blog.

2. Submit Your Blogs to Web 2.0 Sites
You can get ranks to specific keyword posts with the keyword by submitting your post to all the Web 2.0 sites with a service called Socialmarker.com. After you input your title, URL, descriptions and your username and password to each site, Socialmarker will submit your post to 20 to 30 Web 2.0 sites for you with one-button simplicity.

3. Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
If you have a post that you want to push up in the search engine results you will want to have your keywords in the title of your post, in the first paragraph and in the closing or concluding paragraph.
A simple trick to include your keyword or keyword phrase in your title is to create a title such as “How to find/do (insert keyword)”.

As you become proficient with blogging you might want to consider advertising on your own blog. To accomplish this you will have to setup a self hosted blog i.e. WordPress.org. This will allow to place your own text or banner ads on your site or to take advantage of an advertising network such as Google AdSense. A self-hosted WordPress.org site will also provide you with much more flexibility with the layout, design and advertising options on your blog.

Being a Part of a Blogging Society

Being a Part of a Blogging Society

the blogosphere, made up of countless blogs from all over the world, is one of the most popular faces of the Internet. It’s not just for teenagers anymore. Several years ago, most blogs were run by kids who just wanted to keep in touch with their friends, or people who just wanted to talk about their daily life.

These days, almost everyone online has a blog.

Chances are, you have one – and if you don’t, you should.

Stay at home moms like to blog about their daily lives and raising children. CEOs of major corporations own blogs about the latest happenings at their company. Many celebrities run blogs, and they blog about their upcoming events, movies, and roles (not to mention scandals).

And marketers have blogs about every niche imaginable!

I’m confident to say I myself am part of the blogging culture.

Blogging is a great way to reach out to the people on the Internet. They can touch millions of lives, and spread your message like no other medium. You can say almost anything you want, and there will be an audience for almost every niche!

You can run a blog just for fun. If you want to talk about parties you attend, restaurants you eat at, places you go shopping, or where you go on vacation, someone will probably want to read about it.

Even if the only audience you have is your close friends and relatives, you’ll have fun and be able to say whatever’s on your mind.

More and more people are turning to blogging as a way to make money. Some people just want to make a few extra dollars for spending money, but others are actually making a full-time income with their blogs.

A few prominent bloggers even boast of making hundreds of thousands of dollars with their blogs (a la Perez Hilton, who parlayed his blogging fun into thousands of dollars in ad money each month, which delivered him his own TV show, podcast, and clothing line)!

There are plenty of ways to make money blogging. Whether you’re a college student who just wants to make a little extra cash for pizza and clothes, or you’re a serious marketer who wants to make a small fortune, it’s totally possible with blogging.

Blogs are big, even if they’re small. Some blogs get millions of hits per month. Blog traffic has been growing steadily for several years as consumers gain confidence from peers rather than trusting hard hitting sales pitches they find on the web.

With more and more people jumping onto the blogosphere bandwagon, it probably won’t slow down within the foreseeable future. If you’re thinking about getting into blogging, it’s a good idea to get started now.

It generally takes a few months to begin building up a following. And you really need regular visitors if you want to make money with your blog. You should work to gain subscribers to your RSS feed, because those people will come back often to read your new posts.

And remember to lend your own unique voice to your posts. One of the most important nuances in regards to why blogging is such a major global phenomenon is the fact that people really enjoy reading unique voices on certain topics.

They crave the differences in personalities. It’s refreshing to read information that has personality and isn’t stale or stuffy, which means it’s been translated by a single editor so that every voice is uniform. This is why columnist pages in local newspapers are so popular.

Your unique voice is the most important part of getting regular visitors to your blog. If you want to see examples of this, visit some of the most popular blogs you can find. You’ll see that one thing these blogs have in common is the fact that the bloggers make engaging, funny, or original posts.

That’s your key to making it big in the blogosphere!

Before You Blog, Build a Blueprint

A lot of bloggers put together a blog without any real plan for how they’re going to promote it or monetize it. Putting a blog together without a plan is like trying to build a house without a blueprint.

It’s possible, yes. But the end result is probably going to be shoddy, and the whole thing could fall apart at any minute.

You should create a solid plan of action before you even buy the domain. You need to develop a strong blueprint before you ever get started. Waiting until after you’ve already set it up and are getting traffic could mean a lot of extra work going in to correct mistakes.

Changing themes and adding plugins after you’re already getting traffic could interrupt your traffic. Sometimes new plugins and themes can temporarily break your blog, which could mean a loss of traffic (and money) until you’re able to fix everything.

The first part of your plan should be choosing a niche, of course. Part of choosing a niche is finding products you can promote. If a niche has no products available, you could create your own.

But if there are no affiliate products available, it could be because there isn’t enough demand there for a product. In this case, you’d have to do some careful market research in order to determine whether or not a niche is truly viable.

What’s your purpose for blogging?
Do you have your own product you want to promote?
Do you want to promote affiliate products?
Do you want to just put AdSense or CPA offers on your site?

You need to ask yourself questions like these so that you’ll know how you intend to monetize the site. If you plan to promote affiliate products, you should test the products yourself before you promote them.

If you don’t, your visitors could end up being very upset if you promoted a product of really poor quality and they bought it because they trusted you. Even worse, what if you end up promoting something that turns out to be a scam?

You don’t necessarily have to purchase every product you wish to promote. If you can prove you have a decent amount of traffic (and sometimes if you just ask), you may be able to get free review copies of some of the products you’d like to promote.

It doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if you don’t have any existing traffic yet, you can write to the owner of a particular affiliate program, tell them what you’re planning to do, and ask if you could get a review copy.

Some people won’t give you a review copy. Plenty of marketers get requests for review copies from those who just want to get a copy of their product for free. So if you run into a skeptic, or someone who’s been burned before, you may get turned down.

In this case, it’s probably best to just go ahead and buy the product if you really want to promote it. If it’s a scam or a really crappy product, just ask for a refund.

You can also consider using a donation button on your blog. If you can’t find any good products to promote, and you don’t have the time, money, or ability to create your own product, you can still put up a donation button. If your blog is very good, you may get donations.

Or, you can always sell ad space on your blog. If you start getting a substantial amount of traffic or you get a very high PageRank in Google, you could charge a lot of money for a link on your blog. You can also get paid for making posts on your blog that review other sites.

Should a Blog Topic Be Broad or Narrow?

There are two schools of thought regarding blog topics. Some people believe your topic should be very focused, because you can bring in a flurry of laser-targeted visitors. Plus, you have less competition in smaller market segments.

Another group of people believe that anything worth doing is worth doing big. They believe that the only way blogging can truly be worth it is if you’re bringing in massive traffic, and the only way you can achieve that level of traffic is by being very broad – casting a wide net, so to speak.

For example, you might have a sports blog that has broad appeal. You could talk about baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf. This would give you a much more broad appeal, and the potential for larger traffic.

But since there would be so much competition, it might take a lot longer to get more traffic coming in. Plus, the way I see it is, if I’m interested in golf, I really won’t care about the other parts of the blog, so the value of it plummets in my eyes.

But let’s say you choose golf as your broad topic. Even this is broad, although you just segregated it from the other sports in existence. There are many things you could write about golf – vacations, apparel, clubs, courses, techniques, etc.

You could choose an even more targeted niche like women’s golf or senior golf. This is a smaller segment of a small niche. This means you could get traffic faster, because there would be less competition.

Less competition means you have the potential to rise faster in the search engine rankings. Of course, women’s golf would get far less traffic from the number one spot of Google than the combined traffic of all of the other sports niches, but the chances of that traffic converting into a sale will soar.

So basically, it boils down to how you feel about your abilities. If you believe you have the ability to get one large blog to the top of the search engines rather quickly, then you might be able to handle a broad topic blog.

If you don’t believe your abilities are up-to-snuff, then you might want to stick with a smaller niche at first. Remember, you can always start other blogs later. You could either build a network of small niche blogs, or you could start out with one broad blog and then start multiple sub-niche blogs later. You could then link to all of your smaller blogs from your large blog.

You could also start with the smaller blogs, get them to gain some popularity, and then start a large, broad blog later. Once you start the larger blog, you’ll have several smaller blogs already getting traffic and already having PR that can link to the larger blog to get it started.

If you already have a lot of SEO experience and you’re confident in your ability to pull off some great search engine rankings quickly, then starting with a more broad blog might be a better option.

You can still get some of the benefits of having a smaller blog by having categories for each of the smaller niches on your broad topic blog. One last thing to keep in mind is that your traffic will be less targeted if you run a broad blog.

If you have a site about skin care, you may get a lot of traffic that’s just looking for information about the best lotions or skin creams. But if you start a blog about something specific, like acne, you’re more likely to get people who are ready and willing to buy something.

Where Will You Host Your Blog?

A lot of people start out by hosting their blog for free at one of the common blog hosting companies. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s a much better idea to host your blog on your own domain if possible.

Let’s take a look at WordPress. WordPress is a very popular blogging platform. You can host your blog on their servers, or you can download the software and host your blog on your own domain.

There are a few reasons why you should host your own blog, rather than hosting your blog directly on WordPress.com. For one thing, WordPress doesn’t allow you to promote affiliate links on their domain.

So if you want to make any money with your blog, you can’t host it on their server, you’ll have to host it yourself. Another reason why you shouldn’t host your blog on WordPress is the fact that you can’t use the variety of plugins and themes that you could use on your own domain.

WordPress is very limited as far as the functionality, so don’t expect to have anything really cool on your blog if you host it there. You can find free WordPress tutorials to help you get started with your blog.

Now let’s look at Blogger. They do allow commercial blogs, so you can post affiliate links there if you want. But they’re also against what they deem as “spam blogs” or “splogs.” If they decide your blog is spam, or they decide it’s “too” commercial, or they just don’t like it, they can delete it for any reason.

There goes all that hard work you put into it!

You have to agree to those terms and conditions when you sign up. That means that even if you don’t actually break any rules, they could still delete your blog if they chose. That’s a pretty powerful motivator.

It certainly wouldn’t be a very pleasant thing to build a blog up to several thousand hits per day, only to have it deleted (and trust me, I’ve heard these horror stories). You’d lose all of that traffic, all of those backlinks, all of your reputation and your search engine rankings.

Imagine it all being wiped out overnight. That’s not a good thing.

It’s like having a fire rip through your brick and mortar store and you don’t have any insurance to rebuild.

Another very important reason to host your blog on your own domain is that it gives you credibility. If you host your blog on your own domain, you’ll appear more professional, and more like an authority figure in your niche.

People will automatically assume you’re more serious if you’re hosting your blog on your own domain, rather than putting it up somewhere for free. If you do decide to host your own domain, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose a domain that contains a few keywords related to your niche.

If your blog is about house cleaning tips, then try to get housecleaningtips.com. If that’s not available, go down your keyword list and find the next best thing. Then register the domain.

Next you need to find a host for your blog. You might want to choose a host that has Fantastico, which is a program that sits on the server and allows you to very easily install WordPress (and other scripts) without having to create and manage MySQL databases yourself.

Once you have hosting, you just need to go to your domain registrar and set up the name servers to point to your new host. Your hosting company’s support should be able to help you with this.

Blogging Is Big Business

More and more companies are starting blogs, and many people are even forming their entire companies around blogging. Customers really love blogs because they’re generally full of great (free) information, they offer a personal touch that generally isn’t found on a standard corporate website, and they’re not usually full of a lot of hype and hard sell tactics.

Another reason customers love blogs is that they offer a great medium for interaction. Visitors can leave comments and receive responses to their comments. This helps build loyalty to your blog and your company, and readers really enjoy this level of interaction with someone they consider an authority figure.

It helps them feel like they’re really being listened to, and like the company really cares about what they have to say – even if that “company” is an entrepreneur like you! Blogs are a fantastic way to build loyalty.

You can reach your audience in a very personal way, must more so than with a standard, stuffy stagnant website. Readers expect to see some personality coming out in a blog. If you really let your personality shine through, you can build a following that will subscribe to your RSS feed and come back often, eagerly waiting to hear more of what you have to say.

This is a great way to brand yourself and your business. Since you can get more personal with a blog, people start to get to know you a bit as a person. This makes you seem more real, and people begin to trust you and your messages more.

For some reason, people trust websites with identifiable people behind them.

Remember, when you’re blogging for business you should stay somewhat professional. It’s probably best not to post about your aunt’s cataract surgery or your grandma’s cat that died. You can get a bit personal – after all, that’s what really makes you stand out.

But most people who are reading your blog are there to find out information about the niche, seeking solutions to their needs. Keep your posts on topic, but get personal by providing your own voice within those entries.

Provide valuable information within your blog posts. People aren’t going to keep coming back to your blog over and over just to read about the new products you’re releasing, unless you’re releasing some really revolutionary stuff.

They’re going to want to read industry news, tips and tricks, special strategies, and other important information for free. While it’s perfectly fine to blog about new product releases, it’s also important to keep providing helpful information to keep your readers coming back.

Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that your readers are real people. You know what you enjoy reading in a blog, right? You want solid information – something useful. You probably don’t mind the occasional sales pitch on a blog full of great information, but you’d be pretty annoyed to reading nothing but pitch after pitch.

If you’re running a business blog, it’s important to keep your readers in mind. Give them the kind of quality information they’re hungry for, and they’ll keep coming back for more. In fact, the more you give them for free, the more loyal they’ll become, and the more likely they’ll be to buy from you in the future.

Blogging is all about informing and educating. If you can do that, your visitors will form a bond with you and they’ll be sure to spread the word about your blog so that your URL goes viral and it attracts an even bigger following within your niche.

Blogging can be very lucrative, not to mention it enhances your overall branding and networking on the ‘net. Here are the steps you need to take to get started RIGHT NOW:

1.) Pick a niche topic (my advice is to go narrow).
2.) Find a domain and buy it.
3.) Set up your WordPress blog using your Fantastico host.
4.) Pick a theme online – Google free WordPress themes and you’ll find millions you can upload.
5.) Set up your blog for categories, ad space, and stick an opt-in box in it to begin building a list.
6.) Start posting to your blog using keyword relevant titles and entries.
7.) Start bookmarking your blog and sharing that link to get it moving in the viral direction.
8.) Test the conversion of various products you promote on your blog and switch out those that aren’t working well for you.

Importance of Blogging and 10 Ways of Increasing Targeted Traffic

Importance of Blogging and 10 Ways of Increasing Targeted Traffic

Have you ever asked yourself how a single person keeps on updating his blog with fresh content regularly without running out of ideas? There are some bloggers that will leave you to wonder how they manage to write content regularly. No one can dispute their prolific writing skills.

For instance, Seth Godin updates his blog regularly with fresh content. When I was first introduced to blogging, I thought I won’t be able to write. But with time, I now know that blogging isn’t difficult. For the past three years, I have learned a lot about blogging. I have written articles for various blogs and websites. However, I’m yet to learn more about writing so that I become a better prolific writer.

Becoming a blogger is all about learning how to blog. Blogging isn’t difficult as some people may tend to think. Below are four most important blogs that will teach you how to blog and how you can become a better blogger.

1.) Blogtyrant.com

2.) Copyblogger.com

3.) Problogger.net/blog

4.) Bloggingtips.com

If you’re starting a freelancing writing business, then Freelancefolder.com blog will greatly help you with advice on how to go about your freelancing writing business.

Any person who is computer literate can now create a blog. You don’t have to worry about the technical aspects since there are blogging software such as WordPress and Empower Network that have simplified blogging.

Importance of Blogging

1.) Blogging is Interesting: There is something that you really love doing (your passion). Go ahead and create a blog and start blogging about your passion. Blogging will make you to learn more about your passion. You’ll be surprised by the attention you’ll be receiving from people.

2.) Proper Usage of Free Time: Blogging isn’t a waste of time. If it was a waste of time we could not be having so many blogs currently. Instead of you being idle during most of your free time, you should create a blog and start blogging. This will make you not to question yourself on what you should do to keep yourself busy whenever you have free time.

3.) Inspiring Others: Blogging has made it possible for people to encourage one another despite the fact that they have never met each other. People share problems and support one another. For instance, here is a quote I came across that made me realize how blogging has made it possible for a person to get support from people, “I was having problems with depression and anxiety disorder, and it felt like not blogging about it was creating a false history. When I did finally share the problems I was having, I was shocked -not only by the support that was given to me, but also by the incredible amount of people who admitted they struggled with the same thing.”- Jenny Lawson

In fact, I encourage more youths to start blogging in order to inspire other youths who are facing various challenges such as starting a business, running a business, advancing career, unemployment, how to overcome substance abuse etc.

4.) Making Money Online: Start blogging to earn some money online if you haven’t found your dream job. There are many opportunities online that you can use your blog to make money. You can start blogging for money by being hired as a blogger. You can use your blog to do affiliate marketing or you can use your blog to sell products to people online.

The opportunities to make money online from a blog are just many. It is upon you to make a decision on how you’re going to make money online blogging.

5.) Gaining Exposure and Attracting Prospective Employers: Blogging exposes you as an expert in your field. You’ll be recognized as an expert when you share informative information on your blog and also on other blogs that allow guest blogging. Some people will seek your advice while there are those who will refer people to read your articles.

Blogging will also expose your talent, creativity, passion and your dedication. “Blogging is a great way to show your talents and interests to prospective employers, while adding an edge to your resume. If you blog consistently it shows your dedication, passions and creativity-all of which are key attributes employers look for in job candidates.”- Lauren Conrad

6.) Blogging Improves Your Writing Skills: When you keep on blogging, with time you become a better writer. You’ll learn how to express yourself better. Blogging improves your writing skills and also your skills to communicate with people.

7.) Marketing and Building Relationships with Customers: Blogging is important in marketing. A blog is a marketing tool and marketers should use blogs to inform people about the products they’re selling. Marketers should blog informative information about the products they’re marketing so that people know how such products are going to be useful to them in solving various problems. Blogging builds better relationships between customers and businesses.

Major Challenge in Blogging

The major challenge that many blog owners (bloggers) are facing is inadequate targeted traffic. Without targeted traffic, a blog will never flourish. When you realize that your blog isn’t attracting enough targeted traffic, you shouldn’t give up.

It is normal for anyone to feel discouraged due to disappointments but giving up isn’t a solution. Giving up is creating another problem of having not found a solution that works effectively. The best you can do instead of giving up is to find out how you’ll drive targeted traffic to your blog.

So, why is your blog not receiving targeted traffic? Some of the reasons are as follows:

1.) Your blog is yet to be known since it is still new. It requires exposure.

2.) There is no enough content on your blog to attract people and for the search engines to rank your blog.

3.) The content you have published on your blog isn’t of high-quality. Publishing mediocre content on your blog could be the reason why it lacks targeted traffic.

4.) The niche of your blog could be the reason for insufficient targeted traffic. If your blog is targeting a niche that is too competitive or the one that people are not interested in, then your blog will not attract any significant amount of targeted traffic.

5.) You haven’t started selling a product that solves a particular problem or you could be selling a product that isn’t useful.

6.) You haven’t optimized your blog in the search engines. You have not used the search engine optimization techniques to optimize your blog.

7.) You haven’t done list building and this has led you not to keep in touch with people who visit your blog. They visit your blog never to visit it again since they forget it.

8.) You have not captured people’s attention. Your blog doesn’t have content that is interesting for people to read. You haven’t used headlines that will capture the attention of people. You haven’t also posted videos or pictures that capture people’s attention. You’re not giving giveaways. People love getting things for free!

9.) Your blog contains many spelling and grammar mistakes. People will not want to go on reading a blog that has posts containing many spelling and grammar mistakes.

10.) Another reason for lack of targeted traffic is ignoring the readers and writing for the search engines. Focusing mainly to optimize your blog in the search engines instead of focusing on your readers will eventually make your readers to stop visiting your blog.

Ten Ways of Increasing Traffic

Driving targeted traffic to your blog is a process that should be continuous. Here are ten ways that you can use to drive targeted traffic to your blog.

1.) Update Your Blog Regularly: You should start updating your blog regularly with fresh content that is unique and informative if you haven’t been doing that.

2.) Quality Content and Not Quantity Content: Although you should update your blog with fresh content, it doesn’t mean that you should update it with any content for the sake of updating it regularly. High-quality content is important in retaining your existing targeted traffic. Posting high-quality content will make people to visit your blog since they know that they’re going to benefit a lot.

3.) Gain Exposure for Your Blog: Use internet marketing techniques that will ensure your blog gains exposure. Some of the internet marketing techniques that you can use include social networking sites, search engine optimization ways, viral marketing, pay per click Ads, Google AdWords etc.

4.) Keep in Touch with Your Audience: You have to do list building. Let the people who are visiting your blog to give you their email addresses willingly. You’ll later on contact them so that you remind them to visit your blog.

5.) Attract People’s Attention: Capture people’s attention so that they can keep on visiting your blog. Use headlines that will capture people’s attention to read your blog posts. You should also post videos, infographics and include pictures on your blog posts so that they attract people’s attention.

6.) Avoid Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Proofread your articles. Let someone else read your articles before you publish them on your blog. This is to ensure that your articles don’t contain spelling and grammar mistakes.

7.) Engage Your Audience: You need to engage your audience. Ask them questions and let them comment on your blog posts. Reply their comments. This way, your audience will know that you appreciate them and value their opinions. Your audience will trust you and they’ll keep on visiting your blog and also refer people to visit your blog.

8.) Allow Guest Blogging: You should invite experts to publish content on your blog. When you allow experts in your field of specialization to do guest blogging, your blog will gain good reputation. People will trust it and this makes your blog to be authoritative.

9.) Quality Products: Selling high-quality products will make people to visit your blog. A word of mouth will spread much faster about your blog if you’re selling high-quality product that is solving a particular problem that other products haven’t been able to resolve.

10.) Buy Traffic: Buying traffic will at least make people to know your blog. There are many websites that specialize in selling traffic.

When we started our first blog seven years ago with my business partner, we made mistakes. We learned from our mistakes and eventually we figured out a blogging income formula that has kept our sales rolling in each month. Now that we discovered a formula to make money online blogging, we are so passionate to teach others to succeed including you. Today, we are giving you our simple formula for making money online, just click the link and tell us where to send you our blogging income formula.

Is a Blog Right For Your Business

Is a Blog Right For Your Business

Lemmings are cute, but dumb. If you tell them to jump off a cliff, they will. Just like the people who start blogs because everyone is doing it. Guess what happens after a little while? The blogs die.

In managing a list of many Web sites, most of which are blogs, I deleted countless sites from the list because the sites and blogs no longer existed. The people ran out of steam or had no reason to start them in the first place.

How do you know when a blog is right for your business? Learn why people start blogs, how they find their niche and how blogging tools can be used for more than blogs.

Some people like to read blogs, others like to read newsletters, still others like to rely on feeds and some read a few or all of them. No matter the method the information is distributed, each medium has one thing in common: content. Having a blog connects your newsletter and your business with all of these readers and delivers important content in a particular style.

I’ve been blogging since June 2000. If you review my early blog entries in meryl’s notes, you’ll notice they’re more personal. When blogs first hit the scene in the late ’90s, they were personal diaries and journals. Like the blog business, my blog has transformed from personal to business speak, although I still add personal notes here and there.

A few bloggers tend to talk about their work, their products and their little world. That might work for celebrities where fans want to know everything about them, but it doesn’t work for the average business person. Other business people want information on how to succeed and when a blog spends time hawking products offering information of no value, few people will return. The people whose products sell well are the ones who provide valuable information. Readers already know what kind of information they’re getting, so they trust that when they buy something, it will be of the same or better quality. This value must be reflected in their blog. It’s much like people who only sign up for a newsletter after first seeing an example.

No one wants to be a lemming (I would hope). How do you decide whether or not to set up a blog? The answer isn’t black or white (what did you expect?). Ask these questions:

Can you regularly update it — at least five times a week?
Do you have something to say other than just linking to others?
Do you read other blogs or feeds?
Can you provide information of value to others not just to yourself?
How large is your newsletter subscriber list?
How many unique visitors do you get on an average day, week or month?

The big decider is whether or not you can write in the blog almost daily. The people behind the high traffic blogs post multiple times a day. Though resourceful, merely linking to other sites doesn’t give visitors much reason to make the effort to come to yours. Reading other blogs or feeds is a great way to learn how to carry a discussion. Find other blogs covering topics similar to yours and check them out. Disagree with their opinions? Write about it and explain your reasons. Cross-blog discussions are common, and that’s where trackback comes in handy.

Trackback is a blog feature. If you decide to comment on another blog posting in your blog instead of in that blog’s comments page, then you link to the conversation through the trackback link. Trackback is similar to the permalink, the permanent URL for the blog entry, but it has a different URL for copying and pasting in your blog’s trackback box.

Aside from the technical aspects of operating a blog on a daily basis, subscriber list size and Web site traffic are good indicators of what kind of reaction you’ll get when opening a blog. Starting from scratch with little traffic means you have a long road ahead and lots of work to do. There is no magic formula anyone can sell you for $97 to make your blog an overnight success. But with some perseverance and ingenuity, your blog can engage many prospects and clients.

Considering there are numerous blogs out there, pick a niche topic when starting a blog for a better shot at attracting and keeping an audience. meryl’s notes focuses on three areas: webby, geeky and wordy. In reality, this is too much. What I need to do for my readers is create three separate blog entry points, so those interested in writing, newsletters and Internet marketing get nothing but the wordy entries. Those interested in Web design get the webby stuff and the technophiles receive the geeky content.

I also manage a personal blog separate from meryl’s notes. It’s about cochlear implants and deafness. This could fall under the geeky category, but it’s a personal blog and doesn’t belong in meryl’s notes. This blog is written for a different audience.

The blogging tools for both of my blogs come with syndication capabilities so those using feed readers or aggregators can read the content through the software. When sending a new issue of a newsletter, comment on it or link to it in the blog, that way the blog and feed readers will get the goods, so all three bases are covered.

Blogging tools aren’t just for, well, blogging. Such tools are an excellent way to help you update your Web site more often than you otherwise would. I use it to manage the list of tableless Web sites. Using blogging tools is much easier than the way I managed it before, updating the HTML files by hand. Though using a blog tool, it isn’t a blog. In this case, the blog tool has become a content management system (CMS).

Small business owners don’t have a need for the fancy and pricey CMSes out there. They find it easier to use blogging software to manage their sites or hire someone to adapt the tool for their site.

Blogs have found a place in businesses and people are finding creative ways to use them. Some companies have a blog on the intranet for communicating project status, jeopardies and metrics. They’re used for knowledge management. With information pouring in, blog tools provide a way to share, organize and process the information.

Being a follower can be good or bad. No one wants to walk off a cliff with the lemmings, but everyone wants to succeed. Best practices won’t help, since the decision to blog is based on the organization’s mission, needs and goals along with its target market’s desires and needs. A blog about lemmings? There is one, sort of. Or maybe you’d like to start your own and talk about dumb business moves.

Search Engine Optimization For Blogs

Search Engine Optimization For Blogs

Blogging software is really a simple Content Management System (CMS) that easily adds new pages and integrates them into your site’s navigational structure and linkage.

Blogs and blog posts are naturally search engine friendly because they are text-rich, link-rich, frequently-updated webpages that use stylesheets or CSS, and have very little extraneous HTML.

Optimizing a blog is very similar to optimizing a website, and optimizing a blog post similar to optimizing a web page. But depending on the blogging service or software you use, the results may look somewhat different.

If you follow some simple rules for search engine optimization, your blog can rank much higher than static website pages in the search engine results pages.

Here are the most important rules to follow to get your posts listed for keywords of your choice.

1. Use your primary keyword in your blog domain

Whether you purchase a separate domain (recommended) for your blog, or host it on a blogging service or a subdomain of your own site, try to ensure that your URL contains the primary keyword you want to optimize for.

For example, if you want your blog to get found for the keyword “RSS” get a domain with the keyword “RSS”, or use the keyword in a subdomain. Getting a domain name with your own name might make for good branding, especially if yours is a personal blog.

But if you’re doing it for business and want the targeted traffic to flow your way, keywords in the domain or subdomain are a move in the right direction.

2. Use your primary key phrase in your blog header tags and the title of your posts

If your primary key phrase is “business blogging” make sure that the word business, or blogging, or both, appear in your blog headers (the H1 or H2 tags) as well as the title of each of your posts.

Most blogging software will take the keywords in your post title and put them into the file name of the permalink posts it creates.

For example, if you have a blog on Blogger and title your post “Search Engine Optimization For Blogs”, Blogger will automatically create a page with your post and name the file “search-engine-optimization-for-blogs.html” or something similar.

With other server-side software like WordPress and Movable Type, you may require the mod_rewrite command to save the title of your entries as a permalink.

3. Use your secondary keywords in the body of your post

If you want to get listed for secondary keywords use them infrequently in the body of your post and pepper your blog titles or links with them appropriately. Don’t overdo this or your posts will end up sounding unnatural and spammy to readers.

4. Use your keywords in the anchor text of links

Keyword in links have more importance than simple text. Use your primary and secondary keywords in the anchor text of links when linking to other blog posts or to other pages on your main site.

Link keywords where they naturally appear in the body text, but again, don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with spammy looking pages.

5. Make sure search engines can spider your blog easily

Set up your blog so that the side navigation bar is present on all pages. Make sure your archives and previous posts are accessible from all pages of your blog so they get spidered easily.

6. Get backlinks from other blogs or websites

Links pointing to your blog or posts are essential to build pagerank and make your blog rank higher in the search engine listings. I recommend that you focus your linking efforts on the methods here.

Submitting to Blog Search Engines and Directories:

Submitting your blog and RSS feed to blog search engines and directories is essential for getting high-quality links back to your blog.

Link Exchanges:

Many similarly-themed blogs are often willing to exchange links with other blogs and form richly interlinked networks or communities. Link exchanges with other blogs are easy to implement with most blogging software.

Trackbacks:

You can also get links back to your blog using trackbacks. One of the disadvantages of using Blogger is that it does not automatically create trackback URLs that others can use to link back to your posts.

But if trackbacks are an important component of your linking strategy, I would advise using another software or system that adds this feature automatically.

Comments:

You can also get back links to your blog by posting legitimate comments in response to posts on other blogs.

7. Update frequently

There’s no better food for search engine spiders than fresh content.

Post and update your blog frequently using all the rules outlined above and there’s no reason why your blog will not get you top rankings in a short period of time.

8. Stay put

Once you create your blog, try to stick to the same domain and blog host or system for as long as you continue to publish.

You could end up losing a lot of your traffic, your readers and all your search engine listings if you decide to move.

For more ways of building traffic to your blog, read the article “How To Build Traffic To Your Blog”.