Saturday, June 17, 2006

5 Ways to Improve Your Blog
by Christopher Conlan


Blog, Blog, Blog. It’s like getting the theme song from The Bridge on the River Kwai stuck inside your head. A blog can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare. If used in “moderation” a blog can be a benefit to your bottom line, but beware, blog are addictive. It’s easy to get caught up in your blog and lose focus on your core business goals, so here are 5 simple ways to make your blogging life easier and more successful.

So put down the proverbial blog crack pipe, and remember the blog is there to serve you, not the other way around! Blogs (or Web Logs) aren’t new, but they have become a fast mover in the world of web design and search engine optimization. A blog is a website first and foremost, with a small twist. It usually has a neat user interface that anyone can publish their latest news, product updates, whimsical thoughts, technical specifications, customer service/FAQ information and more. You can use a blog for just about anything you can think of. The more creative you are the better.

There are plenty of low-cost or free ways to get started blogging. WordPress, Blogger, Easy2Blog, B2Evolution and more are all free. I’m a WordPress guy myself because I dig plug-ins, but if you don’t know anything about programming I would suggest Blogger (Google) or Easy2Blog (easy as the name suggests).

The 5 Ways to Improve Blog Performance are more for those of you who have are using publishing software such as WordPress. So here we go (remember, a blog is a website).

Content
There are plenty of ways to get content for your blog. It’s best to keep it relative to your topic. Ezinearticles and GoArticles are great places for free, syndicated articles for your blog. Just be cool about it and remember to cut and paste the text or code exactly as it is and give attribution to the writer (the author link).

Simply syndicating everyone else’s articles isn’t enough, you need to add your own viewpoints. Try and write one a day, even if it’s not 500 words or more. Be careful. It’s easy to become obsessed with adding content to your blog. Spend more time on adding content on the front end (when you’re building the original blog structure) and then simply commit yourself to 10 minutes a day writing at least one post for your blog. It’s easy for a BLOG to become a BLOB that your reader’s will soon turn away from.

Categories
Set up and manage several different categories related to your “topic”. You can publish the same article into different categories. Example: if your blog is about Search Engine Optimization you may have 5 different categories (plus the main category). Your categories could be – On Page SEO, Off Page SEO, Link Building, Directory Submission, and Site Design. Not every article or post will be relative to each category, but some will overlap. Don’t go crazy and put every post in every category every time. You’ll lose readers and value.

Blog Search Engine Optimization
There are a series of tools/plug-ins that will help with search engine optimization for your blog. DagonDesign has a great plug-in for WordPress and it’s free and easy to install. Having clean URLs for your posts is extremely important. When you post an article about “Choosing Colors for Your Website” you don’t want your post URL to be www.blahblahblog.com/?=ID1234 . In WordPress, for example, you want to at least choose the built in selection “Date and Name based” (click “Options” then “Permalinks” in the Dashboard view”). If you feel comfortable and are a bit crafty you can create a custom permalink structure.

Submit your Blog to Blog Directories
In addition to the traditional directory submissions you would make with any website. Most of these directories require a link back to their directory. There are two ways to handle these links (1) create a new page called “links” or resources” and post the links there (make sure you use the HTML editor/button on the post page otherwise the link will show up as code and won’t count), or (2) put the link on your main page in the sidebar.

Keep in mind that the blog directories are for the most part human edited so it may take some time for them to confirm your link and blog content so be patient. Also, it’s a good idea if you’re setting up a separate links page to write down the URL of that page, the directories will ask you for the location of the backlink to their directory when you fill out the form. Most of the general SEO principles for a regular website apply to blogs. Don’t forget to put a link to your main website and to your blogs main page in the footer of your blog (and tag it properly for maximum effect).

Blog Design
Almost every blog is designed using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS is a great tool for website design and especially blogging. It allows you to create new pages on the fly without redesigning each page. For WordPress (and Blogger, etc.) there are a ton of pre-designed, free templates, themes, skins, layouts (all the same thing) out there you can download, customize or use “as is”. Be a decent blogger and make sure you leave the backlink in the footer for the designer. If you don’t know anything about customizing blogs you can follow the link back to the original designer or the person who “ported” it to the blog format, they may be able to help you with customizing the blog for a couple hundred dollars. Matt at http://www.dagondesign.com/ can help you out here.

Calls to Action
Just like your website, your blog should have specific calls to action so that reader’s can interact with you. Whether it’s a simple “contact us” form mailer or a more elaborate ecommerce function, once you “got ‘em” there, they need something to do. Again, Dagon Design has a cool form mailer plug-in that’s easy to add to your site. You may have to create a separate HTML page and link to it from your blog (put it in your header so it’s on each page) if you want to add a shopping cart. These are just the first 5, stick around for more, or visit our blog at http://blog-template-layout.com and check out what’s new.

Remember, your blog is just an extension of you and your business, so give it some personality, define some goals and make some rules for your blog.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dear Diary, Dear World – All About Blogging
By Khieng Chho

The Internet has changed the way we live, breathe, and even write – in fact, it is mainly due to the blogging phenomenon that we receive headlines, change them, and even get the latest buzz on issues newspapers and popular media will not dare tackle. Blogging has become so common, it has prompted dictionary makers to create new terms. For instance, each article on a blog is called a “post,” “entry,” or “blog post.” A person who blogs is called a “blogger.”

But what is blogging, and why is it so popular?

Blogging refers to the activity of updating one’s blog. What is a blog? A blog is a web log, or an Internet-based publication which contains articles about a variety of topics. Blogs are either run on dedicated hosting services, or they can be run on any ordinary web hosting service using scripts meant for blogs.

Blogs often focus on a particular subject. They can tackle movie reviews, political issues, important local news, or one’s personal opinion. Most blogs serve as online diaries, and will contain personal images, artwork, and writing.

Blog posts will contain the following elements.

• A title – Some personal bloggers have modified this, and have added subtitles to add “meat” to their entries. They may indicate the music they are currently listening to, their current mood, and the subject of their post. Journalistic bloggers will often link their title to similar articles available online.

• The body – This is the main content of the blog. It can be a fictional entry, in the case of story or novel blogs; or a non-fiction entry, in the case of other blogs, such as news blogs or diaries.

• A permalink – this is the link to the individual blog entry, which other bloggers can use if they would like to link or refer to the article.

• The date – this is simply the date, time, and sometimes place in which the entry was first posted.

Some blogs may also contain the following.

• A comments section – this enables readers to make comments or react to the blog entry. This is also a useful way by which other bloggers can make themselves, and their blogs, known.

• The tags – this is the section where bloggers list the categories under which their current article falls. For instance, a post on “Saving the Whales” can be categorized under “environment,” “whales,” and “ecology.”

• Trackback – Also known as pingback, this is a list of links of other sites that refer to the article or post.

There are many different kinds of blogs available, depending on the topic they tackle. A few types include the following

• Personal – These blogs focus on personal experiences, and feature an online diary, usually with images or artwork. Some photoblogs fall under this category, where bloggers post pictures instead of writing about their experiences.

• Paid – Some bloggers are paid to blog their career experiences, or the latest news about a company.

• Socio-cultural – Some blogs are devoted to socio-cultural experiences, and can allow people of other cultures a glimpse into the quirks and specialties that make other cultures unique.

• Science – Some scientists have taken to blogging about their research findings, or to share laboratory techniques. Such a method, however, has been met with derision in the science community, since it overrides the traditional peer-based review of research.

• Political or News – Some blogs focus on the latest news, and can even offer political opinions on certain subjects.

Blogging is definitely here to stay, and it can influence cultures and headlines through the widely popular medium of the Internet. Have you tried blogging yet?

Khieng 'Ken' Chho - Online Blogging Resources. http://blogging.1w3b.net/

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Five Reasons You Should Be Blogging for Business Right Now
By Suzanne Lieurance

Although web-logs (called blogs) started out as personal online diaries, today’s blogger can be anyone from a stay at-home-mom to a corporate mogul. And even the stay-at-home mom is likely to be blogging for business, not simply sharing her personal life with the online world.

If you're a small business owner, here are five reasons you should be blogging for business right now:

1. Creating an online presence is easy with a blog. Today, everyone expects anyone with a serious business to be visible online. But that doesn't mean a small business owner has to shell out big bucks on an expensive website right from the start. Instead, start with a blog. A blog can be set up easily and quickly at little or no cost - so no matter how small your company might be, you can be online blogging for business in (literally) a few minutes. You can also update your blog much easier and quicker than you can a regular website. You don’t have to wait for a webmaster to make changes for you.

2. A blog lets you develop relationships with your customers or clients. If you blog regularly, your readers get to know more about you and your services. They can also leave comments for you on the blog, so you can interact with them through this site. Research shows that people are more likely to do business with someone they know. Post to your blog daily (or at least several times a week) and readers will get to know you, trust you, and feel confident to buy your products and or services.

3. A blog gives you additional opportunities to network with other small businesses. You can provide reciprocal links at your blog. That just means you put a link to another company's website or blog on your blog and that company puts a link to your blog on theirs. You benefit from these links because your blog attracts additional readers from these other sites.

4. You can use your blog to help build your mailing list. A good way to do this is to offer something free in return for joining your mailing list. Free ebooks related to the products or services offered by your business are perfect "give aways" to use for this purpose. Put a sign-up box on your blog where readers can join your mailing list and automatically receive your free products via email.

5. By regularly posting to your blog, you become an "expert" in your line of work. People always turn to experts when they need help. Establish yourself as an expert in your field and people will turn to you when they need the particular type of products or services that you have to offer.

These are just five reasons you should be blogging for business right now. Once you start blogging yourself you'll notice additional benefits too, so don't wait. Start blogging!

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer and the creator of the Lieurance Group, a co-op for freelance writers and graphics designers. If you just don't have time to create a business blog, visit the Lieurance Group's blog at http://www.lieurancegroup.blogspot.com or email them at lieurancegroup@hotmail.com and learn how they can start blogging for business for you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogging For Business - What Should I Blog About?
By Donovan Baldwin


While a blog can be almost anything from a personal diary to an expostulation of the most arcane data or research results, keeping the blog going is one of the most important aspects of blogging. This is particularly true if your goal is to use your blog as part of your internet business marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, many would-be internet entrepreneurs get lured into programs by the prospect of lots of money made easily. The truth is that MOST of these people, even highly-motivated, intelligent people who have been successful in other spheres will fail. The money does not come quick, and when it does come, it usually starts as a trickle. Frankly, the motivation of anticipated ease and wealth does not stand up for long under the harsh light of reality. Just as people drop out of network marketing, internet marketing, and other home businesses due to expectations not being met and no reward, people let their "internet business opportunity" blogs fade away due to lack of interest.

PASSION

Many successful network marketers, internet marketers, and marketing courses will tell you to find a niche. They will advise you to make that niche something about which you are passionately interested. In reference to blogs, I agree and go one step farther. Center your blog around something you would choose to write about, talk about, read about, discuss, or attend lectures on almost every day if you had the leisure. That way, no matter how your "internet business" does or does not respond, you will be motivated to return to your blog regularly, reading comments, responding to them, and providing new content.

NEW CONTENT

This is key to a blog's success. Even your best friends might not wish to visit you regularly if they knew they were going to be served coffee cakes left over from their last visit. New, fresh content provided regularly entices previous visitors to return and establishes your blog as a center of information or discussion. If the content is accurate and informative, this establishes you as knowledgeable and worth heeding. If your comments are friendly, genuine, and responsive to the comments of others who have posted, you will be seen as a friend whose advice can be at least listened to, if not taken whole.

DO IT FOR YOURSELF

Of course your blog should be written in such a way as to please the visitors who drop by, just as your home should be a warm welcoming place for visitors who drop by there. You are the one who lives there, however, and when the visitors go home you should enjoy hanging around, rearranging the furniture, hanging a new picture, or just pouring a glass of wine and sitting down in your favorite chair. Making the blog FOR YOU will encourage you to return often yourself.

FINALE

Begin with a subject which delights and intrigues you, add a regular dip back into the refreshing stream of your interest and wonder, share this with others. If you want money from this, link to your money-making site or sites and have fun every day. When you go to bed, the blog will still be there chatting with your visitors, telling them what a great person you are and inviting them to return for another visit.

Donovan Baldwin is a graduate of the University of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting. He is retired from the Army after 21 years of service. He has worked as an accountant, purchasing agent, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, instructor and long-haul, over-the-road truck driver. He has been a member of Mensa for several years, and has written and published poetry, essays, and articles on various subjects for the last 40 years. He has blogs on the subjects of weight loss and health, hybrid cars and alternative fuels, and internet business and marketing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blogs Are Your Internet Marketing Secret Weapon
Mark Nenadic


These days, blogs are among the most important secret weapons that internet marketers can employ. They are a terrific way to have opinions stated in an un-moderated and public place, where ideas and insights can be shared among everyone who wishes to read them.

For internet marketing, blogging builds credibility for the website through the many opinions and ideas that are shared there. The company, and its bloggers, become recognized by their readers as a resource for useful information. Therefore, people will not only visit once, but will return again and again to find out what else is new.

Blogging itself is an extremely inexpensive, quick, and simple way to reach out to thousands of website visitors. It draws people who are in your direct target market, making relationship building a much more natural process once that visitor takes their use of your website one step further and makes a purchase of whatever product or service you are selling – and have been covering in your blog.

Blogs make you an expert in your field. That’s right, with the right researching and writing skills (or with a skilled writer and researcher in your employ) then you can become an expert in your field as far as your website blog is concerned. To be an expert, all you need to do is keep up with the latest in your industry within your blog posts, and maintain it regularly.

To make sure that you’re headed in the right direction with your blog, check up on other website blogs in your industry to see what they have posted. Naturally, this doesn’t mean that you should be posting the same things as your competition. In fact, that is among the worst things that you can do. Certainly, you’re allowed to share an opinion now and then, but your blog will need to stand out if it is to be taken seriously. If you are simply reiterating what others are already saying, then you will be seen as old news, and will be overlooked in favor of the original thinkers.

To start your own blog on your website, you need to have the right tools in place. Blogger and Blogware are only examples of the many different options that are available to you.

When you post on your blog, make sure that you’re doing it because you have something to say, and not because it’s time to post. Your blog posts need to be interesting if you are to keep a steady readership. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing then the odds are that your visitors won’t be interested in what they’re reading.

To keep up the interest, don’t take yourself too seriously. Of course you are allowed to write about serious and important topics in your industry and about your products, but you can also include some trivia and humorous commentaries that directly or indirectly relate to your blog topic and will amuse your readers. This is perfectly acceptable in blog posting and is, in fact, encouraged. It allows the readers to feel that they have made a real “contact” with you, and that you take a real joy in what you do.

Blogs aren’t just good for creating regular visitors to your website, but they are also quite beneficial for bringing in new visitors as well. You’ll find that when you are writing about any given topic in your industry, you are using the words and terms that apply to your topic. As these words become more frequently used throughout your website, for example, within your recent and archived blog posts, search engine spiders will pick up on their use and may increase your ranking for those keywords.

To sum up, here is what you need to benefit from your blog:

• The right blogging tools

• The motivation and commitment to contribute regularly

• Something relevant to say!

• Some skill in writing – if you don’t, hire someone who does

• Some knowledge in your industry – if you don’t, hire someone who can research this information

• Some perspective, not just vague ramblings

If you have these, you’re all set to start taking advantage of what blogging can contribute to your internet marketing strategy.

Copyright 2006 Mark Nenadic
Mark is the director and face behind FifteenDegrees-North http://www.15dn.com, where you will find articles and resources to help with SEO, marketing and Web design.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Make Money With Your Own Blog

Joan Masterson


Well, basically, setting up a blog means that you are creating a little space of your own on the Internet where you can make posts about anything that interests you. Of course, if you are going to be blogging on a variety of topics, the best way to make money with it would be to have different blogs for different topics otherwise your blog will be just one big jumbled mess that nobody would want to read about.

So what topics should you blog on? Well, I would suggest blogging about your own interests or favourite hobbies. There are always people out there who could learn from your specific experience.

Let's say for instance your favourite passion is your love for dogs. You could blog about anything pertaining to dogs. Do you know how to potty train a dog in a week? Lots of people would love to know how to get their dogs not to do their potty work inside the house :) Or do you have a recipe for a dog biscuit that your dog absolutely adores? There are lots of people who absolutely adore their dogs - I am one! And they do a lot of searches on the topics of dogs, cats, puppies, kittens etc. So why not make some money out of sharing your own knowledge to help those people? Share your tips with them and they will just love you for it!

So, how would you make money out of having a blog even if you don't have a product to sell? One word: Adsense. Adsense is a program offered by Google that pays webmasters and blog owners to display Google ads called Adwords on their sites, and if you have a blog that gets many visitors, they will click on the ads which means that you will earn money from it. To learn more about how to apply for and start using Adsense on your own site, visit : Google Ads

Some tips before you apply for the Adsense program:

1. You have to have an existing blog or an existing site.

2. Your website has to have at least 10-15 pages of relevant content. If you have a blog that you want to apply adsense to, you have to have at least 5 or more posts on your blog.

3. Your blog or site must have a clean, easy to use interface. No under construction pages or broken links, or too many animated gifs, or pop ups.

4. You don't have to have a professionally designed website or blog. The simpler your site is the better for the search engines to spider, and the better it will be for your visitors to navigate.

How to get a blog? You can either have blog that you can host at your own website, like Wordpress Wordpress is an easy to set up php script that is free for download.

Alternatively, you could use any of the free blog services like: Blogger to set up a blog that will be hosted on their server.

So to recap: Select a topic that you would like to blog about, set up a blog, make a couple of posts a day on your blog, wait about 5 days, then apply for the Google Adsense program.

Once you have been approved for Adsense, you should submit your blog or website to the major search engines. If you don't know the major search engines, do a search for "free website submission". You will find that there are a lot of sites that will allow you to use their services for free to submit your site or blog to various search engines.

Their are various blog directories that you should also list your blog with. Once again, do a search for blog directories, and submit your site to all the the ones that you can find.

Tell others about your blog, your family and friends etc. Ask them to tell others about your blog. That way you will start getting instant traffic. Just a word of caution: do NOT ask family and friends to click on your adsense ads, and under no circumstances should you click on any of the ads yourself - that is a sure fire way of getting banned by Google and you will have lost a valuable income source!

Now that you know how to start your own blog, you have no excuse not to make money online! Happy blogging!

Joan Masterson is the owner of http://www.womenatwork.co.za - and http://www.set-4-success.com - sites that offer free work at home resources and information.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

How To Boost Traffic To Your Blog:How to write a better blog?
Ryen Kim

Sources of traffic and how to write blog that boost traffic?

Where does the traffic come from? Where my readers come from?

It's essential to know the sources of traffic. Then, you know where your effort should go to boost traffic to your blog.

The sources of traffic:




Your blog itself

Major search engines and Directory: Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL,...

External links



First thing first. Whatever techniques or tips you hear about how to bring traffic to your blog, don't get lost the foremost important thing: your blog itself!


Your blog itself should be something people like to read and like to link.


People are not waiting for you. They even don't know you. But they'll start noticing you if your posts cater their interest and they'll spread your blog to their friends. The quality of your blog is superior to any other techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO). But it seems some blogger apt to forget this yet the majorities are providing good blog. This is common sense, right? Nothing new, huh?

OK, here are four tips how to make your blog attractive:




Write something controversial,topical, and pithy. And make your blog title attractive but don't forget to include keyword in your title. The word "keyword" will appear several times in rest of post, meaning it's just important! You may want to read, Traffic to Blog:Keyword Research, to know why keywords are important and how to find keywords that brings traffic to your blog, if you haven't read. It also guides you how to find topical keywords.

Write as frequently as possible.

If you just started new blog, write everyday. If your blog already have decent traffic, just keep on writing as frequently as you can. Both readers and search engines look for new information. You provide new information and they will come.



Write fresh content.

Don't just copy from others. This not only troubles you in legal matter but also makes your readers leave you. If you find less traffic comes to your blog though you write every day, check whether you're posting fresh content.

Fresh content doesn't mean that it should deal with brand new item. It does mean that new point of view, additional point of view, or even imitation of topic but filled with recreated content.

Provide internal link within your blog.

If you have related post to other post, link each other within your blog content. This helps your reader find more information out of your blog, stay with you longer and even come back to you again.
Furthermore, it is one of SEO techniques. By doing inter link you can have more back links, though they are less valuable than external inbound links. More technically it can be used to improve the page rank of certain blog. For example, suppose you have 5 related post, 4 have page rank 4 and the other page rank 0. If you want to increase that page rank of 0, you link all the other 4 posts to that post. It'll surely improve the page rank of the lowest one. But be aware that when you link back the higher page rank post may not keep the original page rank. So do it under your plan and do it moderately. Don't abuse this technique because search engines may consider you as a search engine spammer.

The bottom line is that moderate is always good.



In the second bullet, I wrote "You provide new information and they will come." Oops, it's WRONG! They don't come. They don't know whether you provided new information at all. You have to let them know you wrote new information. This is related to the topic that how to optimize your post search engine friendly. If you want know more about this topic, you may want to read Search engine optimization for bloggers.

About the Author

Ryen Kim is an MBA, specialized in marketing research and analysis. His current focus is blogging and home based affiliate business as a work-at-home scheme. He is a founder of Blog Sites and running Hom Based Affiliate Business web site.
How To Boost Traffic To Your Blog:How to write a better blog?
Ryen Kim

Sources of traffic and how to write blog that boost traffic?

Where does the traffic come from? Where my readers come from?

It's essential to know the sources of traffic. Then, you know where your effort should go to boost traffic to your blog.

The sources of traffic:


Your blog itself

Major search engines and Directory: Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL,...

External links



First thing first. Whatever techniques or tips you hear about how to bring traffic to your blog, don't get lost the foremost important thing: your blog itself!


Your blog itself should be something people like to read and like to link.


People are not waiting for you. They even don't know you. But they'll start noticing you if your posts cater their interest and they'll spread your blog to their friends. The quality of your blog is superior to any other techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO). But it seems some blogger apt to forget this yet the majorities are providing good blog. This is common sense, right? Nothing new, huh?

OK, here are four tips how to make your blog attractive:




Write something controversial,topical, and pithy. And make your blog title attractive but don't forget to include keyword in your title. The word "keyword" will appear several times in rest of post, meaning it's just important! You may want to read, Traffic to Blog:Keyword Research, to know why keywords are important and how to find keywords that brings traffic to your blog, if you haven't read. It also guides you how to find topical keywords.

Write as frequently as possible.

If you just started new blog, write everyday. If your blog already have decent traffic, just keep on writing as frequently as you can. Both readers and search engines look for new information. You provide new information and they will come.


Write fresh content.

Don't just copy from others. This not only troubles you in legal matter but also makes your readers leave you. If you find less traffic comes to your blog though you write every day, check whether you're posting fresh content.

Fresh content doesn't mean that it should deal with brand new item. It does mean that new point of view, additional point of view, or even imitation of topic but filled with recreated content.

Provide internal link within your blog.

If you have related post to other post, link each other within your blog content. This helps your reader find more information out of your blog, stay with you longer and even come back to you again.
Furthermore, it is one of SEO techniques. By doing inter link you can have more back links, though they are less valuable than external inbound links. More technically it can be used to improve the page rank of certain blog. For example, suppose you have 5 related post, 4 have page rank 4 and the other page rank 0. If you want to increase that page rank of 0, you link all the other 4 posts to that post. It'll surely improve the page rank of the lowest one. But be aware that when you link back the higher page rank post may not keep the original page rank. So do it under your plan and do it moderately. Don't abuse this technique because search engines may consider you as a search engine spammer.

The bottom line is that moderate is always good.



In the second bullet, I wrote "You provide new information and they will come." Oops, it's WRONG! They don't come. They don't know whether you provided new information at all. You have to let them know you wrote new information. This is related to the topic that how to optimize your post search engine friendly. If you want know more about this topic, you may want to read Search engine optimization for bloggers.

About the Author
Ryen Kim is an MBA, specialized in marketing research and analysis. His current focus is blogging and home based affiliate business as a work-at-home scheme. He is a founder of Blog Sites and running Hom Based Affiliate Business web site.