Saturday, June 24, 2006

10 Tips to Better Business Blogging
Hendry Lee

Blogging opens up a new way of communication, but having a blog is just the beginning of a journey to the exciting blogosphere. Owning a business blog is entirely different than a personal blog. If you are just starting out, expect to make mistakes, but don’t give up!

It helps to think about the growth of a blog as exponential. Well, not all of them end up like that. But especially if your company is not a popular brand, your blog will grow somewhat slowly in the first few months or even a year. The good news is, if you stick at it for long enough, it will snowball and bring great impact to your marketing.

First time bloggers need to understand this: business blogs which are here for the long haul require a lot of work and time. Consistency and frequency are two most important keys to building a great blog and attracting an audience. A blogger who underestimates this will more than likely be throwing all their efforts down the drain.

Here are 10 tips to use and promote your blog:

1) Write like you talk. Don’t talk at your readers, but in a personal tone like you talk to a friend. A good trick to do this is by defining a clear target market and then takes it down further to an individual. Every time you blog, write to the person as if you are talking to him/her.

2) Choose the right person to blog. A blogger should know your company or the topics you want to blog about inside out. No one knows your business and market like you, but if for some reason you can’t do it, delegate to one - or a group of bloggers - who know your business. The right person may not even be somebody in marketing, but possibly could be in customer support or a technical person.

3) Post regularly. Frequency matters, after some time as you establish an audience, readers expect you to post content often. That’s the reason they come back to your blog or subscribe to your RSS feed. Consistency creates stickiness.

4) Bloggers are generous linkers. Do link to other posts, news resources, authority sites and give credit where credit is due. Doing this appropriately can help you in building relationships with other bloggers in your industry. Bloggers appreciate the links and will often link back.

5) Encourage feedback and conversation. Commenting is one of the most unique features of a blog. If you keep people for writing comments on your blog, they will do that on their own blog. Use trackback when necessary to continue the conversation.

6) Know your keywords. Having the right keywords can help your ranking and is one of the important on-page factors for search engine optimization. A keyword or key phrase is basically what people enter into search engines like Google and Yahoo! to find you. Common places search engine robot look for keywords are in the title, various heading tags, body copy, text formats, and link texts.

7) Add supporting pictures. Visual content improves a blog, but should enhance what you write in the post. Using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) blog editor, you can do this without having to know any HTML code, and are very easy once you begin.

8) Promote your blog consistently. Renew your signature file to point to your blog, tell your newsletter readers about it, promote it in your presentations, talk about it on the next networking event, and so on.

9) Encourage RSS/Atom feed subscription. There are always people who like your blog on the first visit, but forget about it tomorrow. If you hook them with your blog’s RSS/Atom feed, your content will be syndicated automatically the next time you update your blog and chances are better they will remember you.

10) Socialize. Blogging is essentially a social tool. While you can involve in discussion across multiple blogs, networking propels your efforts to the next level. Bloggers tend to link to other blogs they know.

No one can build a successful blog overnight, unless he/she is a very influential or a famous person. Don’t blog just because your colleague says that it is going to be the trend.

Blogging requires a lot of resources, but if done properly, can be a great marketing medium from which you can reap later. A blog extends your marketing reach to the next level, but remember, it should be used in addition to other marketing strategies.

Hendry Lee helps business owners integrate technologies into their marketing. He actively blogs about Small Business Blogging. Subscribe to Blog Tips for Business to receive short and practical tips to start and get the most out of your blog.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

4 Tips for Using Blogs to Increase Your Freelance and Small Business Income
By Yuwanda Black

Blogging has been around since 1995 and the creative freelance community, perhaps more than any other sector, has used it to create business opportunities for themselves like no other group.

Although no one knows how many blogs exist, according to the search engine Technorati, the leading authority on blogs, there were some 22 million blogs as of this past spring.

I have seen this phenomenon really take off in the last two years. In addition to a resume or a professional profile, freelancers who contact me looking for work will often list their blog as an additional source of information.

Following are four tips for using blogs to increase your chance of securing freelance assignments and/or increasing your business’s bottom line.

1. Cohesive: Unlike personal blogs, a professional blog should contain a cohesive body of work. For example, if you are a financial writer, you might want to include entries commenting on what's happening in your sector.

Posts can be critiques, comments and feedback on popular news topics. This serves two purposes: a) shows that you stay on top of current events in your industry, and b) that you can write intelligibly about it.

Own a retail store: Use your blog to feature fashion trends, what body type they look best on, post photos of celebrities in the latest looks.

2. Update regularly: Many bloggers update daily; some weekly; others less regular. Black advises that professional blogs should be updated on some type of consistent schedule, no less than bi-monthly.

Anything less than this can be too infrequent. Like a store window, you have to update it to keep potential customers coming back.

3. Personality: I advise bloggers to let some of their personality shine through in their posts -- in a professional way, of course. This is perhaps the most important use of a professional blog space. Why?

Because your personality is unique to you. You will not appeal to everybody, but those you do appeal to can easily be turned into life-long, loyal customers once they are bonded to you. How do you get potential customers to bond?

As an example, say you offer commentary on a recent hot topic in your sector; let some of your dry wit, quirky observations and personal experiences shine through. This begins the bonding process. People do business with those they know, like and trust.

A blog space is a perfect place to build all three of these sentiments. Once bonded, it is so much easier to make the sale because a “relationship” has already been established.

And finally,

4. The basics apply: no profanity, nudity, racist or otherwise obscene content. This is never acceptable.

It's amazing what you can tell about a person by having several months of their work in front of you. Certain personality quirks shine through, which can lead to an employer choosing Candidate A over Candidate B.

Is this an effective, or even a professionally accepted, form of canvassing for freelancers and small business owners? I think so.

Freelancers and small business owners are often at the forefront of technology. Freelancers are because they must update their skills more often than in-house employees to stay competitive. Small business owners often are because they usually do everything from the bookkeeping to the marketing, and need to work more efficiently. Technology helps them to accomplish this.

I think that as long as a blog is a professional representation of a person or their business, I see them as an additional selling tool -- a really powerful one.

As more and more of the work sector begins to telecommute and/or freelance, which cuts down on face-to-face time with employers and clients, blogging is another way to give potential employers more than "just a resume."

May be reprinted with inclusion of the following: ©2000-2050, Yuwanda Black. Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. http://www.inkwelleditorial.com/ offers first-hand freelance success stories, resume tips, editorial e-courses, advice on the business of freelancing, job listings and much more!blog good techniques

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogging: How Personal Should I Make My Business Blog
By Christopher Conlan

As a "blogmeister" I'm often asked "How personal should I make my blog?"

This is a great question. The answer for everyone is different.

There is no set answer to this question. It’s important to remember that your blog is a living extension of your business, and ultimately you. So keep in mind the image you want to portray, the goals of your blog and what your audience is looking for.

Howard Stern is a good example. Howard is often challenges his audience to “change the channel, no one is making you listen.” It’s part of his image, his schtick. It’s one reason why people do listen. The part of his audience that hates him tunes in because they love to be angry!

Does that model work for your “toy train” online business? I’m not sure. Let’s use the “toy train” business as a “model” (notice the clever play words).

1. Who is my audience?

Your audience ranges from Neil Young (who owns Lionel) to possibly 10 year olds who build and collect model train sets. Their experience level ranges from the new collector/modeler to the experienced hobbyist. This is important in determining the “feel of the read”…are you writing for a 35 year old who wants hard facts and analysis, or a 12 year old who wants to have fun and learn. The beauty of blogging is you can have both. Think about separating categories for your audience. Have Product Reviews, Product Releases, Kids Corner, How to, Ask the Conductor, Tips and Tricks, etc. as specific categories and post accordingly.

2. How and Why Do They Buy?

Does my audience buy on a whim, or do they buy when they “find the solution”? Are new product releases an important feature my audience is looking for? Do “Product Reviews” increase the possibility that a potential customer will pull out their credit card and purchase?

3. What do I find interesting?

This is probably the best indicator of what to write. If you haven’t already, take some time, visit, read and write down what it is you like about the blogs you frequent in your market target. Chances are if you like it, other people will to. Now take your list of “likes” and combine them and create “a better blogtrap”.

4. Why would I read this blog, subscribe, come back or make a buying decision here?

In addition to a blog being a vehicle for you to get your information out there and attract and keep an audience, your blog can become an interactive, user supported community. Think about the features you like on other people’s blog, and maybe even ones that don’t exist. What about having a contest for the best train picture, the coolest design, etc. Let users post their pictures and vote. Offer a prize. Allow members to email and print articles they like. Encourage them to ask and answer questions.

5. Is it fun for me?

Running a successful blog takes time, but you don’t have to become a shut-in. Structure your blog from the beginning to fit your schedule and your passion. Try and post something everyday. Your posts don’t have to be 1,000 words each, they can be about something you learned the day before, big or small. Don’t be afraid to ask your competitors or customers to help you keep the blog going by posting their valuable information. Always give them attribution, or at least a link to their site if they ask. Remember, your blog is a “service” that transcends petty competition. It has no ego, ex-wives, jealous husbands or personal problems. It just wants to be useful and used.

For me, I like to read blogs where the personality of the owner comes out. I read blogs mainly for the strength of the content, technical information or news, but the blogs I return to the most, the ones I subscribe to and pass on to friends and employees are the ones that are fun to read and provide valuable information.

Sometimes the personality of the owner adds a level of trust and intimacy between the reader and the author that raises the articles/posting above the clutter of the Net.

So decide for yourself how personal you want to get.

When deciding what to write for my blog (www.theblogmill.com) I like to pretend I’m Clint Eastwood:


“Did I write 6 posts or only 5. In all the confusion I kinda of lost track myself. But being this is The Blog Mill, the most powerful blog in the world, and will blow your head clean off, I have to ask myself one question ‘Do I feel plucky? Well, do I, punk?’"
So think about what you like, what your audience wants to read and how your personality fits into to your overall blog strategy and start posting.

Kaboodle Ventures Affordable SEO The Blog Mill - Main The Blog Mill

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

America's National Pastime - Blogging (Kvetching)
By Karen Fish

According to the latest Time – CNN poll as reported by Wolf Blitzer in the situation room, Kvetching and Internet Poker have replaced Baseball as America’s favorite pastime. Kvetching has spawned a huge industry in the United States of America now that the manufacturing jobs have been relocated to China. “Kvetch”: “to complain, blame, harangue, scapegoat, get freaked out about, drive crazy, whine about, gossip, spin, twist the truth, lie and tell the truth about but do nothing about it except kvetch.”

Kvetching is the fuel of the internet, a multi billion dollar industry. The internet has turned the Earth into a worldwide Kvetchfest. Every blog is a series of daily kvetches by literally hundreds of millions of people world wide. Blogging is now replacing psychiatry as a way for people to vent their fear, frustration, anger, and sense of worthlessness. Soon blogging will render psychiatry obsolete. Instead of lying on a couch for 45 minutes complaining about what your father said to you when you were 5 years old, as your Doctor sits silently thinking about what to buy his mistress for her birthday, and then saying, “I’m sorry our time’s up for this week I’ll see you next Wednesday”, for $100 per session, people can now sit down at their computer and kvetch for free for as long as they like to the entire world.

Not only this, but the search engines’ super computers index every single word of every single person’s kvetch, so that if you search “Bush” you will come up with 228 million search results. Unfortunately the search engines do not yet display all 228 million results for each word, but they do display a thousand, and getting your kvetch into the top thousand has spawned an entire industry of snake oil salesmen called SEO experts. For a modest fee these people will tell you which words to use in your kvetch, submit your kvetch to millions of search engines, and promise to get your kvetch into the top ten kvetches for your keyword, the big time, where millions of people can read about your problem and feel sorry for you and send you comments, emails, and invite you to join their group of people with similar complaints. The NSA is now recording every telephone conversation that you make, writing down the name and number of the person you called, and recording every word of every blog that you write. It is as though they are recording on super computers every thought that comes into your mind. Even George Orwell could not have imagined this. It is like we are robots gone mad and our brains are mini computers and the government is the main computer trying to reign us all in, to defragment the system before we blow up the earth once and for all.

Kvetching is the fuel of the media, newspaper commentators and television commentators. You can now watch the talking heads in high definition. They have divided up into groups, Democrats and Republicans. Now the Republicans are kvetching about the other Republicans, as well as the Democrats. The Shiites are kvetching about the Sunnis and the Kurds and the Muslims are kvetching about the Hindus. The Americans are kvetching about the Iranians and the Iranians are kvetching about the Jews and the Americans. The psychiatrists only exist now because the search engines are not permitted to hand out medications, although that is changing. Drug companies are buying up our email addresses and spamming our mail boxes with invitations to purchase anti depressants over the internet without the intervention of any doctors. They are not concerned that many of these anti depressants cause even worse depression and cause the bloggers to commit suicide. The doctors are getting their revenge on patients who left them for their keyboards.

There is a deeply spiritual reason why computers are so popular. We know from countless people who have had near death experiences that after death many of us go back into a tunnel of brilliant white light. We experience a sense of complete relief and ecstasy, not a care in the world, all of our troubles left behind. Looking into the white light of our computer screens for hours on end we become one with the white light that is our holy spirit. We feel as though we are back in the womb, back in heaven from where we came, free from all worldly cares, like nuclear world war 3, global warming, Armageddon, pollution, crumbling economies, which worries are shouted at us constantly by the newspapers, televisions, and computer screens, sending us reeling to psychiatrists, drugstores, and SEO experts.

More American soldiers have committed suicide in Iraq than have been killed in combat. Imagine the stress they are under. They are in a country where they are universally hated, protecting people who hate their guts, watching their best friends get killed and their legs and arms blown off every single day, frightened to death that this will be their fate as they round the next turn, all for a country which was tricked into going to war and no longer believes in the war. Instead of sending more troops, the United States needs to send over more SEO experts. Don’t worry. Soon it will all be over. Jesus is coming on a flying white horse to save us all again, and to meet George Bush in Jerusalem, to congratulate him on his successful crusade, reclaiming the Holy Land for Christianity as the Pope did with his Christian Army 1,000 years ago. As Albert Einstein said to his lover of 20 years, “If you didn’t kvetch you’d have nothing to say at all. So keep on kvetching, you kvetch.”

Karen Fish is a writer currently living in Los Angeles California. The Temple of Love http://www.thetempleoflove.com/

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Photoblogging: Explosive Persuasive Power
by Inge Haupt


Perhaps it all started with the advent of music television; perhaps the portability of the digital camera, or ‘cool’ factor of the camera phone, but nowadays we are all about the visuals. We experience our world through a constant stream of sound and colour and have taken it on as an integral part of our daily existences. This could be what has led to the rapid growth of the phenomenon of photoblogging.

In November of 2003 there were discussions about the end of photoblogs; as displaying photos of people without their permission was brought into question. In fact Italy has restricted the use of images of people if permission to display their photo has not been expressly granted. However, this clearly hasn’t had any effect on the growth of this exciting new trend with roughly 17000 registered photoblogs on photoblogs.org. Books have even been written on the subject, such as Create Your Own Photo Blog by well-respected photographer and blogger, Catherine Jamieson

The photoblog community is growing and people who had little or no knowledge of photography are being exposed to different points of view as well as being asked to comment constructively on the work. There is the feeling of a supportive atmosphere – a place in which professionals and amateurs can come together, showcase their work, learn from and appreciate one another. The vast array of sites is also testament to the creativity evoked by the combination of concept and immediate online contact. The mirror project is a site where photographers are encouraged to submit work in which they have used reflective surfaces to capture their images, with some startling and compelling results.

The benefit of setting up your own photoblog seems to far outweigh the usually minimal yearly cost. Photographers have access to an almost instant response to their work. They can judge their success directly from comments and suggestions as opposed to the traditional way of having to find a gallery to display their work, or trying to sell it to shops or vendors.

This means that everyone can be a photographer or even photojournalist nowadays. Take this photograph from Jide Alakija, for example. Jide has been using shutterchance.com, one of the preeminent photoblogging sites, to exhibit a series of photographs taken during demonstrations against organ harvesting in China. His photos have produced quite a following and in this way he has been able to bring the petition to a larger audience.

With instant access to a multitude of viewers around the world, photoblogging is becoming a powerful tool. If the pen is mightier than the sword and an image is worth a thousand words, then the photoblog could be the most influential new instrument of the 21st century.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Essentials of Blog Posting
by Liane Bate

Blogging has probably been the most fun internet marketing activity I’ve undertaken in my online business. I love to write, and reach out to my website visitors with new information, news, reports, opinions, or articles that I’ve created that expose a little of my personality and give my readers something they want to hear. Not only is it fun, but it’s free, profitable, and generates hoards of traffic to your site, provided that you make quality posts with quality content and know how to market your blog. There are good ways and bad ways to blog, so here are a few essential things to keep in mind when making your blog posts:

First you have to write something that people will be interested in reading, and reading regularly. Posting your articles to your blog is the best way to get quality content on your blog, but it’s also good to write about your own personal experiences and opinions. Your articles should be at least 500 words, and your personal comments can be shorter, but still containing quality content. You don’t want to post just one fantastic article packed with content, you want to post many, and try to make a blog post every day, every other day, or even weekly so that your readers know that your blog is fresh and updated regularly. The first few months that your blog is launched are critical months when you want to attract a readership and give them enough that they bookmark your site to come back to it frequently. Giving your blog a domain name that’s easy for them to remember and represents your content with good keywords is also a good idea.

There’s another thing you can do with your original articles to gain exposure to your blog, and that is submitting them to a blog carnival. This means submitting them to a site that features and summarizes maybe 5 quality articles on a specific topic. Other blogs will link back to this carnival host, giving you more quality traffic. Also, when you make a blog post, you can link to other people’s blog articles, which leaves an entry on their post to your post. It may attract other bloggers to you, who may in turn link back to your posts. A good article directory to submit your articles to maybe once a week is Ezine Articles.

Once you have a blog, you want to expose it to the right audience. A good way to do this is by making comments on other people’s blogs whose content is related to your content. If you randomly post comments all over the place on blogs unrelated to what your site is about, then you won’t generate the kind of traffic you want. Stick to your niche, and you will get readers from that niche wanting to click on your blog link at the end of your comments. It’s also a good idea to encourage people to make comments on your blog posts, and to reply to these comments to keep a conversation going. The more comments that are left on your blog, the more other people visiting your blog will realize you have something important and valuable to say, and they will want to read it to find out what all the buzz is about.

I have also joined a blog traffic exchange to get traffic to my blog, but you can also submit your blog to different blog directory sites, such as Blog Top Sites. This site allows you to add a small bit of HTML code to your blog so it can be rated in a particular category and will help get you more traffic and better ratings. If you remember to not only create quality content for your blogs, but also market your blog effectively by commenting, linking, and submitting regularly to the right places, you will be on your way to having a popular and well-visited blog!
Liane Bate owns a Plugin Profit Site web business, is a member of Success University, and the IAHBE. http://www.HonestMoneyMaking.com

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Truth About Cats and Blogs
David Hobson

There are those in the online community who tend to look down their noses at blogs, seeing them as nothing more than vanity sites--a public version of what used to be a personal journal or diary. When they hear the word “blog,” it conjures up images of angst-ridden teens sharing their own poetry, of ill-informed zealots spouting off their personal politics, of techno-geeks babbling amongst each other about new technological developments and of self-absorbed individuals posting photo after photo of their pet house cat, believing that the rest of the world actually cares.

There is some truth to this sentiment. Part of the blog explosion stemmed from the opportunity to make one’s voice instantly and readily available to the rest of the world to hear. Many people who have little of real importance to say, but who have a strong drive to say it do operate their own blogs. There is a lot of noise out there and way too many pictures of cats.

However, those who discount blogs as mere exercise in vanity and self-indulgence are missing out on a powerful moneymaking opportunity. Blogs should be eschewed as a passing fad. Although the tool we call a blog has been misappropriated by some who feel the latest pictures of Fifi sleeping beside the keyboard passes for quality content, a closer examination of blogs shows a great deal of potential for revenue production.

If someone told you it was possible to produce an attractive, easy to use website that allowed you to regularly post instantly categorized and organized content using a highly efficient interface, what would you do? Undoubtedly, you would ask them exactly how this could be accomplished. The answer to your question can be found at the root of Boring Betty’s Daily Diary. The answer is a blog.

Blogs allow users to build content rich sites with very little effort. Most platforms allow one to produce an endless series of presentation options and to organize their material into categories, as well as chronologically. Bulking up the site is easy. You get the content. You click a button and the platform software does the rest.

The ease of use is what spurred your crazy Uncle to update the world about his crackpot “who shot Kennedy” theories. The attractive output is what led the girl down the street to make her love letters to a pop star a matter of public record. The very impetus that has led to so many otherwise useless blogs is exactly what makes them an efficient money maker.

If you have avoided hopping on the blog bandwagon because it all seems like an over-hyped fad, it is time to take another, more objective look at blogging. Look at what blogging can do for you, not what other people are doing with it. Blogs are a remarkably flexible tool and one that you can utilize to build winning sites--whether you take pictures of your cat or not.


Kind regards
David Hobson