Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs! What They Are, and Why They Matter
Trey Pennewell


I remember that it was not that long ago that I did not know what a blog was or what one was for. Now blogs are everywhere and anyone with a computer and Internet access may be writing one. If you are new to this whole blog phenomenon let me explain a little about what a blog is. Blog's got their name from combining two words "Web log" to make one word, "blog".

For most people, blogs started out as something like an online diary for friends and relatives to read. Instead of going to the trouble of sending out individual emails to all of your friends and relatives to let them know how things are going in your life, you could simply write a blog for all of them to view. This way everyone could know all of the interesting developments in your personal life and you could save time and energy by not writing to everyone individually. This was the origin of blogs. Oh how far we have come since then.

Blogs then grew into marketing devices, ways to get revenge, and methods of raising awareness on important issues. Some of the more famous blogs are ones written by current disgruntled employees of large corporations. These large corporations, such as Microsoft, have been scrambling to deal with the bad public relations created by these blogs written by angry employees.

There are many ways that you can set up a blog. Whether you want to use a blog for professional or personal reasons you can find a service to help you out. Many companies have been scrambling to create blogging software for consumers. However, there are also many blogging sites that will let you use their software for free. Of course, the software that you have to pay for comes with many added features that the free blogging software does not include.

Online businesses are beginning to realize the impact that a blog can have on their business and the number of people that they can get visiting their websites. Blogs generate new text on a regular basis, depending on how often you update it, which helps in search engine rankings. The major search engines such as Google and Yahoo give higher rankings to websites that have regularly updated content. Blogs make this happen in a very simple manner. The only trick to all of this is to make sure that your blog is directly accessible from your homepage. This is a rather simple process of changing some of the HTML coding.

By using a blog to add new content on a regular basis saves you the trouble of redesigning your entire website every time you want to add content. It would not be realistic to go in to your website a few times a week and change the content because it is so much work. However, a blog will accomplish this for you in a matter of minutes. Some website owners have taken the blogs even further and incorporated keyword densities into their blogs. This further aids the websites search engine rankings and helps to drive more potential customers to the website. As you can see, having a blog on your website can offer a great deal of benefits.

In addition to the fact that you can increase your search engine rankings with a blog, many people may come back to visit your site on a regular basis just to see what new information you have to offer them by way of your blog. For example, if your blog offers weekly updates on what is new in your product or service line, a potential customer may be interested but does not make a purchase today. Then this potential customer returns in a week to read your blog and continues to do so until he or she reads something in your blog that convinces he or she to go ahead and make the purchase.

Blogs are very versatile marketing tools. You can update your blog with industry news, news about your particular company, new product offerings, or new services that you are providing. Any of these methods, or a combination of them, can be extremely effective in closing a sale on a potential customer who is sitting on the fence.

No matter how you choose to employ blogs to improve your website, always be sure that you have connected your blog to your website in an easy to read and easy to find format. Link your blog to your homepage so that visitors do not have to search for it. If you can customize your blog template to look just like the rest of your website, then your visitors can move between your blog and your website with the feeling that they have not left one to enter the other.

Blogs have grown enormously over the past year and all indications are that they will only continue to grow. Blogs are more than a passing Internet fad; they are successful business tools that are already being utilized by many successful webmasters.

About The Author
Trey Pennewell is part of the http://BloggerSupport.com technical crew. If you need help configuring your blog or matching your blog design to your website's design, please review our programs. Trey is also a ghost writer at http://thePhantomWriters.com. On September 5, 2005, TPW had more than 50 Pre-Written ghosted articles available for purchase on a wide variety of topics.

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Tuesday, June 27, 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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Monday, June 26, 2006

Blogging - Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All
Ted Gross


For many years while in high tech as a CTO, I was fascinated by the development and progression of chat systems from their very first appearance in Internet land. Though this was not part of my normal everyday running of any of the companies that I worked with, it became a hobby of mine. I also gave seminars around the world, entitled, "The Technological Advance and Psychological Effects of Chat Systems". These led me to use the term "viral technology". (This has nothing to do with computer viruses - though the way it works is somewhat the same.) The seminars then advanced to "Understanding The Nature of Viral Systems on the Internet".

In the next few posts I am going to try and explain all this, and why it is so important to understand that in such seemingly simple things as getting a blog up, working and making it popular. Viral Technology, is an important factor here. We have until this point have only "scratched the tip of the iceberg" as the cliche goes. And there are so many things to understand and deal with. However, being a writer and author, first and foremost, my mind works on different very illogical connections at times. What I am going to try to get at in the next couple of posts is an understanding of how the circle of content-SE's works, and what is important here. I think by way of examples and using "real life" understanding on the virtual Internet, we can get a better grasp of what is going on and what it is not.

It is critical to understand that we are not only dealing with technology here. We are dealing with psychology and the Internet has a way of digging deep down into individual motivations and actions. Let me first give you an example I found to be incredibly interesting and totally revealing.

On one of the forum boards I sometimes log into, which is populated by a serious and highly intelligent (for the most part) group of people, there are threads for just joking or ranting, as there are on all other Forums. Since many are "virtual" friends these threads are populated by people who banter, give and take, and joke around from time to time to take time off from the vicissitudes of life. Sometimes members ask for serious advice in regard to family and children etc. Now one such member, discovered that her young son had developed an incredible interest (or so she thought) in her "boobs". She wanted to know if this was normal, for a child of that age to discover the difference between sexes. So she began a thread on the topic. And the thread developed. At first serious, but of course, since everyone there are "virtual" friends the joking started. What was interesting to follow, is that both Males and Females started in joking ways of course, to describe either the size of their chests and/or how they liked or disliked the male population looking at them of if they wanted their breasts smaller or larger etc. The males revealed the size of their wives and girl-friends chests and other such what one might call normally "intimate" knowledge. Some even said: "My (wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend) would not be happy if they knew I was writing about this". All of this was done in a semi-serious and joking manner.

What was interesting is that I am 100% sure, some people would type out a response, post it, and then say to themselves, "Did I really say that in PUBLIC???" I am willing to bet, based upon experience and studies, that many of these people would NEVER consider SAYING out loud what they typed - say at a party of friends or a dinner or a social gathering.

The Internet makes us free with our thoughts. It allows us freedom that we don't otherwise have, to reveal our "other-side". The reasons for this are many, not the least of which that we are behind a screen. No on can see our facial expressions (not talking about cams here - a whole different subject) or our body language. Most important - we cannot be physically touched. There is always that barrier. And it would be well to keep that in mind.

To be sure there is the downside of all this. Fakers, charlatans, people acting as someone from the other gender - horror stories galore. However, one thing cannot be denied: (This is not the place to discuss this issue. It is worthy of probably a few hundred articles in and of itself. So I will leave it for now with just the chapter heading.)

The Internet has created a whole new psychological study of the human mind and the way it works. And this is CRITICAL to understanding why some things, some sites, some blogs - make it, while others, seemingly so much better and so much more savvy fall by the wayside. Obviously we want our blog to "make it".

One of the greatest original "pull" and "attractions" of blogs is the ability for many to get out their "private" thoughts to the world at large in a journal or diary manner. They can reveal what they would be too scared or too shy to reveal with words and lips and mouth in a public setting of individuals all sitting around a table. Though, I for one, do not enjoy or visit blogs of this nature, it remains true that most blogger's are doing just that. And what is more important to understand, is that many of the blogger's do not care how many hits they get. It is the catharsis of getting it out. The act of putting it "out there:" that is all important.

Since we are dealing with technology and the desire to build a blog that WILL GET A FOLLOWING and hits, we must understand what motivates and interests people to come to and read what we are posting and saying. We must understand the WHY? as well as the How? This certainly will lead to a much more comprehensive understanding of the motivations of our members and visitors to our blogs.

The next article in this series deals with a definition of "Viral Technologies" and from there we will have a greater understanding as to how to begin to spread the word of our blogs with methods that apply the technological and psychological. Remember though this is not mathematical science. It is just one of the ways to understanding what is going on. It is not foolproof nor does it always work. But it will possibly give us a deeper understanding of the "virtual world" we sometimes live in, and probably more importantly, a better understanding of ourselves.

This article is already published here at ezinearticles.com and you can read it by going to: Viral Systems & Technologies - What Are They?

Copyright © 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.

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Blogging - Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All
Ted Gross


For many years while in high tech as a CTO, I was fascinated by the development and progression of chat systems from their very first appearance in Internet land. Though this was not part of my normal everyday running of any of the companies that I worked with, it became a hobby of mine. I also gave seminars around the world, entitled, "The Technological Advance and Psychological Effects of Chat Systems". These led me to use the term "viral technology". (This has nothing to do with computer viruses - though the way it works is somewhat the same.) The seminars then advanced to "Understanding The Nature of Viral Systems on the Internet".

In the next few posts I am going to try and explain all this, and why it is so important to understand that in such seemingly simple things as getting a blog up, working and making it popular. Viral Technology, is an important factor here. We have until this point have only "scratched the tip of the iceberg" as the cliche goes. And there are so many things to understand and deal with. However, being a writer and author, first and foremost, my mind works on different very illogical connections at times. What I am going to try to get at in the next couple of posts is an understanding of how the circle of content-SE's works, and what is important here. I think by way of examples and using "real life" understanding on the virtual Internet, we can get a better grasp of what is going on and what it is not.

It is critical to understand that we are not only dealing with technology here. We are dealing with psychology and the Internet has a way of digging deep down into individual motivations and actions. Let me first give you an example I found to be incredibly interesting and totally revealing.

On one of the forum boards I sometimes log into, which is populated by a serious and highly intelligent (for the most part) group of people, there are threads for just joking or ranting, as there are on all other Forums. Since many are "virtual" friends these threads are populated by people who banter, give and take, and joke around from time to time to take time off from the vicissitudes of life. Sometimes members ask for serious advice in regard to family and children etc. Now one such member, discovered that her young son had developed an incredible interest (or so she thought) in her "boobs". She wanted to know if this was normal, for a child of that age to discover the difference between sexes. So she began a thread on the topic. And the thread developed. At first serious, but of course, since everyone there are "virtual" friends the joking started. What was interesting to follow, is that both Males and Females started in joking ways of course, to describe either the size of their chests and/or how they liked or disliked the male population looking at them of if they wanted their breasts smaller or larger etc. The males revealed the size of their wives and girl-friends chests and other such what one might call normally "intimate" knowledge. Some even said: "My (wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend) would not be happy if they knew I was writing about this". All of this was done in a semi-serious and joking manner.

What was interesting is that I am 100% sure, some people would type out a response, post it, and then say to themselves, "Did I really say that in PUBLIC???" I am willing to bet, based upon experience and studies, that many of these people would NEVER consider SAYING out loud what they typed - say at a party of friends or a dinner or a social gathering.

The Internet makes us free with our thoughts. It allows us freedom that we don't otherwise have, to reveal our "other-side". The reasons for this are many, not the least of which that we are behind a screen. No on can see our facial expressions (not talking about cams here - a whole different subject) or our body language. Most important - we cannot be physically touched. There is always that barrier. And it would be well to keep that in mind.

To be sure there is the downside of all this. Fakers, charlatans, people acting as someone from the other gender - horror stories galore. However, one thing cannot be denied: (This is not the place to discuss this issue. It is worthy of probably a few hundred articles in and of itself. So I will leave it for now with just the chapter heading.)

The Internet has created a whole new psychological study of the human mind and the way it works. And this is CRITICAL to understanding why some things, some sites, some blogs - make it, while others, seemingly so much better and so much more savvy fall by the wayside. Obviously we want our blog to "make it".

One of the greatest original "pull" and "attractions" of blogs is the ability for many to get out their "private" thoughts to the world at large in a journal or diary manner. They can reveal what they would be too scared or too shy to reveal with words and lips and mouth in a public setting of individuals all sitting around a table. Though, I for one, do not enjoy or visit blogs of this nature, it remains true that most blogger's are doing just that. And what is more important to understand, is that many of the blogger's do not care how many hits they get. It is the catharsis of getting it out. The act of putting it "out there:" that is all important.

Since we are dealing with technology and the desire to build a blog that WILL GET A FOLLOWING and hits, we must understand what motivates and interests people to come to and read what we are posting and saying. We must understand the WHY? as well as the How? This certainly will lead to a much more comprehensive understanding of the motivations of our members and visitors to our blogs.

The next article in this series deals with a definition of "Viral Technologies" and from there we will have a greater understanding as to how to begin to spread the word of our blogs with methods that apply the technological and psychological. Remember though this is not mathematical science. It is just one of the ways to understanding what is going on. It is not foolproof nor does it always work. But it will possibly give us a deeper understanding of the "virtual world" we sometimes live in, and probably more importantly, a better understanding of ourselves.

This article is already published here at ezinearticles.com and you can read it by going to: Viral Systems & Technologies - What Are They?

Copyright © 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Basics of Blogging - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!
Ted Gross


Okay so now we know all there is to know about content and keywords. Hah! But you did get the basics. It may be a good point to stop and talk about Keywords, Tags, Categories and all that as well. Logically, in progression this should come much later, but because there seems such misunderstandings about Technorati, Del.icio.us and other tagging systems, it may be a good place to put this down.

These articles began because of a thread at Absolute Write called "What Is Your Technorati Rank?" On perusing that thread I realized that many writers were placing their hopes in something that just was not going to happen. More so, they were actually misreading the importance of certain "rankings" and thus ignoring the more important factors.

If you read the previous articles in this series you now hopefully understand "keyword basics". So we are going to use Technorati for our example.

So along comes techie #1 and says:

"Hey, you know what. Blogs are becoming mainstay business. They are great for people with no knowledge of HTML and you can literally put up a web-site Weblog in minutes. So now they are multiplying over the net faster than rabbits, and the Search Engines are ignoring them for the most part as most of them contain personal musings and ramblings. So why not create a sophisticated search engine for blogs?"

"Great idea," says techie #2, "a search engine from blogs. And that means anyone who has a blog will want to register with us. But how are we going to build it. Obviously, normative search engine technology is not what we want."

"You know what?" says techie #1 "we are going to take keywords, call them by a different name and create a closed system!"

And thus Technorati was born.

What essentially goes on in Technorati, is you define what you write with "tags", Technorati tags. These are keywords, (with a special HTML parameter). Keywords just like you will learn to use in your meta tags. Technorati then in a CLOSED SYSTEM connects all the blogs with the same keywords. Technorati does not look at content to a great extent (to my knowledge), they pay attention to the tags re: keywords that you input. If you do not input keywords they use your keywords in your Blog setup.

Okay this is great for all those people looking for blogs say about hairdressing. So they come to Mr. & Mrs. Hair's blog because the Hair couple input keywords as Technorati tags. Simple.

Technorati now goes one step further. Technorati rates your blog based upon a few parameters. One of those "important" parameters is how many other people in the Technorati Network (Only those IN the network, or those using Technorati tags) have linked to your blog or a post on it. So by gaining links (there is no concept on Technorati as "bleeding links" as far as I know), you move up in the ladder. But even Technorati also keeps track of how popular your blog is. You can have 200 links into your blog, but if no one visits then your standing will not go up to the top 100.

Okay, that is Technorati. Important for bloggers? Well it is a popular site, and growing. So the answer would be yes. Important for Google, MSN and Yahoo --- not on its own...yet there is one critical Caveat.

When someone links to your site in a blog or web site, the href HTML links are in the code. The Search Engines when they read the code with their bots (see how much web lingo you know already!) sees these links. Those get added to the amount of sites linking to you. They are "hot links" or "back links" into your blog or posts in your blog. So linking not only works in the closed world of Technorati tags, but also works in the Wide World of Search Engine placement. Those links are important. Now if you get linked in a very popular blog, that counts for a lot in the world of Search Engine placement. (As we discussed in the previous articles.)

So while it is nice to know your Technorati ranking is going up, what is IMPORTANT is to remember to use their tools of tagging and linking to get others to discover and link to your blog. That gets noticed by the Search Engines. Not immediately to be sure but if you are being hit a great deal and have links to you, sooner rather than later the Search Engines will pick up your blog and your keywords. They will NOT look at the Technorati tags though, they will look at your meta tag keywords and your content. (Oy Vey! so many things to remember)

Del.icio.us and others work on the same concept, though del.icio.us is more centralized and called a "social book-marking service". Just remember the rule of thumb:

The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines.

Okay now what are Categories? Categories really belong in Wiki format, and this is not the scope or place to discuss Wiki and the technology behind it. I own a new Wiki site, and you are welcome to peruse JewishPedia because on a Wiki site you can view all the code to each article.

Categories in blogs (Wordpress implements them automatically) are a way to search for something. I have Categories in my blog, but this is a code implemented Category Listing in Google's blogger system, where when you click, the blog does a Google Blog search in my blog for all articles related to that word. And thus it depends on Google's specific Blog Search Engine (not their regular search engine).

Remember, Google and others have specific Blog search engines. It is important to be on the top in those as well, BUT for mainstream, if you are using a Blog for whatever reason, your goal is to be in the normative search engines as well, and in a good placement there.

So there you have it. Tags = Keywords. Technorati uses them in the closed world of Technorati. The employ linking counts as well. These keywords and links, if done correctly, are also very useful for Search Engine rankings if your blog is popular. deli.ci.ous uses them for "social" blogging.

So don't give up on Technorati. Just don't believe it is the golden answer to be good rankings in the Search Engines. It is but one of the myriad of possibilities.

"The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines."

Copyright © 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.

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