Saturday, October 14, 2006

5 Critical Characteristics To Demand From Your Blogging Software.. Does Yours Do These?
B Hopkins

With so many blogging software options available today, it can be a difficult task to decide which blogging software you should use. Each blogging software solution will have its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, so you should determine your needs first, and then decide which blog software solution will work best for you. Whatever you determine your needs are, your solution should, at least, have the characteristics described below.
1. Your Blogging Software Should Be Easy to Install
There are many blogging software programs available today for many different platforms. Most of them are good and will provide much of the needed functionality a person needs to blog on their website. However, if the blog software isn't easy to install, and if you are not a programmer, you will have some trouble getting your blog started.
Even the easiest of programs to install, will be challenging to someone who is just barely familiar with using a computer, but if the installation is easy enough, you can pay a programmer or even a web designer a small amount of money to install your blog for you.
Blog software is easy to install if you only need to perform the following steps: 1) upload the software to the webserver 2) fill in your specific information, into a form, such as: the URL of the blog, the database information, the username and password to administer the blog, and an email address. 3) click the install button, and your blog gets installed. 4) log into your blog program, and personalize the blog for your own website.
2. It Should Be Easy for You to Change the Look and Feel of Your Blog
Your blog software programmed should be set up so that it is easy to change the look and feel of your blog through a quick menu selection. Most blogging software comes with several pre-defined templates that will allow you to change the look of your blog very quickly and easily.
The blogging software should also be set up so that it is easy to add templates. Usually it is as simple as uploading the new template into the template folder of the blog software - if it is more difficult than that, you should find a different blog program.
3. Your Blogging Software Should Automatically Ping Blog Servers
One of the best features of blogging software, is it's ability to inform other websites that your blog has been updated. This process is called 'pinging'. Pinging is an important feature because it tells the world that you have new content on your blog and they should come and check it out. Pinging is a powerful way of getting exposure and visibility to your blog relatively quickly. Search engines love to find new content so they have services that specifically search the web for new content. When you 'ping' one of these services, you are telling it to check out the new content on your blog.
Some of the better blogging programs available will have an interface that will let you easily choose what pinging services you can ping about the new content on your blog. Most blog programs include some of the more popular services as a standard feature in your blog software. If you want to ping more services, sometimes you will have to go into the program and change the code. A competent programmer should be able to do this for you in a few hours.
4. Your Blog Software Should Have Search-Engine Friendly URL's
Most of the better blogging software programs that are out there today store their entries in a database. This means that many of the pages are dependent upon parameters being passed to them before they can display the pages. For web browsers, the way that parameters are passed are usually indicated by characters such as '?' and '&'. Some blogging software requires that several parameters get passed before a single page, or blog entry, gets loaded.
Search engines usually don't index url's with a lot of parameters passed to them (lots of "&" in the URL), because the search engines can sometimes choke on these types of URLs. The better blogging software programs have an option to automatically 'convert' these URLs to more 'search engine friendly' URLs that don't 'scare' the search engines away. These converted URLs will allow the search engines to index your entire site, and all of your post entries, which makes it easier for visitors to find your blog.
5. It Should Be Easy to Add New Features to Your Blog Software
As you become more comfortable and knowledgeable about blogging, you will eventually find the need to add new features and functions to your blogging software. If your software is designed to be 'plug and play', it should be very easy to add features to your software. All it takes is uploading a new feature 'module' to your 'modules' directory. Some blog scripts require a lot of code changes in order to add new features, and that can be a huge task for someone who isn't a programmer. Sometimes it's a huge task for someone who is a programmer.
If your blog software isn't designed to have easy plug-in add-ons, chances are the software isn't designed for easily adding on new features. If this is the case, you should choose another blogging software program.
If you select a blogging solution that has the included characteristics listed above, you will be well on your way to using a system that will grow with you as your needs grow, and is designed to bring more traffic to your website. The next step is to see what programs are available for you to use as your blogging solution. Some of them are free and some of them cost money.
Copyright (c) 2006 B Hopkins
Your blogging software can lock you into a solution that might not be the best for your needs. Read more articles about blogging at
http://www.allwebcontent.com/articles/Category/Blogs/4 Find out how you can make money with your blog here: Learn to Blog for Your Business (Create High Quality Articles)
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blogging for Business and Networking
Marsha Maung

Blog – what a funny word. Not only do most individuals have a blog these days, but businesses are beginning to realize the power of the blogging medium. In recent years, they saw how amazing a blog is and how extensive a blog’s reach is. A light bulb went off in someone’s head and the business decides that “Hey, you know what? If a 12-year-old kid can create a blog that generates tens of thousands of page views a day and create a network online, why not a business?”
Hence, the business blog is born.
What is the difference between a personal blog and a business blog? The agenda is essentially the same – to update, advice, provide information and network with people who share the same passion or interest. A blog, although was first invented as an online journal of sorts, have developed into a powerful publishing media. So powerful that businesses are starting to jump onto the blog bandwagon in a valiant effort to create an online network. This is the network whereby they can stay in touch with their customers or potential customers.
But why do you think a blog is so useful to an ordinary person? Why do you think it will help individuals or companies network with others on the internet? How would it benefit an individual and how would it benefit a company? What kind of networking opportunities will a business blog present to a large International company?
Here’s the thing…blogs are so versatile. It’s different from a conventional updating system we used to have on our websites…the FAQs and the what-have-you-nots. A blog is often more personal and when a company uses this to get closer and network with the customers, things are different. For instance, Company A is a large business with a huge network of customers, clients, suppliers, retailers…etc. The company can create blogs…not one, not two, not three…but a blog for each department in the company that deals with different issues…it would see significant increase in sales in a very short period of time.
How? Just put someone in charge of updating each of the blogs – as simple as that! You don’t even say it’s a business blog – let’s just say ‘Paula Simmons’ blog (Human Resource)’ or ‘Terry Hemmingway’s blog (Public Relations)….etc. You get the picture. You’ve just put a face on a particular department in your huge company by NOT naming the blog a blog but simply putting someone’s name on it. This makes the readers feel closer to the company ever more than better.
So, get on with it and create your own blog now. Don’t wait!
Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and copy writer who works from her home in Selangor, Malaysia. She loves nothing more than blowing bubbles in the park with her 2 kids, Joshua and Jared. She designs apparel and premium items at
http://www.allmomstuff.com and is the author of "Raising little magicians", and the popular "The Lance in freelancing".
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