Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Does Google Think About Blogging?
Matt Ambrose

Any internet marketer worth their salt will tell you how Google’s algorithms love the keyword rich content of blogs. But what does the Google hierarchy actually think about the explosion in content flooding the internet on a daily basis? After all, it can’t make their job any easier trying to classify millions of websites constantly being updated every day?
In an article in The Economist for ‘The World in 2007’ Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, provides an insight into how he thinks the internet is playing a healthy role in shaping how people use software, gather information and communicate. He comments that:
The lesson is compelling: put simple, intuitive technology in the hands of users and they will create content and share it. The fastest-growing parts of the internet all involve direct human interaction.
It has never been easier for people to find and share information. Anybody with a PC and internet connection now has their own electronic printing press and a potentially global readership. Relationships are now increasingly being built based on interest rather than geography. This is an aspect which many traditional marketers are struggling to come to terms with. Many still seem to have the terms ‘internet’ and ‘bubble’ irreparably connected in their minds and continue to treat the web as only a temporary phenomenon:
business models based on controlling consumers or content don’t work. Betting against the net is foolish because you’re betting against human ingenuity and creativity.
If businesses don’t start appreciating how there has been a paradigm shift in how people access and share information then they are underestimating what is going on in the online world. They are going to struggle to get their messages across if they don’t understand how it’s now a two way conversation and not a long range bombing campaign.
In an interview, discussing his Economist article, Schmidt comments that:
It’s clear, over the next few years, that people will have access to farmore information then they can ever handle. And that is a goodthing: that more information crowds out bad ideas, bad information, bad governments, bad behaviour.
Schmidt is describing how the spread of blogs and social networks should eventually lead to a rise in transparency in the way information is presented. Anybody posting inaccurate or misleading content will inevitably be caught out by an increasingly web savvy audience who can expose them in forums strewn all over the web. Being honest and genuine in how you engage and project your message will be the only way to communicate if you want to remain relevant to your audience.
Schmidt revisited his point, on the growth of transparency, in a recent speech to the British Conservative party. He discussed how:
Politicians must realise the results produced by the Internet. Many do not understand the phenomenon, its deep dynamics and implications.
Politicians are a lot like salesmen. Their role is to sell their message by appealing to their voters’ desires. Worrying about whether the message was genuine, or had any real substance, was secondary. All that mattered was influencing mindsets to garner votes rather than to actually engage in a political debate.
Schmidt believes that the internet’s growth as an information sharing resource means that politicians and businesses will have to start becoming more transparent and engaging if they want to continue being listened to. Google evidently intend being a leading innovator and driving force in how these new values will be propagated online.
Matt Ambrose is a freelance writer from the UK. You can find more information about Matt on his website
http://thewritewords.me.uk.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

10 Big Benefits Of A Busy Business Blog (And How To take Advantage)
Matt Jackson

The blog; what can be said that hasn’t been said before? In all truth, very little, but there is still a seeming lack of businesses willing to take up the “challenge” of running their own blog. Those that have done so often report their findings and invariably they are positive reviews of both the blogging process and the results of their business blog. In a bid to hammer the point home we’ve compiled a list of ten advantages to establishing and maintaining a business blog.
It is important to note the word “busy” in the title of this article. It isn’t there simply because it begins with a B and lends itself perfectly to the alliteration in the title. It’s meant to outline the fact that a blog is at its finest when it is regularly filled with quality content. A blog with no content is just a template.
1 - Quick And Easy
Two words that every business owner and manager loves. A blog is simple to set up even for the technologically challenged. There exist a number of free blogging services, and while these aren’t ideal for a business blog they do offer a way to start. Setting up a blog is not like setting up a website. In the worst case scenario you will need to install a software application on your website and tinker with a few settings.
2 - Inexpensive Setup
The only word more popular than quick and easy is inexpensive. To integrate a blog into the page of your site costs very little money, especially as somebody within your organization can usually do it. Even outsourcing the task will cost only a couple of hundred dollars. Remember that a blog could become one of the most powerful marketing weapons you have in your arsenal and consider that a couple of hundred dollars might just pay a salesperson for one day’s work.
3 - Provides Easy Access To Company News
A business blog can be written in one of numerous styles, or a combination of these. One huge benefit is the ability to inform your customers of any changes, new products, latest offers, and much more. This, in turn, can lead to direct sales. People love to frequent blogs and pass their time reading the same ones on a regular basis. Captivate your audience with compelling content and you will receive a growing list of market leads. Remember that individual blog readers generally prefer a personable style but if your operation is a business-to-business one then you will need to vary your style accordingly.
Typically, companies have used newsletter and e-newsletters to offer this kind of regular contact with their customers and potential customers. Using a blog is easier and it can be updated much more regularly than when offering a weekly or monthly newsletter.
4 - Search Engine Friendly
Search engine optimization is a particularly beneficial form of online marketing. It can be used to gain search engine traffic for given keywords or search terms. Your blog offers the opportunity to promote your website for hundreds or even thousands of different keywords. Search engines particularly like promoting blogs because they offer a large amount of content that is updated and added to on a regular basis.
5 - Appear Accessible
It doesn’t matter whether you are not, but you and your company will appear to be more accessible especially if you allow freedom for all your visitors to post comments. Accessibility is often a stumbling block for many potential customers that still prefer to deal with companies offline. A blog makes you more approachable and so alleviates this concern.
6 - Appear Authoritative
The appearance of authority is also important to online businesses. Customers will be much more likely to use your service or purchase your goods if they see you as an authority on a particular subject. Give your views on the latest events in your industry, offer reviews of related items and comparisons of several items. Do anything, within reason, that makes you look like an authority on your topic area.
7 - Brand Awareness
The more a customer hears the name of your company the more likely they will be to remember it. It takes, on average, around seven items of direct communication between you and your customers to make a sale. A blog with hundreds of posts gives you the opportunity to name drop your company occasionally and ensure that your readers think of you next time they are looking for a particular product or service.
8 - Relationship Building
Another difficult aspect of building a relationship with your customers online is building a rapport with them. Because a blog enables you to speak more freely and in a more informal and personable style than your website does, your readers will soon feel like they know you. The more they know, like, and trust you the more likely they are to visit your main site, click your links, purchase your product, and line your pockets with virtual gold.
9 - Gain An Insight Into Your Customers
A business blog enables you to gain insight into your customers. It does this in several ways. Predominantly, by allowing your customers to leave comments on your posts, you get a good feel for how they take to everything you say. You can also track which posts are being read more often and which generate a greater number of clicks, emails, and much more. As far as market and customer research goes this is hugely beneficial information.
10 - Reduce Calls And Emails
OK, this isn’t one to tell your readers but you can use a blog to pre-empt questions that customers might have. By sending readers to your blog you can gain all of the above benefits and you may reduce the amount of niggling questions that you get asked by customers. Of course, you might also receive a lot more orders by email, but nobody wants to reduce those emails.
Maintaining A Successful Business Blog
While there are free blogging services available they generally offer ad-supported blogs with a restricted amount of templates and options. To truly take advantage with a business blog your best bet is to use a commercial application or pay for a commercial service. These enable you to integrate the blog into your own domain incorporating your own design. This ensures that you offer the full benefit to site visitors while making it easier to point blog visitors toward the appropriate pages of your site.
Regular content is imperative to the success of any blog. This content needs to be informative, accurate, and written in a way that will appeal to your visitors. Every blog demands different content and by producing the right content on a regular basis it will pay dividends.
In some posts you should try to find an opportunity to link to at least one page on your main website. Try not to get carried away by placing too many links or linking from all your posts but if you mention a particular product, link the name of that product to the corresponding page on your site. Alternatively include a paragraph at the bottom of the page that includes a link to a related resource (on your own page, or an affiliate link). If you are using a blog to make money through affiliate links then you should be careful to only use affiliate links in a relatively small proportion of your posts.
Matt Jackson is a blog writer, website content copywriter, and a big fan of alliteration in article titles. Through his website, WebWiseWords, he offers a full blog writing and posting service for businesses of any size and industry.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bloggers - Will They be a Fixture in Corporate America?
Taryn Simpson

How did Blogging get so popular so fast?
It does seem that blogging caught on like wildfire. Why is it so popular? Because it's human nature to voice your 2 cents on a subject, whether good or bad. Not to mention, there are blogging sites popping up all over the place, the templates are nice looking and easy to use and best of all, they are FREE. What does this mean for domain companies? website provider and builders? Bloggers are pulling the rug out from underneath them.
How did Corporate America become involved with blogging?
The same way tv and radio became involved with them. Bloggers voice their opinions much like a stock analyst. When do you get this information from the analyst? When the television program airs or in a radio program. When does the public learn about bloggers' opinions? At any moment on the internet. The internet is surely becoming bigger, faster and foremost in our world of information.
Corporate America and the Blogger
It only makes sense that businesses want to attach themselves to the most vocal and prominent bloggers. It is just another way of making themselves attractive to the wordsmiths rather than focusing on stock analysts. Bloggers have a reputation of being the new kid on the block that happens to be the underdog. This makes a perfect spoil for conglomerates to embrace the bloggers so that they can voice their opinions.
Bloggers are the new look of "every man". Symbolically, the blogger has turned Wall Street on its' collective ear as the "new every man" is suddenly being given new clout via a computer. It's no wonder Corporate America has hired bloggers to blog on their behalf. This just isn't a payoff, they are being analyzed just as the stock analysts have done in prior years.
It's just that it's nice to know that the "every man" has a voice in Corporate America.
Taryn Simpson is a published author and freelance writer with over 15 years of HR experience. Ms. Simpson owns her own writing company, Simpson - E Publishing which offers clients ghostwriting of novels/articles, web content, brochures, newsletters, press releases and more. Be sure to visit my blog:
http://www.Musings-From-A-Writer.blogspot.com
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Monday, November 27, 2006

How To Write Blogs
Mihaela Lica

Introduction
A blog is a web document. When you write it you have to think about your audience and understand their needs. On the other hand you should think what you want to achieve with a certain blog and write accordingly. Here are a few guidelines that will help you improve your writing style.
Why Blogging?
Blog does mean Web log and many bloggers do use this online tool to create virtual diaries. While such bloggers blog for pleasure, other bloggers blog for business. There’s enough potential in a blog, as long as it has a professional style and valuable information. Here’s what writers might achieve with a good blog:
Public recognition: are you an expert in your field? Let people know it and provide unique, qualified information. Soon you will be listed on different sites as a “guru”.Targeted traffic: no one just happens to “land” on a blog page. Web surfers search for information. The tags you used to describe your blogs are the baits that will determine a surfer to click on a certain link, visit your blog and (probably) read your content.Earn extra income: through blog advertisements, AdSense and more.Blog Writing Styles
I have seen many ways of writing and many styles. Obviously there are many ways to write blogs, but I’ll list here three:
Just write and don’t care about grammar or typing, after all it’s your blog and “if they don’t like it they shouldn’t be reading it”. (You’re right, I am being sarcastic!)Just write but do pay attention at least at the spelling – no one will kill you if you have minor grammar errors when you are not a native speaker. Write professionally… and that’s exactly what this article is all about!Blog Writing Standards
Maybe I have a wrong tile: “How to Write Blogs”. Perhaps “How to Write Business Blogs” would be a better headline. But I don’t want to limit the topic. After all, although not all blogs are created equal, professional writing has some clear standards.
These standards start with a rule: plain English. Yes, you’ve got that right. Plain English is good English. It helps delivering your message clearly and concisely. And this is the writing style needed on the Web. Surfers want to get the information without too much effort. Reading essays online is problematical. Have you noticed how tired your eyes get after reading the long paragraphs of an article?
You need to write in a readable and clear writing style. Even the offline media journalists practise this style. Novelists argue sometimes that newspapers and magazines have a poor, simplistic style. Wrong! They have a plain style, to make it easier for the readers to understand and absorb the information.
It is important for a blog to be written in a clear, plain style, or the visitors will surf away.
Standards for Styles
If you want to start a polemic the best approach is a “teasing” approach. Do it carefully and try to avoid narrow sarcasm. Joke if you must, but never be offensive. After all, we owe respect to our readers. That’s if we want them to respect us.
If you plan to educate don’t tease. Don’t joke. Avoid narrow sarcasm. Be concise and direct, as your readers don’t have time for riddles and if you bore them too much with gibberish talk, they’ll surf away. This is the standard for business writing too.
Notice how I wrote this article: I used short phrases and one point per paragraph. This means writing concise and direct.
Writing Titles
Help your visitors “scan” your content (they’ll do it anyway), as you want them to. Take a look in your newspaper. What do you see? Titles, subtitles and summaries. Now all you need to do is mirror the style of your newspaper. Let’s start with the titles.
There are three styles of titles: informational (business style), teasing (polemic style) and cute (entertainment style).
Examples:
How to Write Blogs – InformationalTo Blog or Not to Blog? – TeasingBlog-a-boo! – Cute
Each style has another purpose. As this is an instructional article – more a tutorial – I chose the informational title. Short titles have a higher impact than long titles, especially when they summarize in a few words the entire content, providing a clue on the purpose of the article.
Writing Summaries
Newspapers use the inverted pyramid style to deliver the information. So should you. Why? The first paragraph of your article will convince the surfer to go on reading. So start with the conclusion and give details as your article goes on. My introduction explains clear my purpose. If you wouldn’t be interested in learning how to improve your writing skills, you’d be long surfing on other Web pages!
Additional Writing Tips
As you’ve probably noticed I used some lists in this article. This is a good technique: it helps readers remain focused. Usually you should keep each line of a list short, unless you need to provide a brief explanation on a certain topic.
Use bold words for emphasis, but don’t over-do-it! The same goes for italicizing or underlining words. Use easy to read fonts and legible colors. (No yellow or other light colors on white and avoid dark backgrounds in general!) Instead of Conclusion
This article was checked for accessibility and readability using StyleWriter and scored "excellent" for each of the following: style index, average sentence and passive index.
Mihaela Lica is a professional journalist, with more than 10 years experience in the field, four as TV journalist. Since 2002 she works as an online public relations and media consultant, making all possible efforts to promote quality web content. Read her SEO and web development blog if look for more interesting articles.

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