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Blogging with WordPress

I only entered the blogosphere in late 2005 after realizing that I was missing out on an important part of the whole “online communication” genre. As I had been busy managing forums, web sites, and writing articles, I soon realized that I could firm up my two niches – aviation and article writing – by blogging on these topics regularly. With that in mind, I soon launched a pair of blogs and I am very happy with my decision. I selected WordPress as I believe that they offer one of the best blogging communities out there. Are you a blogger? If not, why not?

My decision to go with WordPress and not with one of the other big blogging entities such as Blogger, had everything to do with my having complete control over the site. Since I host with Powweb, I discovered that my web hosting company offers over thirty different software downloads for its members. WordPress and a few other blogging entities are represented, but I selected WordPress due to the recommendation of a friend.

Within two or three minutes of my download, I had WordPress up and running. In less than thirty minutes, I had the layout I wanted, although I kept the traditional template in place as I knew I wanted to work on my content first and on the design later. Next, I updated the links on my two related sites to reflect a “Blog” tab. In addition, I picked a few places within each site to announce the new blogs and I emailed everyone on my members list to inform them of my entrance into the world of blogs.

If you select WordPress as your blogging platform, you will soon discover that Version 2.0 was recently released. Because I am new to blogging, I haven’t yet updated from my downloaded version, 1.5. I want to first make certain that WordPress has worked out any kinks that may be in the updated version. In addition, not all the plug-ins you can use [there are plenty of them] with 1.5 are compatible with 2.0 just yet. Most are, but some still are not.

Beyond the update issues, I enjoy using the administrative “dashboard” which allows me to create each blog. Because I include pictures with one of my blogs, Jet Movements, I also have to make certain that the HTML I use to put each picture in its place [alignment] is exact. WordPress allows for you to do that.

In addition, I like the fact that WordPress allows administrators to schedule their entries. You can blog today, but schedule your submission to appear online at an appointed time several days away. Since much of my writing inspiration comes in bunches, I often will tackle several days worth of entries at once and spread them out over the coming week. If I want to later change the timing of an entry or squeeze in a separate one, I can do that too.

WordPress is current with today’s web standards and looks much cleaner and professional than some of its competitors. You can change the template over to one that is in the WordPress arsenal or design a template yourself and upload it to your site instead.

Yes, WordPress is designed to be set up through your own web host, but if you do not have a web site, you can get a free account through Web Press and they will host it for you.

Although WordPress is an “open source” community, meaning it is derived from and driven by volunteers, they have an active forum and many helpful links to assist you with building and maintaining your own blog.

Obviously, I am a very satisfied WordPress customer. You can be a satisfied blogger too whether you select WordPress through your web host or host your blog directly with them.

 

Get Started With Your First Blog

There is no question that blogging is one of the best ways to get keyword rich content on your site, get your message on the search engines and get traffic to your website. But how do you get started blogging?

When you consider starting a blog there are many options. A great way to get started blogging quickly (and for free) is to use an online ‘standalone’ service like WordPress or Google’s Blogger. These are free, highly customizable tools that support both new and more advanced bloggers. The negative is that you can’t use your website’s domain name. For instance, if using Blogger, you blog address would be something like ‘yourblog.blogspot.com.’ While you can link to this from your current website, search engines won’t know give you ‘credit’ for the extra content since it is a different domain. With creative cross linking however, you can still benefit from the increased exposure you can get from a blog.

These free services provide powerful software tool that balance value, quality, and ease of use. While some people prefer to use more basic blog services, they too can truly benefit from the ‘built-in’ benefits of WordPress or Blogger along with its existing large community of users.

One of the most notable benefits of these services is the ease of use, and advanced functionality of the service compared to some blog software applications. Neither Blogger nor WordPress require you to know any ‘coding’ and allow you to built and post to your blog with easy to use icons similar to what one would see in a word processing program. Having the ability to utilize a program like this allows people to create blogs that are as high tech, and complete as full blown websites.

If you are occasionally ‘offline’ you can benefit from WordPress’s ability to import posts. This means you can put your blog together while you are not connected to the internet and then import it later. If you already use another blogging service such you can also import your posts directly into Blogger or WordPress.

Another benefit of these services is their large widget or element and theme libraries that allow you to instantly add useful features, and professional looking styles to your blog. A very simple drag and drop interface allows you to add features such as an RSS feed with a few clicks.

Another option to consider would be blogging software that you can directly integrate into your website. Some hosting provides such as GoDaddy allow you to use your existing domain name for you blog. The benefit is that the content of your blog becomes part of what search engines see for your domain. In these cases you are more likely to pay a monthly add-on fee to your hosting provider. As an alternative, Google’s Blogger allows you to publish to a FTP site, which means you can blog from your own domain. You lose some of the flexibility of the ‘out of the box’ service, but with a little effort you can have a customized template and pretty easy posting capability that resides within your domain.

As your needs become more advanced or if you are a more technical blogger you may also consider blogging software that can be directly integrated into your website. One to consider is bBlog. bBlog is an open source, PHP/MySQL application. If you don’t know what the last sentence means, then this isn’t for you. If you do know, then you may benefit from the expanded flexibility an integrated application could provide.

In the end, you have a wide, wide range of very inexpensive (or free) options to get started.

Get Your Business Noticed with Blogging

Blogging has become an incredible online marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. A business can save thousands of dollars in paid advertising expenses while gaining valuable exposure and traffic. Blogs are a user-friendly, customizable and flexible medium for effective positioning of your products in the market. Businesses using blogs to promote their business have a definite edge over their competitors and are seeing a number of advantages. To get that advantage, however, they do require careful planning and effective marketing.

Blog postings are appearing in search engine results faster than other website content. Post submitted through blogging tools like Blogger and WordPress are being fast tracked to search engine results. This means more backlinks for your business website and quicker, more up to date search engine placement for your business’ marketing message.

Blogs support and even encourage word of mouth viral marketing. According to a recent survey, there are currently 90 million blogs with 80,000 more being added each day and 30 percent of internet users are blog readers. The very nature of the blogging space with sites such as Technorati and Digg, quickly spread blog posts to the widest audience. Posts that become popular can quickly spread across hundreds or thousands of other blogs and social interaction sites.

Customer awareness and loyalty are enhanced. Having a open dialogue with your customers creates trust and loyalty among them. The ability to respond, almost in real time, to customer questions and comments makes them all the more willing to try your products and services.

Feedback can be instantaneous. Businesses can use blogs and their related comments for product research and to solicit reviews. This rapid feedback mechanism could allow a business to make product decisions based on almost real time observations of their customers’ thinking and behavioral patterns.

Businesses can gain a halo-effect because the ‘blogosphere’ has the reputation of being a place for reasonable, friendly, helpful and most importantly, personal interactions. Businesses that can embrace the culture of the environment can help assign the same characteristics to their products and services.

Notwithstanding the benefits, like any other business website, it is important that the content be well planned and thought out. Even with the informal nature of many blogs, it is important to remember that they still reflect on the business’ image, positively or negatively. The blog should reflect the values and objectives of the business as well as be reflective of the overall marketing efforts of the business.

Blogging is relatively straightforward, but to be done correctly does take effort and learning. There are several blogs dedicated to teaching people the do’s and don’ts of blogging. Be aware that blogs may have themes or be community based so make sure you aware of these before putting your business name out there. The easiest way, of course, to become familiar with the tone of the blog or social community is to spend time reading posts.

Like any website there are a number of things to keep in mind. Testing, testing and testing are important to make sure the blog meets business objectives. The tone of blogs may be more subtle to detect than standard websites, requiring frequent tweaks to get it right.

Be prepared in advance for a much higher level of content posting than normal with a more static website. Blogs, to be effective, need regular, even daily, infusions of fresh content to stay relevant and keep visitors’ attention.

As with a standard website, be aware of legal issues, disclaimers, notifications, copyright issues or other issues relevant to the business. The informal nature of blogs, as well as the higher volume of updates can create compliance issues if not carefully monitored.

Finally, once a business decides to invest in blogging, there are great ways to spread the word about the new blog. To get the best marketing results, it is essential to actively promote your business blogs through blog search sites and directories. Promotion and submissions should be consistent with your products, services or the theme of the blog to be most effective. Adding exclusive or member’s only information can also increase the likelihood that casual browsers will invest the time to follow the business’ postings.

Promotion of the blog can be almost automatic be creating and promoting Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds in conjunction with the blogs. Individuals and other, related, websites can view and display blog postings directly from their own websites or personal news readers. This allows the blog poster to essentially push posts to reader’s desktops instead of relying on them to visit the originating blog site.

Since search engine placement is essential for traffic volume the blog should make effective use of keyword phrases. Blogs are by definition very content heavy website, which afford amble opportunity to generate keyword rich copy. Keywords should be selected to ensure that relevant traffic is directed to the business blog.

In summary, a blog is a great way to promote a business. A number of advantages can be gained as long as the business plans well and takes the steps to properly promote its new blog.

Aubrey Jones is President and founder of Riverbank Consulting, Inc. Through Webs 4 Small Business he is able to bring SEO and other internet services to Small Business owners. He has been in the technology and internet industry for over 10 years building and managing large commercial internet services.

Getting Blog Links

A lot of time is spent by bloggers trying to get other blogs to link to them. A lot of traffic can be gained by doing this with blogs that are both related to your topic and blogs that have a lot of readers.

This can sometimes be very difficult for new bloggers because they do not yet have enough readers or page rank to interest the bigger blogs.

Talk to other bloggers who are in the same position as you right now and develop a lasting relationship. You link to them, they link to you and as both of your blogs grow those links will pay off for you.

Many people find a blog they like, then will take suggestions from that blog about other blogs they might like. So someone goes to a blog you have traded links with and likes them, then they follow your link and if your content is good, they add you to their reading list. The same happens in reverse for the one you link back to.

Sooner than you think both of your blogs will become ones that a circle of people read. The more blogs you do this with, the more your circle will eventually grow.

Don’t be too concerned with page rank. Many of the established blogs with good page rank are not going to link to you until you build up your readership at least a little. There is a reason for this and it isn’t arrogance, though it may feel that way at times.

The reason is that many people start blogs, but few people actually become bloggers. Blogging daily takes a commitment that many are not willing to make. The established blogs might link to you regardless of page rank and traffic issues if they see you are committed to writing your blog and becoming a blogger.

They don’t want to link to someone’s blog that may or may not be around next month. It is a disservice to their readers and a hassle to remove your link later or check and see if you are actually still blogging. They do not have the time to hold your hand on it.

If they check out your blog and you have been posting to it every day for quite awhile, say 6 months at least, then they might give you a helping hand and welcome you to the blogosphere.

Put it into your schedule to make a post every single day, even if it has to be a short one due to lack of time. When there is a time you know you will not be able to post for a few days, make a post for each of those days and if you are using wordpress you can timestamp the posts so that each one appears on the scheduled day. That is one way to keep your blog fresh for your readers every day.

Another tip is, as we post to our blogs daily, there are times when you have two or three things you want to blog, but if you are finding it hard to post daily, timestamp the second or third post for other days rather than posting them right now unless it is something time sensitive. Try to stay two or three days ahead so that if you miss a day, it won’t hurt you.

If you are using blogger or other blogging software that doesn’t have the timestamp feature, save them as drafts, then log in when you have little time and post your draft. If you have time to blog a post, then leave the draft there until you need it.

Don’t let yourself get frustrated if everyone doesn’t want to link to you right away. If you are blogging good content, you may find they are linking to you before you even ask!

Help! My Blog is Boring!

So you have this really great idea to start a blog on a particular niche. And perhaps, maybe you even want to make some revenue off of AdSense, Clicksor, or other contextual advertising. Super. You’ve wrote your heart out and posted some blog content. Great! No problems there. But what do you do to keep the content fresh and insightful? Are you feeling that the content you offer on your blog just “lacks”? Is your blog boring? Maybe you can’t even pinpoint what exactly is “lacking”, but you just feel it. Possibly, you just do not have the time to put forth to writing 1000 word articles every couple days. If this is you, it is time you look into using other people’s articles!

“WHAT?” you say. No, I am not suggesting you steal or copy others articles. However, I am suggesting that you utilize websites that offer free web content on your particular niche. There are many free web content sites or ‘article directories’ that offer free articles for you to use on your blog or website. You are able to use these articles totally free without a problem. The only thing you are required is to give credit to the author who wrote the article. Fair enough?

Now you ask, “Why would I want to use someone else’s articles? How lame is that?!” It’s actually not lame at all. Think about it. There are thousands of other people offering new, unique insight on exactly what you are writing about. You will find that people offer a different point of view or perspective on the particular subject. A different perspective or a new idea can be very refreshing for your blog. To even go further, find those articles that offer new thoughts and respond to the author’s thoughts.

Consider the benefits of using free content articles for your blog or website:

  • When you use other quality articles, you are offering your visitor with useful content, and in effect, your visitor comes back for more.
  • Using free web content will allow you to keep your blog fresh and updated on a daily basis with valuable information.
  • Other people’s articles can inspire new thoughts and ideas for your blog.

How do you find quality free web content for your blog? When you find an article that you would like to put on your website, make sure you are permitted to actually use it. You can usually find that information right on the article page or the website’s terms of service. When you are positive that you can use the article, read it over to make sure it is even applicable to your website. Do run it through a spell check to make sure that level of quality is portrayed in the article. If there are a bunch of errors, do not change the errors because that would violate the terms for the article. Instead, move on to finding another article. So do some searching and reading. Find that interesting web content and post that interesting web content for your readers! Delight your readers with something interesting and exciting!

How to Get Your Blog Indexed on MSN in less than 72 Hours for Free

MSN uses a search engine crawler known as MSNBot; You have to tell MSNBot to crawl your blog or website.

I do not know why MSN indexes blogs(Blogger especially)during such a short time; I guess its because they are hungry for new pages…

I found this secret whilst trying to get my websites indexed into search engines for Free, and that was a while ago.

This is what you have to do, step-by-step:

1. Go to MSN.com and search your blog address. It will be BLOGNAME.blogspot.com for Blogger blogs.

2. MSN will say “We couldn’t find any results containing BLOGNAME.blogspot.com”

and 4 lines below there is a link with the text “Send the address to Us” Click that link to index your blog.

3. You now have access to MSNBot. You’ll see a code verification system; type the correct code and the URL of your blogger or wordpress blog.

Remember to include the http://…

Within 3 days your blog will be indexed! When your blog gets indexed, try this system with your websites too.

Getting indexed in Yahoo is a bit harder, and takes longer.

1) Go to Altavista.com

2) Click on “Submit a Site”

3) You’ll see 3 options… Click “Basic Submit”. You’ll need a Yahoo! account for this.

4) Once logged in, you’ll be taken to Yahoo!’s free URL submitter.

There you have it – the simple secret of getting your blog indexed in search engines.

Tommy Lee knows 33 Profitable Ideas ANYONE can Use to Start Making Money Sucking Blogs Starting Today. Fast and Easy.

Six Quick Ways Your Website Benefits From Blogging

In this article I’m going to give you six ways that having a blog helps your website. There are a lot more reasons to start a blog, but this article has to do with the benefits to your website.

1. A blog on the same domain name, (as part of your website like yourdomainname.com/blog) can help you add fresh content to your website without having to know html. Fresh daily or even weekly content can keep the search spiders coming back more often. Writing your blog posts on the topics or search terms you want to be relevant for helps as well. Each blog post becomes another webpage targeted for your keywords.

2. A blog on the same domain name will also help you increase the number of pages that are included as part of your website. Content is king and having a ton of relative content will increase your chances of drawing visitors to your website.

3. A Blog on the same domain name or on a subdomain of your domain name or even one that is on another domain name can help you reach out to potential and existing customers with special offers, information, surveys, and more. You can add sales offers on the fly without having to call your web designer to add it for you.

4. A blog on a subdomain like blog.yourname.com is another way to go. Subdomains in most cases are treated as a separate domain name, yet can bring yourname.com more traffic as well. Here link popularity also kicks in a little. You of course link to yourname.com from blog.yourname.com but you can also trade links with other blogs but have them link to yourname.com instead of blog.yourname.com. Those links will be treated as one-way-inbound-links and that helps your page rank, but also brings you more traffic.

5. A blog on it’s own domain name can do that as well, but the link from it to yourname.com is going to carry more weight.

6. Getting the spiders to find all of your new websites. I find that because I have several blogs, if I want to get my or a client’s new website crawled by the search engines I can do it faster by adding a link to my blogs than I can by submitting to the search engines. Because I update my blogs daily, the spider crawls the blog a lot and follows the links there. I have seen this work for getting a website crawled within 3 days. This only works for a blog that has been regularly updated for awhile. (around 6 months or more).

As I said above, these are only the benefits you get from blogging as it applies to your website. What I haven’t mentioned is that by building up a steady readership on a blog, you will gain a lot of new customers. They get to know you and trust you by reading your blog every day.

I welcome all comments and suggestions. There are a lot of other advantages to your website, but the six I have just mentioned should be enough to get you started blogging right away!

Tales From the Blogosphere

I entered the blogosphere fairly late in the game. More than three years after starting and managing several busy forums and web sites, I dabbled with blogging through regular entries to one of my aviation web sites. Within weeks I got tired of the discipline – not of writing – but of ftp’ing everything to the web. I gave up as I decided blogging wasn’t for me.

Fortunately, I didn’t stay away as I saw a challenge, and an opportunity, in front of me. Having blogged on other people’s sites, I felt that if I could blog there, I could blog anywhere, including on my own blogs. Taking a look at my options, I decided to download WordPress and I now run two blogs from two separate web sites.

I am thrilled with each blog’s success and have no plans of giving up on what I am doing. In fact, I am mulling over starting a couple of more blogs as I see the value of this type of medium online.

So, how are my site’s doing? Very well according to my sites’ statistics. No, there isn’t much activity as far as comments go, but my information is getting read and the blogs are bringing additional traffic to both sites. Let’s just say that the traffic increases alone have been enough to keep me going, but other factors weigh in including:

Blurbs – There are times when a full length article just doesn’t cut it, but a blurb [pithy paragraph] does. Blogs are great for showcasing tidbits of information and allowing bloggers to link to the full article if more information is desired.

Links – On my Jet Movements blog, I added over 200 aviation related links recently. Within days, traffic to my site increased and the first page rankings came back from Google. Less than six weeks after starting, the traffic to this particular blog has been great.

Showcase – My second blog, The Article Writer, has helped me communicate better to my customers. Now, my customers can read about my writing style, my comments on raising SEO, book reviews, and more. This blog has given a “human touch” to an otherwise good, but too-business-like web site.

Idea Farm – Some of my blogs have turned into articles as I have taken a short, concise work and expanded on what I wrote through an article. Saves me time, too, as all I have to do is add a couple of extra paragraphs and my article is usually done.

Yes, blogging is a great way to communicate for business folks as well as teens. Some have thought that blogging was a fad, but I must say that it isn’t and it is certainly here to stay. Have you started your blog yet?

Topic Selection a Key to Profitable Blogging

Blogs may have originated as a means of online journal writing and community building, but the use of this model won’t accomplish much for the online entrepreneur. Unless your cats are far cuter than every other bloggers’ or unless you are an amazingly interesting person with some tremendous writing talents, your personal blog will get lost in the chorus of voices that crowd the world of blogs. In order to making blogging profitable, one must select a good topic upon which to focus.

Topic selection is at the very root of blogging success. The idea is to choose a topic area in which you can be competitive. Optimally, you can find a blogging niche that is underserved yet has a high level of interest. This will allow you to attract a great deal of visitors more easily which, of course, translates into higher profit levels.

There are a few factors to consider when choosing the subject area for a “money blog.” First, one may want to attempt to find a subject area in which they have a personal interest, especially if they plan on writing their own content. This is because successful blogs require regular updates and it can become difficult to regularly produce quality information if one has no real interest in a topic. If someone opts to hire a writer to produce their blog posts, however, this is a far less important factor.

Second, one should strive to find a topic area in which interest is at least relatively high. You may be able to rule the search engines on the topic of “17th century wooden paperweights,” but there are so few, if any, people with an interest in the subject. Thus, that number one ranking in Google will not produce the kind of traffic stream you will need to turn a healthy profit. It may be more difficult to enter a more competitive marketplace, but the potential rewards are far greater, too. The key to this element of topic selection, however, is not just writing a blog on a hot topic. It is finding a field from which a healthy number of visitors can be culled.

Third, one will want to find a market that is underserved. Basically, you are looking for a strong disparity in the number of interested parties and the amount of readily available information. If you can find a topic in which many people are interested but that is not well-covered online, you will be sitting upon a potential blogging gold mine. It is perfectly acceptable to build a wonderful blog and to expend the effort to compete in a more crowded area, but this does require much more work. Finding an underserved niche and filling a hole in the marketplace is a much easier way to produce blogging revenue.

Choosing a topic for your moneymaking blog can be a challenging process. This first step, however, is probably one of the most important. The choice of a topic not only establishes the nature of the blog, it also (in large measure) determines its potential for success.