Tag Archives: Blogging

How to Get Started Blogging in 5 Minutes or Less

I put off starting a blog for a long time because I thought it would be hard. I thought it would be technical. I thought I’d have to install scripts and tear my hair out getting them to work. At that point, most of what I’d read about blogs and RSS was just so much geek-speak.

Was I ever wrong!

When I finally got the courage to give it a go, I went to blogger.com and signed up for an account. To my amazement, I had a blog set up in about 5 minutes. My first post was uploaded to my site about 10 minutes later.

The only thing even remotely technical I was required to do was enter the FTP settings for the website my blog would be published on. But even that wasn’t a requirement. With Blogger, you can set up a blog on their site, Blogspot, and not even worry about FTP settings.

Since then, I’ve started 3 Blogger blogs on different sites. Blogger remains one of the most popular blog applications in the world simply because it is so simple to use and set up. If you’re a technophobe or don’t have the time to learn something completely new, I would urge you to drop by Blogger.com and take a look. You could be blogging – and enjoying the benefits – almost immediately.

Another very simple blogging tool is WordPress. This blog is my first WordPress blog, and I’m very impressed with how powerful it is – as well as simple.

WordPress is installed on your own website, but don’t let that stop you. Most hosts that have Cpanel already have WordPress ready for you to install. Look in your Cpanel for the Fantastico application, click it open, and then choose WordPress to install. It will automatically install it on your site for you, and you can start blogging right away.

If your host doesn’t already include WordPress in the scripts on your server, you can still pick it up at:

http://wordpress.org/

Then go to the WordPress Wiki for instructions on how to install it in 5 minutes:

http://wiki.wordpress.org/?pagename=5MinuteInstallation

WordPress is free, open-source software. It is very simple to install, even for technophobes, and has a lot of online documentation. There are also many sites with free WordPress add-ons and templates. I’m using a template for this blog that I picked up at Alex King’s site:

http://www.alexking.org/index.php?content=software/wordpress/styles.php

The WordPress Wiki is a wealth of information on all things WordPress, including installation instructions, help files, a long list of template sites, and all kinds of hacks and extras you can use to modify your blog and make it original.

If you’re a WordPress user, another place to visit is the WordPress discussion forum:

http://wordpress.org/support/

If you’re a new blogger, both WordPress and Blogger are very user friendly. There isn’t a long learning curve. And you won’t have to learn any new technical tricks. Why not give one of them a try?

10 Ways You Can Use Blogs RIGHT NOW

Now that you have got a basic understanding of the ins and outs of blogs, and some options available, you’re probably wondering: How does this help my business? How does it help me to stand out?

1. Team Communication. Companies use blogs internally to communicate project status to stakeholders and managers. It beats clogging everybody’s email with mass broadcasts. It allows these missives to be archived, indexed and easily searched.

2. Enrich Your Clients.
You can easily link to articles and resources relevant to your readers and their needs. You can more easily attract experts to provide value-added content to your audience.

3. Get to Know Your Customer. Nobody buys from someone they don’t know. Blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise and point-of-view quickly and easily. In addition, blogs allow the customers to receive your updates in the format they choose.

4. Collaborate. You can create your own marketing buzz to drive attention and buyers to your products and services. Some companies use internal blogs to report on projects or to track work groups distributed around the world.

5. Research and Development. Weblogs are the perfect forum to test out new ideas and receive instant feedback. You can allow others to see how you develop your products and services, and at the same time, they can tell you how best to serve them.

6. Go Global. Blogs, like other online media, allow you to take your business and ideas to a global market. Translation services are getting better every day, allowing more people to read online content in different languages. I’ve helped bloggers from New York to New Zealand, from Indiana to India.

7. Hidden Entrance to the Press. Journalists are busier than ever and blogs provide a virtual directory of pundits on any topic. You and your company can be the content expert they’re looking for. Furthermore, if your company is talked about in the blogosphere it could end up using that exposure as a back door to the press.

8. Get Published. Publishers are turning to blogs to find new writing talent. Blogs can give a publisher a taste of your writing style as well as a sample of your depth of knowledge. Content specific blogs show a a commitment to a certain topic or subject matter.

9. Write your book. Let your readers help you write your latest book or article. Post chapters or ideas, then let readers help you in researching, testing and suggesting ideas. Or, use a blog after your book is published to update the material or to answer questions from readers.

10. Success Stories. Invite clients to blog about their successes with your products and services – it’s like a living testimonial that never ends. As clients share their experiences, your prospects can see first-hand how you can help them, too.

Blogging can run your entire web site

Blogging is a term that means different things to different people. To some people it means keeping an online journal. To others blogging is about creating a community of people who can contribute to a growing discussion on a specific topic. To me, however, blogging is about creating and running an entire web site. That’s because blogging can actually be used as a complete content management system for almost any web site.

There are several reasons why you should consider using blog pages to run your entire web site. These include:

* You can make changes to your web site content without the need for specialist software

* You can make changes to your content from anywhere you can access the web; you don’t need to be at your PC.

* You can make changes to content quickly – more quickly than with software.

* You can make changes to content without incurring cost – unlike using a web design agency.

* You can use blogs to create content with colleagues, working as a team – something that’s more difficult and more costly with software.

All of these benefits can be obtained free of charge using Blogger.com to run your pages. To use Blogger.com as a content management system, take the following steps:

1. Create a web page template for your entire site.

2. Include Blogger.com ‘tags’ for each blog entry within your template. The key tags you will need are: <$BlogItemTitle$> and <$BlogItemBody$>. These tags will insert the title and the text for each item you enter into your blog.

3. Set up each page of your web site as a separate blog using the ‘advanced’ settings.

4. For each blog, use your template code as the template within Blogger.com

5. Post a single entry into each blog, which is the main content for your page.

6. Publish your blog! That’s it!

In the future, you will be able to change the content or add to it, simply by logging onto Blogger.com, choosing the appropriate blog (or page of your web site) and then editing the post item.

People are beginning to realize the potential for content management using blogs. You no longer have to see blogs in terms of a single page that is added to your web site. Instead, you can view blogging as the way you run your web site.

Make Money Blogging

You have created a blog and your blog is dedicated to a niche industry. Have you ever thought that the blog could make money for you? We would look here in this article, ways and means, to make money blogging. Lets first have a look at what are the prerequisites for a blog needed to make money:

1. Blog needs to be dedicated to a niche market.
2. Updated regularly.
3. Enough back links (Don’t worry for it. Directory submission would be enough to begin with)
4. Good blog host or application (blogger, Xanga or typepad recommended), and
5. High quality articles or news items supported with images.

Get the above criteria in place and Hurrah… You are ready to Make Money Blogging.

Top 5 Ways to Make Money Blogging

Lets now take a look at top 5 ways using which you could make money blogging:

1. Google Adsense

Google Adsense delivers text and image ads to the authorized websites/blogs depending on the content of the website. Small code is required to be pasted at proper locations on a web page and Google automatically recognizes the page. Google shares the revenue it gets from the advertisers whenever a visitor clicks on these ads.

Google bills advertisers on price per click basis (PPC). Advertisers are required to pay only when any visitor clicks on their ads. They bid against each other for the keywords in order to receive better placement and thus prices for each keyword differ from one another. It is better to choose keywords for your blog which pays high $ per click.

2. Amazon
Amazon Associate program is another important way to make money blogging. The Amazon Associate program gives opportunity to website/blog publishers to promote any product from its inventory by adding a predefined code to their website/blog, which, when clicked by a visitor, takes them to the relevant product page. Once the visitor buys the product, the blog owner will be compensated with a commission.

3. Blogads
You can use Blogads as an effective tool to have a better control over the advertisers in your blogs. You can analyze and compare your profits with any one of your online agencies. Blogads can be simply specified as an advertising service used for the web logs or blogs. From the total money generated by Blogads, it retains 20% of it and the remaining money is paid to you through PayPal or checks.

Alternative Services:

• Crispads is another useful network focused on the blogs. You can put your advertisements in their blogs using Crispads. You can move through their RSS/ATOM feeds that help in generating revenues.

Users can place their text-based ads in the site within minutes and the ads will be displayed instantly on the website.

4. Affiliate Programs
Your affiliate programs can help you earn a lot of money for selected products and services. Lot of websites offers you to become affiliate members. These affiliate programs can provide a better reach and an in-depth exposure to the products. The commissions for the sales differ according to the quality of the product, sales and marketing strategy involved. You can gather information related to the commissions by looking into the catalogues of Link Share and Commission junctions.

5. Text Links
Text links has emerged out to be the best form of moneymaking source that you can use instead of cluttering or crowding the page with ads. You don’t have to make these text links prominent within your website. This link can act as an extra value to your site and will also help to promote the rankings of other sites. In most of the cases you will find these text links placed in the bottom of the web pages. The best part of this strategy is that the publishers send and accept links as the market continues to grow.

Blogging for Dollars

Blogging for dollars might sound like the latest game show or some new drinking game, but it’s the latest craze to hit the Internet. Bloggers began blogging for a number of reasons, but as the blog movement has increased in popularity, they have found ways to monetize their blogs and are seeing their commitment pay off.

Whether a blogger’s focus is to communicate with customers or just to have fun, they have begun looking at ways to earn revenue from their blogs. The most popular ways for bloggers to earn some added cash for their pet projects are:

1. ) Google Adsense in Blogs

Google AdSense allows webmasters to dynamically serve content-relevant advertisements in blogs. If the visitor clicks one of the AdSense ads served to the blog, the website owner is credited for the referral. Webmasters need only to insert a Google-generated java script into the blog or blog template. Google’s spider parses the AdServing blog and serves ads that relate to the blog’s content. Google uses a combination of keyword matching and context analysis to determine what ads should be served.

2. ) Affiliate Programs (Product Endorsements)

Affiliate Programs work when an affiliate web site receives income for generating sales, leads, or traffic to a merchant website. Generally, bloggers will mention or endorse specific products and if site visitors purchase the product, bloggers will receive a portion of the sale.

3. ) Product Promotion

Businesses use blogs to detail how specific features or product add-ons can increase functionality and save time. Content-rich product promotion will help with search engine placement.

4.) Banner Ads

While less popular than in the past, websites with high traffic levels can still earn decent revenue by selling banner space.

As the Internet evolves bloggers will continue to seek out ways to monetize their opinions and thoughts. Daily journals and online blogs have become more than just a communication means to many.

Should You Get A Blog?

A blog is a type of website. It allows the website owner to easily write messages that get posted to the site automatically, often in a journal or diary-like style. A particularly appealing thing about blogs is that your readers can comment back to your posts fairly easily, and a continuous stream of fresh conversations result. (This is a good thing.)Here are three reasons to consider getting a blog:

1.To Replace Your Ezine

If you currently publish an ezine, you may wish to consider replacing it with a regularly published blog. This means using your blog to publish journal entries, and then when it comes time to communicate with your subscriber list, you excerpt some items from your blog, and send those out as your ezine.

This saves you from creating special articles only for your ezine. In many cases it becomes easier for you to write in blog format (short and sweet) so you save time. Readers enjoy the practical, “reporter-like” nature of blogs instead of ezines, and gradually come to feel that they are in conversation with you on a daily basis. You become part of their everyday circle of friends and associates, which leads to you becoming their natural resource on the topic of your expertise.

2. To Create a Quick and Dirty Learning Environment or e-Campus

For those of you who offer TeleClasses or other programs that want to have a web page of learning resources, links, class notes and audio, etc., a blog can be a great way to bring together an e-Campus.

If you offer a workshop, coaching/consulting, or even a software solution, and you want to instantly add value to your clients, create a “client/student resource page” using a blog. This becomes an environment that the students can play in, study more, and soak up your materials. Your clients continue to benefit from your expertise even though you’re not physically there; they do it at their pace, and at little cost to you.

Once again, because blogging makes it easy for you to continually update your website without mucking around with FrontPage or DreamWeaver, you will save time and energy publishing to the Internet.

3.) Just For Fun, And To Be Cool

Let’s face it, a large part of the reason you’re wondering about blogs is because it sounds cool, right? And new stuff is fun. So why not try it just because? Sometimes it’s enough to try something because it stretches you, keeps you limber and awake to possibilities. There’s nothing wrong with playing, UNLESS you fool yourself into thinking your business is improving, or you’re somehow paying the mortgage while you play.

Rest easy, there’s no pressure to get a blog. Not getting one won’t negatively impact your bottom line. So although the technology can be entrancing, stay focused… what are you selling to who? How is it going? That said, do stay curious about new technology. Part of your chosen profession as an online biz owner means modeling for others by staying abreast of new things.

How To Make Money From Your Blog Content

Writing a blog can be fun and exciting, but it can also be rewarding. If you do not know how to make money from your blog content then you need to consider implementing the following suggestions in your blog.

Make Money Tip #1 Adsense
Adsense is an incredible service offered by Google to help you make money and help others advertise as well. Basically, with Adsense you choose several ads that blend or complement the information talked about in your blog. Then, when individuals click on the ads that are present in your blog, you receive money! Best of all, Adsense is free to use on your site, so this is a great opportunity to make money without really having to do very much.

Make Money Tip #2 Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs are another great way to make money as well and work on the same premise of Adsense. The web surfer has to click on the affiliate website’s link and when they do so they are redirected from your blog to the link they clicked on. You will get paid affiliate income for the click, and if they make a purchase when they are on that website you will get paid affiliate income again.

Make Money Tip #3 Blog Ads
Blog ads can help you make money as well. Blog ads are not too different from Adsense or Affiliate marketing, but they are in the sense that blog ads connect web surfers with advertisers. Then, when any ad placements are made a commission is exchanged.

Make Money Tip #4 Business Blog

You can use your blog to simply converse about any topic that is important to you, but you can also use your blog as a tool to help you make money. Advertise your business services; make your blog a business blog by focusing at least part of your blog on your business services. This way, you can still communicate whatever it is you need to and make money as well.

When it comes to making money from your blog you can do so easily with these tried and true tricks of the trade. Whether you utilize Adsense, affiliate marketing, blog ads, a business blog, or a combination of all of the above, you will certainly benefit and make money. Don’t delay and start implementing these types of money making strategies in your blog today. Not only will you make money, but your blog will become more popular as well.

Top 10 Tips for Blogging

Tips for creating a blog.
There are no hard and fast rules on how to blog. Having said that, bloggers will likely increase their exposure by following some simple blog guidelines.

1.) Stay on topic.
Opinions are generally accepted but the content of the items in the blog should all relate to a general theme. Unless you have an uncanny knack for wit, humor or cynicism, the majority of your readers will be interested in the content that relates to a specific defined theme or loosely defined area of interest. Most readers won’t care that you eat Cheerios for breakfast. They may, however, be interested in the fact that vinegar takes out stains and that toilet paper rolls make great wreaths. Define a topic and stick to it. This will ensure that you create a loyal following of interested readers.

2.) Stay informative.

If you are attempting to create the impression that you are knowledgeable about a specific industry or sector, be sure that you stay current on news. If you are endorsing a product or voicing an opinion, be sure to check your facts; your reputation is at stake. If you are offering an opinion, be sure to qualify your post, making it clear that the content is intended as an editorial.

3.) Old news is not news.

While blogging every day can be a drain, it is important that the information presented is current and accurate, writing an article or blurb about something that happened 6 months ago, will not be of interest to many. Telling your audience that Martha Stewart was convicted and will be going to prison, after her sentence is completed will make people question the value of your columns.

4.) Adhere to a schedule.

Create a schedule and stick to it. Realizing that blogging requires time and effort, don’t create unrealistic expectations and be unable to deliver. An occasional lapse or holiday is generally understood but readers returning to find stale, out-dated content are going to find another blog with similar content. New blogs and RSS feeds are popping up on a daily basis. If you have worked hard to develop an audience and a community you don’t want to lose them due to lack of communication.

5.) Clarity and simplicity.

Keep your posts and blog entries clear and easy to understand. Remember, the web is global and expressions, idioms and acronyms don’t always translate. Sometimes a little explanation goes a long way.

6.) Keyword-rich.

If the goal of your blog is to increase your visibility, include related keywords in the title of the blog. Use the title as a headline to attract interest. Each item post should have a title that will attract attention but still be relevant to the post. The title should be no longer than 10-12 words.

7.) Quantity matters.
In order to attract the attention of search engines, you will need to develop content and substance. A headline or simple sentence is not going to generate the interest of readers or help with search engine ranking. Be sure to archive old blog posts to develop a large portal of similarly-themed content.

8.) Frequency.
If your blog content is updated frequently, search engines will tend to spider the pages at regular intervals.

9.) Spell checking and proof-reading.
It only takes a few extra moments and can save you from having to make embarrassing explanations. Remember that whatever you publish on the Internet can be found and archived. Think carefully about what you post before doing so.

10.) RSS.
RSS will increase your blog’s reach. It is important that you include your blog’s content in an RSS feed to increase readership and distribution.

Most weblog audiences are small, but with time and regular updates audiences grow. Bloggers may never have more than a few hundred readers, but the people who return to regularly are generally interested in what you have to say.

Should You Create a Website or Blog for Your Special Event?

A special “Event Website” might be a perfect way to promote your event. But is it worth the effort?

Let’s say your company or group decides to hold a special event six or twelve months down the road. Eventually somebody on the planning committee will suggest the group create a special website for the event: “We can create an online registration form, include information about the special speakers and entertainment, post a schedule, and provide links to accommodation, travel agents, etc., etc.”

Sounds like a good idea.

But how can you maximize the effectiveness of such a site? Will it be something that people actually refer to and use? Or will creating it just be a waste of time and effort? Do you have somebody in the group who can get this kind of site up and running quickly? Or will you have to defer to your already overworked company webmaster or the same creative volunteers who are always exploited for such projects?

And will anybody apart from a few select insiders (your committee members) actually be able to find the site once it is set up?

Some important issues to consider

Here are some of the more important issues to consider before you go ahead and create another website that nobody looks at.

1. Will its content be “deep” enough to make it more than just an online announcement? Many websites start out as good ideas, but quickly fizzle when their creators realize they don’t really have much to say. In the case of event websites, the “depth” of a proposed site will depend on the event itself.

For instance, say your Agricultural Society is running a Fall Fair. Wouldn’t an event site be ideal for providing details about competition categories, judging criteria, daily schedules of events, as well as online registration forms, entertainment highlights, and general program notes? In other words, an extended event of this sort provides lots of fodder for making a site “deep” enough to be a valuable resource for visitors and participants alike.

On the other hand if your committee is in charge of organizing a one night Fireworks Display, then chances are the program will be pretty light. There’s not much need for a complete website. You would be better off just creating a web page or an announcement and asking the webmasters of relevant sites to give you some exposure.

Of course there are lots of events right in the middle between these two examples. Family Reunions, for instance. What could be better than a “Jones-05.org” site? You could include contact information, program descriptions, historical photos, comments from family members across the country…on and on it goes.

2. Should your “site” be part of another already existing one, or should you register a new domain specifically for your event?

Say you are organizing the 50th Anniversary Some Company Picnic. The Company already has an active website — www.something.com. And the company website already has a skilled webmaster. Would it be better to ask your company webmaster to put your event in a directory on www.something.com — for example, www.something.com/50th, or www.50th.acmewidgets.com? Or would you be better off to create a brand new “domain” just for the event — something like www.something50.com?

First of all, don’t worry about the cost to create your own site. Yes, it does cost something to register a new domain and find a host. But these costs are insignificant in the larger scheme of things. You can register a “.com” domain for as little as $9.99 (per year), and an .info or .biz domain for as low as $11.99 or less. And hosting is very cheap as well. The standard these days is about $4.19 per month for a reliable host. Here is an inexpensive source for domains.

Much more important is whether or not your group has the know-how to actually create a website from scratch and then maintain it for a year or more. If you have an experienced web designer or webmaster on your committee he or she will probably be able to set the group up for next to nothing. If you don’t, I suggest you find one before tackling the job. This is not the time for flying by the seat of your pants.

If you are able to find someone with the necessary skills, then it’s a no-brainer. Go ahead. Register your own domain and build your own site. You won’t have to beg your overly protective company webmaster for favors. And just as important, you will be able to register a memorable domain name that will help you in your promotional efforts. Which do you think would be easier to remember and find: www.something.com/50th or www.something50.com?

3. Should you create an Event Blog instead of a normal website? Or both?

Blogs have several advantages over “ordinary” websites. First, you do not need a dedicated domain name, or even space on an already existing site. You can create a perfectly satisfactory blog site on one of the free blog services such as Google’s own blogspot.com.

Second, blog entries are usually easier to make than changes or updates to a normal website. Blog posts are made by using a web form. No knowledge of html is required (although it is helpful), and you do not have to use mysterious computer functions like “FTP” to “upload” your files to a server somewhere out in cyberspace.

Third, blogs have a more “happening” chatty feeling about them because they are generally less formal. You bang your posts off as regularly as you can. This allows you to issue regular updates to keep your readers informed as plans develop, schedules change, and so on.

Fourth, blogs have some advantages as far as “networking” and traffic generating are concerned. There are many directories where you can list your blog, and you can network with like-minded bloggers — other people interested in your subject matter. You can also use your blog to do some serious “power linking”.

The down side is that a blog may not be the best place to keep your definitive schedules and descriptions of events — the ones you expect people to refer to as authoritative sources of information. This is more a matter of perception than reality. A blog is quite capable of being home to “static” information which you can readily update and provide links to. But the perception may be that this is transitory and changing.

Corporate Blogging: 7 Best Practices

Blogs have become one of the hottest communication tools on the Web. Offering the opportunity for anyone to create their own free Web site, encouraging opinions and interaction, blogs provide forums for individuals to create their own highly personal presentations to the Web audience. They also provide for consortia of all types to experience the sort of online community feeling that was pioneered by early newsgroups and by the phenomenal success of AOL in the 1990s.

Blogs have reached into the corporate and government sectors as well. What started out as an outlet for teenage expression and grassroots journalism has turned into a lucrative communications tool for small and large businesses alike.

Corporate Blogging refers to a company producing or supporting a blog that it uses to accomplish business objectives. As with anything, there are certain “best practices” to be followed to ensure your company reaps the maximum benefits. These seven tips guidelines will help make your blog a success.

1. Fine Print. Blogging can lead to legal issues. Companies should have real concerns about liability, exclusions and limitations, and indemnity. Although there are laws that protect against libel, misappropriations and other injuries suffered as a result of posts on the Web, companies can still be held “vicariously” responsible for statements made by employees that are harmful to others. Since there are so many legal issues surrounding blogs, it is imperative that the site has some sort of disclaimer and limitation of liability.

2. Know What You’re Doing. Senior management should be educated by the corporate communications and legal department about what blogs are and how they might affect business. That way, they can be contributing members of the blog, further improving employee relations. Their support and participation is often what makes a blog more effective.

3. Create blogging policies. In any medium where an employee is sharing information, there is the possibility of leaking trade secrets or financial information. Blogging also has a tendency to become personal. A company should have a list of policies regarding blogging to ensure that trade secrets are kept secret and personal lives do not become public. Policies may include keeping financial information from being posted, as well as severe consequences for anyone using the blog for negative publicity.

4. Avoid the Marketing Blog. Making your blog into a blatant marketing campaign is a bad idea. Customers are looking for real answers and honest opinions. They will pick up on insincerity instantly. Use the blog for what it’s for, transparency. This is an opportunity to make a real connection with your customers. Don’t ruin it by filling it with empty advertising.

5. Keep It Fresh. Blogs are usually judged by their amount of new content. Easy to add on to, they are designed to be updated constantly. To keep your readers coming back, make your content relevant and timely. Don’t forget, content can include anything from product releases to job openings, recent news to thoughts from the CEO. It’s practically impossible to run out of material.

6. Reinforce the company’s core values. Use your blog to reflect your company’s inner soul: its mission, goals and direction. A blog is just another medium by which you interact with your customers and employees. It’s another part of the brand experience. It should be consistent with the impression the company wants to make.

7. Encourage employees to use it. Create an atmosphere where they are comfortable asserting their opinions and concerns. You’ll be surprised how the quietest employees will speak up when given such an opportunity. With all communication, blogging can become negative, so remind employees of the public nature of the blogs and the ramifications for their actions.