Tag Archives: Web Site

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.

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.

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.

Online Advertising For Dummies

Whether you are checking your email, shopping on a website or just searching for information, online ads are everywhere! A new marketing landscape, the Internet offers a new and cheaper advertising space, as compared to traditional spaces like print, television, radio and outdoor advertising. It’s a revolution of sorts and small and home business owners are making the most of it.

For a home based start up, online advertising is a potent tool that can maximize visibility, drive traffic to the company’s website, up the sales and build a solid brand in the process. Going to an expensive advertising agency to run your campaign would most definitely burn a hole in your pocket. The good news is you don’t have to do that. Just remember the twin mantras of focus on what you want and a strong dose of imagination; and you’ll be on your way.

Take the guesswork out of online advertising

Online advertising is not a function of elaborate guesswork and a myriad of hits and misses. Like the traditional offline version, online advertising must also follow some basic rules. Know what you want your advertising to do, where to get it and what to do with it once you have it. Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  1. Define your advertising objective: Shut the door, switch off the lights, take a deep breath and think why you need to advertise. Clearly define the goals you want your advertising program to achieve. Is it generating new leads, increasing the number of hits on your website, making your company visible in the market place or to increase on/off -line sales? Each goal will have a different advertising path. You can only expect your program to maximize returns, if you know for sure what you want your advertising to do.
  2. Decide “where” you want to be seen: It makes a difference to be seen in the right places. Like in offline advertising, the placement of your ad is very crucial to success. Advertising (Co-advertising for higher benefits) on websites that are most relevant to your line of business would be the best place. Also consider top Search Engines, Online Yellow pages, Service Provider directories and large sites or networks. Explore trade –specific websites for a more focused audience.
  3. Tailor the message for your target audience: when you want the caveman to listen, beat your chest! Craft your message to appeal to the target audience. Your message for a visitor on a trade forum’s website would be different from what you say to the guy clicking on your ad on a home business site. The trick here is to align your message to the mindset of your audience. Equally important is that the message should convey the promotional goals your advertising desires to accomplish. So if you are selling ice to an Eskimo shopping in an Internet mall, don’t forget to mention the discount on your season sale!
  4. Be Creative: In a marketplace teeming with new ads you can easily get clobbered on the head with run-of-the-mill ad copy. Your most valuable asset in this crowd is your creativity, which will make your ad stand out. Be creative not only in the copy, but also in the placement of the advertisement. An online contact lens clinic pulls hundreds of people every day to take an eye test with a simple ad. The small 1” X 2” banner says, “ Think You Don’t Need an Eye Test?” in the same format as you see on the reading sheet in an optometrist’s clinic, with alphabets running vertically in a decreasing order. This is a classic example of a simple but creative idea getting the desired results.

    Add more depth to your advertisement by using rich media like HTML, DHTML, Java and layered ads. Use animated messages doubled with pull down menus for better use of space and for expanding possibilities of response.

  5. Choose the advertising medium well: They say, “Well Begun is Half Done”. If you are going to spend a sizeable amount of money on creating and placing ads, they should do more than just wiggle and pop. To maximize response, choose the advertising medium carefully. You have several choices like banner ads, contextual advertising, ezine advertising etc. Research and read on various formats and the factors for each one’s success. Then decide on what format works best for your campaign. Once you have decided on the format, it is equally important to choose the vendor. If you have decided on banner advertising, research and list the websites that would give you the maximum exposure to the right kind of audience. Check out the option of using advertising networks and the pay-per-click options as well.

    Once your campaign has been set in motion, take care to monitor response and be ready to change or completely redo your copy and the advertising vehicles you use. Keep a track of the ROI (Return on Investment) for every advertising purchase that you make. This way you can figure out which forms of advertising are working for you and which ones aren’t.

All online advertising is aimed at inducing “action”. Every online ad that you see is built to make you act: ‘Register for a free newsletter’, ‘buy now and save dollars’, ‘get a quote on your requirements’…the list goes on. The thing to remember here is that once the prospect has been pushed into an action, there should be real value for him at the other end of the pop- up. Unless you can fulfill the promise your brand is making, your online ad has been wasted.

A well-planned and well-executed advertising campaign can fuel the growth of your home business tremendously. Use online advertising following some simple guidelines and see how it impacts your sales, visibility and brand building, all at the same time.

How To Create Your Own Blog Using Blogger

It takes only a few minutes and is easy to setup your own weblog using the Blogger weblog system. By completing only three simple steps, creating an account, naming your blog and choosing a template, you too can join the thousands of people now blogging on the web. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help to get you started using Blogger

1. Go to Blogger.com and click on the arrow that says “Create Your Blog Now.” You’ll be asked to create a user name and choose a password that you’ll use to access your Blogger account; choose a display name that will be used to sign your posts (e.g., moody mom, blogger, etc.) and provide an email address. You’ll also be asked to check a box indicating that you accept Blogger’s Terms of Service . Then click on “Continue” to go the next screen.

2. On the next screen to name your blog (e.g., The Blog Report, Myrah’s Insanity Report, etc.) You can choose any name you wish. After you choose your blog title, you need to choose your URL address. This is the web address that people can click to access your blog. Again, as long as it’s not taken, you can choose any address you want. Remember, the shorter and easier to spell the better it will be for people to remember. Also remember, that many thousands of people use Blogger to host their weblog and it may take you a while to find a web address that hasn’t already been taken. Finally, for security purposes, you’ll need to provide word verification by typing in the box the word that is displayed above the box on the screen. Then, click “Continue” to move to next screen.

3. On the next screen, you’ll need to choose a template for your blog. This is the design of your blog, what your blog will look like to visitors. Blogger provides 12 different templates to choose from. Pick your favorite. You can change the look of your blog at a later time by choosing a different Blogger template or using of the hundreds of free templates that are available across the Internet. After you choose your template, click “Continue.” Blogger will begin creating your blog.

4. Once it’s created, click on “Start Posting” and write your first post for the world to see. Click on “Publish Post” and Blogger will tell you it is publishing your post. Then click on the “View Blog” tab and you’ll find that you’re officially a member of the blogging world.

The Real Bloggers Must Come From Another Planet

What in the world is up with the world of blogs? Blogs are meant to be this great new technology where people can share their ideas and interests with others around the globe. As far as I’m concerned the state of blogs is one of chaos, confusion, and anti-interactivity. The other day I decided to do some research on the Web and try to connect to some blog writers out there that interested me. Let me tell you it was not an enjoyable task as I had envisioned. I spent four painful hours surfing through around a thousand on-line journals, and I found only a few that interested me. What are we doing out there people?

First of all, just getting to a blog can be a pain in the arse. For example, you type in the words ‘Philosophy blogs’ and a whole bunch of sites come up. Some are conglomerate sites with thousands of journals, but the area you’re searching for may have only one blog in it! This is because they separate the blogs into a million different categories, like ‘love’, ‘lovers’, ‘lovable’ etc. Why not have just a few main categories to choose from?

The next problem is the content. People with ‘philosophical’ blogs are having personal chats with their mates about the local dance competition on Tuesday! Why not go to a chat room if you just want to talk to your friends? Blogs are supposed to be a personal viewpoint expressed to the whole Web community. Wouldn’t you actually like to meet more people like yourself? How is this going to happen if you talk in strange uncommon slang and acronyms that you and your friends can only understand? Please stick to the subject at hand, and take it at least half seriously.

Another major problem is the fact that you can find a really cool blog that sparks an interest, but then find that the writer hasn’t added an entry in over a year! What’s it doing on the Net? Have these people passed away? I seriously doubt it, as there are so many blogs in this ‘lost’ state. Having a blog is a responsibility; it’s a shared diary for the whole community. How can someone form a relationship if you only write in your blog once a millennium?

Back to the subject of content: These on-line journals are a real chance to communicate regularly with others with similar views to yourself. We can learn a lot from each other, as each human is an individual with special traits and skills that only they have. So why do we see so many blogs just talking about trivial nonsense like ‘Who the coolest movie actor is.’ Humanity is an intelligent species evolving everyday towards a higher consciousness. So where are all the thinkers out there, the people who have taken us to the next levels of spirituality and scientific exploration? I’d really like to hear what you’ve got to say, but all I can find are philosophical beliefs on why died pink jeans express one’s true inner self.

The issue of making comments on someone’s blog is also a controversial one. Why have comments sections if you’re not going to reply to people who have expressed an interest in what you’ve had to say? How is this community going to function if all the conversation is one-way! Come on people, wake up and smell the onions! Let’s change the blogging community into the awesome structure of shared knowledge that it was intended for. Please don’t let it turn into the small-talk world of chat rooms.

Blogging On Ecademy Will Boost Your Web Site

For many people blogging is the way in which they are able to update their web site with new information and fresh content. As such, blogs are a great way of gaining returning visitors to your web site.

However, there are other places you can post blog entries which can also affect the popularity of your web site. One such place is Ecademy.com.

Ecademy is the world’s largest online network of people in business. Once you sign up as a member you get access to the blogging system within Ecademy. This allows you to post entries to the Ecademy blog. You can post anything, as long as it is not an advertisement.

However – and here’s the important part – if your blog entry on Ecademy includes a link back to your own web site you will benefit. That’s because Ecademy is one of the world’s most frequently updated web sites; it changes every minute. As a result it is adored by the search engines who re-index Ecademy several times a day in some instances.

This means if you post a blog entry on Ecademy, include in it some keywords related to your site and have a link to your site in your signature, you will be indexed by the likes of Google. Once your link is seen within Ecademy you get a bonus benefit. Not only is your link followed through by the search engines, but because your link is on a high profile site, your site is seen more favorably.

However, you need to ensure that your entry on Ecademy is real content – no keyword stuffing for instance. If your entry is not useful it can be removed by the Ecademy staff. Even if it is allowed, Google will not see your site as important if your blog entry isn’t focused on what your site is about. But if you post entries onto Ecademy which are directly related to your web site you will see search engine benefits.

Furthermore, you’ll also see many people visit your site as a direct result of your link in the Ecademy blog. So, don’t just think of blogging on your own site; add your blog postings to Ecademy as well.