March 22nd, 2009 by admin
It’s not a secret that we are huge WordPress secrets for blogging, especially since we have been offerring SEO blog templates for WordPress for years. If you are an expert you already know that WordPress has Meta tags and other built in amazing tools for SEO. You know that WordPress.org offers the MU (Multi-User), and the blogging software for FREE. Which always catapults the most feature rich blogging tool in to being #1.
So Why is WordPress.com the best blogging platform? Because it helps you setup a blog on your own domain for custom hosting within minutes and only $15/year (yes that is a year), DID WE MENTION INCLUDING THE DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION? YES, THAT IS TRUE.
Some of us are not technical, and so the fact that WordPress.com hosts our free blogs is great, but we really want to be professional and blogging on our own domain allows us all to do that. So the fact that it is super easy is another best feature. Folks, I tried and spent hours on TypePad the (self proclaimed professional blog), it stinks. I was willing to pay the $149/year (thank god they did not charge my credit card), but it was too rigid, templates were not professional enough, and the SEO was weak. I expected so much more, but I would have just settled for an easy interface, but they simply made things hard for me to navigate. Also TYPEPAD fees are non-refundable, so DO NOT BUY or Pay full in advance they do not prorate your monthly payments. After the 14 day trial, you are literally hosed, stuck with their weaker blogging system.
Blogger and Blogspot are easy and Ok, they also allow domain hosting, for free I think. Blogger blogging platform, is owned by Google, so it’s not that bad, nothing Google does is bad. It simply does not have the features and customization that WordPress.com blogging has.
Anyway, It’s taken me a few days to blog about this topic as I have been busy blogging about my wife’s book Mommy’s Little Money$Maker, an Inspiration Guide for Mom’s to start a business or earn a part time income. Check it out at MomBite.com, she has been blogging their every day. She plans to provide a daily MomBite, a featured business owned and started by a Mom that can help to inspire other Mom’s. Enjoy and don’t be afraid to pass it on to other Mom’s. Thanks!
Posted in blog, Blogger's Block, Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, Blogging Terms, blogspot, Books | No Comments »
March 9th, 2009 by admin
The simple answer is no, but they can be. And there is a fine line that people are crossing, and Google has punished them for it. The whole concept is one of pay per post or blogs that are written to endorse products or services. Especially if they are not publicly disclosed, and a no-follow link has been placed. The concept is regulated pretty heavily by Google, and violators are punished by loosing their organic rankings. I think this holds true for both bloggers and advertisers. So disclose publicly if you have any advertisers or endorsements. For example, we don’t have any advertisers or endorsers, but we promote our own Marketing book and heaters on a different site. And are always blogging about those relevant topics. So I think we are OK. A lot of this depends on how strick and far Google wants to take it. This is another reason, why we should have a democratic search system, and why I am starting to support Live.com and It’s new name of Kumo.com, if that is it’s new name.
The issue of No Follow Link and Blogging and Advertising gray line got highlighted last week when Forrester published a report on blogging and marketing. See attached blog post to dwell in to the issue in detail: http://blogs.forrester.com/marketing/2009/03/sponsored-con-1.html
Posted in Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, Uncategorized | No Comments »
July 25th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
Almost all bloggers are going to encounter critics at some point, especially bloggers who are passionate about their topics and committed to sharing their ideas with the world. Passion and conviction can polarize people, and it takes courage to publish your thoughts, especially if your topics are in any way controversial.
Criticism is a Fact of Blogging Life
A thick skin is vital to participating in blogosphere, because you are opening yourself up to criticism in the form of comments and emails, and even if you don’t enable comments or provide a way for your readers to contact you, that won’t necessarily stop them from talking about you – but isn’t that why you started a blog? To make people aware of you and your company? However, it’s important to differentiate between constructive criticism and flames (criticism for the sake of being derogatory or insulting, essentially taking cheap shots in order to pick a fight).
Examine Your Critics
Basically, you have to understand the source – know when to take someone’s opinion seriously and when to dismiss it as a mere feedback. For instance, you’d take the opinion of an expert in your field much more seriously than someone completely unfamiliar with it, so take a look at who is doing the criticizing. Also, pay attention to the numbers – are many of your readers disagreeing with you on a particular point or is there is a lone dissenter? Remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, and if you try to do that, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with a bland, entirely forgettable blog.
Be Open to Change
No matter how much expertise you have, it’s always important to be open to new ideas and concepts. In fact, that’s one of the many reasons blogging can help you achieve your business goals – it’s a continual learning process that forces you to keep up with the latest news and trends in your field, and exposes your ideas to many more people than any other method. Blogging is a form of media, after all. By publishing your thoughts, you’re inviting others to join the discussion, and they may have some amazing knowledge to share.
Posted in Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, Creating Content, General, PR Blogging, public relations, Stickiness | No Comments »
July 24th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
Blogging is essentially a social, conversational medium, so it only goes to follow that you can’t successfully blog in a vacuum. You have to read and respond to other bloggers, link to outside websites, and be aware of what others in niche are talking about by participating in the popular social media networks.
Basically, you have to read at least as much as you write. First of all, reading and absorbing the work of talented writers is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to developing your own writing voice. It only goes to follow that, if you want to get the most out of your blog, you have to read other blogs as well. Besides, being aware of the current popular topics in in the blogosphere is valuable, and you’ll never know where you’ll pick up a great tip or two.
You don’t even necessarily have to read tons of blogs about blogging (although as your Blogging Coach, I would say that you should definitely keep an eye on a few meta-blogs); useful, well-written advice and positive examples can be found on blogs in any niche. It’s also important to check out blogs that discuss similar topics to yours, so you can pick up on market trends and see if anyone has written, linked to, or created anything interesting.
One of the key differences between blogging and more traditional forms of media, marketing, and public relations is that it’s a two way street. Yes, your readers can and will respond to your posts in the comments, but other bloggers can write responses on their blogs too. Reacting and sharing opinions are a key part of participating in the blogosphere, so it’s not only useful, it’s imperative that you read at least a few other blogs.
Don’t think that you have the time to read? Try subscribing to your favorites and scanning them in a reader (I personally prefer Google Reader, but there are tons of options out there), or tagging posts that intrigue you with a “toread” tag in del.icio.us and coming back them when you have time to spare.
What other blogs do you read? Do you read them for news, education, inspiration, or entertainment (or a mix of all the above?)
Posted in Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, General, Link Building, PR Blogging, Social Media Networks, Stories, Why Blog? | 1 Comment »
July 19th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
Like I said in my last post, it’s important to remember that most of your readers don’t know you in real life, and they may not be particularly familiar with your field and its buzzwords, particularly if you’re blogging to promote your business (you want them to stick around and get to know you, not click away to look for a different source of information).
Therefore, you may want to avoid using highly technical or niche-specific terms without clearly defining them for your readers, or at least pointing them to a good definition with a link.
“But what if these are words or phrases that I want to use a lot?” You might ask. After all, defining a term every single time you use it in a post gets old – and overly wordy – real quick. Plus, you don’t want to turn off the readers that are more knowledgeable about your topic area by constantly explaining the same things. That also gets old fast.
So what’s a smart business blogger to do?
For starters, you can create a FAQ (frequently asked questions) or a dictionary for readers who may be unfamiliar with your niche but still very interested in the topic. This is also a good way to build some cornerstone content that other bloggers will link and readers will bookmark because it’s such a quality resource. In fact, it could end up being the most important and popular page on your blog.
If/when you decide to create a dictionary, it’s probably best to post it as a page, so that it remains outside the chronology and hierarchy of the rest of your blog. Besides, then it will remain on the sidebar or header and be clearly visible to your visitors, and you can update it without interrupting the flow of your blog.
For an example of a dictionary page, look no further than my own blog dictionary, which I created after getting questions from readers about some of the terms I used. Although I’ve covered plenty of the phrases that you’ll come across in the blogosphere, it’s an ongoing project as new buzzwords crop up and I come across more words that might require clarification for newbies.
Of course, you don’t have to write anything as lengthy as I did, but a FAQ or dictionary could go a long way towards teaching people about your topic, proving your expertise in your niche, and ensuring that your readers stick around because you’re providing them with valuable content. Yes, it is likely that they could find similar information on other sites, but you’ve got all the info in one place and it’s nicely organized. You make it easy for them, and they’ll reward you by bookmarking your site, recommending you to others, and even becoming customers or clients.
Posted in Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, General | 1 Comment »
July 5th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
Chances are you’ve heard the terms “web 2.0″, user-generated content, and social media networks being thrown around before, and you probably have a decent idea of what they mean (if not, check out my dictionary of blog related terms). However, you may not be sure how to use the social media networks for your business – to blogcast your brand, because the blog is the center of it all.
Think of your brand/business as a solar system – your blog is the sun, and the rest of the social media sites and applications as planets orbiting around it. You may have profiles on the other networks, videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr, and use social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and digg, but it all revolves around your blog (be sure to put links to your blog in all your profiles, but you already knew that, right?).
There are two main forms of social media that can be quite useful for bloggers – networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Linked In) and bookmarking sites (Stumble Upon, Reddit, and my personal favorite, del.icio.us).
The networking sites are kind of self-explanatory; they are not that far removed from your actual network of friends, associates, and colleagues, except that they are virtual and you can see everyone else’s networks too. Besides the fact that it is simply convenient to have everyone’s profile info at your fingertips, these sites can also be useful when it comes to reconnecting with old colleagues and accquaintances, and for learning more about new friends. While you don’t need to maintain a presence on every social networking site on the web (you wouldn’t have time to do anything else!), it’s helpful to be involved in one or two that are popular in your business’s niche, e.g. fashion types with Iqons and anything music or entertainment related with Myspace.
Bookmarking sites are useful for bloggers in the both the promotional sense (having your content listed on the sites brings in readers) and in the personal sense – you can bookmark and tag your favorite sites and articles and access those bookmarks from anywhere, and if you work from multiple computers your bookmarks will be synched. I personally like to bookmark and tag any articles that would be good blog fodder, so bookmarking sites can help beat blogger’s block as well. Social bookmarking sites are also excellent tools because they enable you to check out what others in your niche are reading and what they thought of it. Popular forums can function in a similar fashion (be sure to put a link to your blog in your signature line!)
Last but not least, there is Technorati, the blog index that has become so much more. Technorati lets you see who has linked to your blog and how recently, what other sites they have linked to, who they have favorited, and so on. There’s also an authority ranking (how many sites have linked to a particular blog). It’s a good way to keep track of which bloggers are saying what, and how other bloggers are reacting to it.
The key idea to remember is that the social networks are a community – you have to participate, learn the mores, and in some cases, follow the rules (for example, many forums have certain codes of conduct and behavior, so check out the regulations before you jump in and post). Even if you’re a natural rebel, you have to learn the rules before you can break them. Like any other community, virtual or not, you have to learn to listen as well as speak.
Posted in Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, Branding, Getting Started, Links, marketing, PR Blogging, public relations, Social Media Networks, Web 2.0, Why Blog? | 3 Comments »
June 29th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
No one really likes to be on the receiving end of the hard sell – it’s awkward and annoying for everyone involved, really. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid engaging in such off-putting activities, thanks to the many promotional tools and techniques out there on the net.
Blogging, is a particularly good way to set up a passive but constant soft sell. Now, you might be thinking: “Of course you’re going to say that! You write a blog about blogging!” Guilty as charged, but it doesn’t change the fact that blogging can indeed be a valuable marketing tool. It lets potential customers find you on their own time and get to know you and your products or services at their leisure.
See, blogging is a two way street. Instead of just broadcasting your message at a captive audience in the manner of most traditional advertising, you’re communicating with your readers instead of talking at your potential customers. The blogosphere is a community, and for your blog to be as successful as possible, you have to participate, even if you’re blogging about your business. Actually, especially if you are blogging about your business.
The key to using your blog as a marketing tool is not to think of it as such, at least in the traditional sense. Besides telling your readers about your business and products, share other details about your life and link to other blogs, articles, and websites that you like. By blogging about varied but related topics you can prevent your blog from being a one-note-wonder. After all, would you want to read a blog that only consists of tons of remarkably similar posts harping on the same product? It’s the blogging version of the smarmy, pushy salesman who gets in your face and refuses to let you leave without making a purchase – but on the web, readers can escape the hard sell with just one click.*
Think of your blog as a mini-portal to your niche. Let your readers start with your blog, check out your latest posts, and then continue on by clicking on your links (naturally, you should link to things that support your message and your brand). Remember that blogging is a dialogue, it is dynamic, and it is interactive, so update often and answer comments and questions. Also, remember that your readers are probably pretty savvy and they can tell when a blog is straight-up propaganda. The best way to draw readers to your blog is to create interesting, useful, and compelling content, and do it regularly. Of course, that is also the hardest way – but that’s what your blogging coach is here for.
*You may have already seen this, but the Cluetrain Manifesto is worth checking out – and getting on.
Posted in Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, Blogging Techniques, Links, marketing, PR Blogging, public relations, Writing | No Comments »
June 14th, 2007 by Blogging Coach
Blogging is a powerful tool that can have a major positive effect on your business and your life in general, but it’s important to remember the opposite side of the coin.
Here’s a list of things not to do on your blog:
1. Make tons of spelling and grammar mistakes. Yes, not everyone’s a natural writer, and a error or two on your blog probably won’t end your career, but lots of mistakes will make you appear less intelligent in the eyes of your readers. Use the spellcheck button and try to get someone else to proofread your blog once in a while, because fresh eyes may pick up undetected errors.
2. Use lots of widgets/flash/general design clutter. Keep your blog sleek, clean and easy to read – the goal is stand out because of the content, not because of flashy design (unless you’re a graphic designer or in the visual arts – then you can go a little crazy).
3. Get overly personal on a business blog. Mentioning outside interests and sharing some personal quirks is good (no one wants to work with a robot), but spare the web the details of your love life and anything else that could be considered TMI – too much information. On all my blogs, I like to ask myself “would I be embarrassed if my mom/grandmother/boss read this?” if there’s any question about whether I should post something.
4. Rant and rage excessivly about well, anything. You don’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows, but an overly negative attitude or overwhelming vitriol will scare people away (or possibly keep them around for the wrong reasons if you manage to post about things you abhor in an entertaining manner).
Fortunately, there are a lot more “do’s” than “don’ts” when it comes to blogging, so tomorrow I’ll be back with your regularly scheduled programming of positivity.
Posted in Blogging, Blogging Don'ts, General, Writing | 3 Comments »