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To Blog Or Not To Blog – A Layman’s View

We have now entered the world of blogs! Sounds kind of Harry Potterish, doesn't it?

If you're over 20 years old, you probably think this is some crazy sci-fi phenomenon, or I've simply lost my mind. Don't fret, the vast majority of people don't know what a blog is all about and more importantly, why it matters to them.

If you're under 20 you can stop reading because you probably know all about blogs, and the value they have in sharing information. You've been trading game-breaking codes, South Park clips, and jokes through blogs for months now or maybe even years.

In a recent article, Johnson Ong quips "I have a blog. Doesn't everyone? You mean you don't? How uncool are you? According to Merriam-Webster, 'blog' was the word of the year last year. Not having your own blog is like not having your own Gmail account. What? You don't have Gmail either? My God, what are you? A caveman!"

Over or under, cool or uncool, I want to address blogs from a business standpoint, and the tremendous value they can deliver to business. There are several reasons that developing a blog is a tremendous strategy for any business.

1) It will increase your web presence significantly the search engines love blogs!

2) It will allow your business to educate customers and prospects about certain subjects, and appear as experts

3) It will raise your business profile with your vendors and other strategic partners, if they are invited to contribute to your blog

4) Other blogs can, and will, take information from your blog, and you will increase your exposure to anyone that participates in the 'taking' blog

5) Blogs accept subscribers, and everyone that subscribes to your blog will be constantly updated (pinged) by you with current information

So What is It?

The full name for a blog is a weblog. It's a repository for articles, newsletters, information, and discussion boards. It's like a 'what's new' page on the internet in whatever subject you choose. When people research any topics that you have on your blog, they may very well end up on your blog through their search. If you've done it right, your blog is of course, fully branded to your company, and linked to your main website.

If you keep current articles, and information on your blog, you will receive hits from people looking for information about those subjects. You will also receive hits from other blogs, and they will then distribute your information to their own audiences.

You will receive hits from contributors of articles or news items, as well as people looking for those particular contributors through a search engine.

Hopefully, you get the picture. Your web traffic should increase exponentially through the proper use of a blog.

Business Blogs

Business blogs have yet to sweep the business community, which presents a significant opportunity to adapt the technology to any business. It will allow you to share expertise and knowledge with a much larger audience, which should create a significant benefit.

There is specific blogging software, and you will have to learn how to create an effective and valuable blog. You will also have to learn how to acquire and produce current industry information to populate your blog with articles that will maintain interest and value. Yes, there is an element of work to it you didn't think it was free, with no effort required, like the mumps did you?

As you add current information to your subject area, or to secondary subject areas that you may include in your blog, your chances of more hits are higher. If you continually contribute self-generated articles and news items to the appropriate subject areas, your chances also increase. In addition, there are sources that allow you to publish their materials, which can be used to increase the value of the blog, and therefore the likelihood of being found on the good old inter-web.

So How Does It Work?

If you still push the Pause/Break button in the upper right-hand corner of your keyboard to request permission from your boss for a visit to the bathroom, you can skip this part. Otherwise, it's really not too hard to follow.

Without getting too technical, there are many web robots (bots), crawlers, and spiders, and similar technologies that have RSS Reader capability. That's the stuff that is specific to blogs. They are basically looking for news, and blogs have that news.

If you do it right, these bots, crawlers, and spiders find your blog, and send information elsewhere, which is just what you want. Your blog is basically yelling at these web 'beasts' to "come on in and take this great stuff I've got."

For example, these web 'animals' include yahooslurp, googlebot, feedstercrawler, pubsub, syndic8, msnbot, newsgator, CP30, & R2D2.

O.K., the last two were Luke Skywalker's buddies, but the rest are real.

It will take 4 to 6 weeks for the search engines to adjust rankings but the ultimate result will be that you will progress up the ladder in the engines in the various topic areas that you feature. When people are searching for technologies or subjects that are being discussed in your blog, they will find you on the search engines.

That should be a hint that you should have content on your blog about the subjects that are most often searched.

When a subject is searched that is covered by one of your branded, self-generated articles, your fully branded information may be pulled to another blog, or to a specific person doing a search in that topic area. You can post that same article on your website, and it won't go anywhere. However, on your blog it gets a shot of super juice, and may just get pushed through any number of doors.

Linking The Benefits Increase Your Brand

When website owners and bloggers (yeah, I'm now a blogger!) think of linking, they are usually referring to inbound links from external websites and blogs. For example, if you had a link to your website on the website of another business.

While adding more inbound links on external sites is important, there is also a sort of 'reverse' link strategy associated with blogs.

Your blog's incoming links will provide another benefit when someone is referred to an article in your blog from another website. For example, through GooglePageRank, the receiving page (you) gets a boost up the search engine when that happens, which helps the blog overall by boosting the popularity of the blog, which in turn is what increases the search results, which in turn drives up the search engine rankings.

What!? I wrote it and I have to read it six times to really follow what I'm saying.

Basically, the more people that visit your blog when they come from other sources, the more likely it is for people to find you when searching for a whole myriad of topics. That type of benefit does not exist with normal website traffic, because those visits don't effect web site rankings on the search engines. But blog traffic that is through a link from another site will drive you up the search engines. There that's much more clear!? As clear as fog in a low-lying bog. Ouch!

Web designer Sue Studios says; "Blogs are highly strategic, here-to-stay desktop tools that can strengthen relationships, share knowledge, increase collaboration, and improve branding. Think of the potential for your e-newsletter strategies:

1) Articles within newsletters can be linked to a blog, extending life and creating a massive conversation

2) You can offer a bi-directional forum to customers to get true, personal opinion on your products and services

3) Company experts can start a blog and become industry experts, helping your company edge out competition and, through this interactive forum, draw customers into another exchange of information and thoughts."

Well, it's snowing out so I think I'll go blogging! Wait, is that something you do in the snow, or is it something you do to stay out of the snow?!

Or is it a Celtic dance? Or should the Steelers have blogged that kick Sunday? I'm confused.

Dennis Schooley is the Founder of Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants, a Professional Services Franchise Company. He writes for publication, as well as for schooleymitchell.blogging,com and franchises.blogging.com, in the subject areas of Franchising, and Technology for the Layman. http://www.schooleymitchell.com, 888-311-6477, dschooley@schooleymitchell.com.

Author: Dennis Schooley
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Home care

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    Thinking about Running a Business Blog

    7 Questions To Ask Yourself BEFORE Starting A Business Blog

    Are You Thinking about creating a Business Blog?

    7 Questions To Ask Yourself BEFORE Starting A Business BlogBlogging is the latest buzzword in online marketing and PR. But with so many marketers jumping on the blogging bandwagon, few people are giving a thought to whether blogs are really up their alley, or taking the time to consider the best ways of going about it. If you are planning to start a business blog, ask yourself these questions before you take the final plunge.

    1. Do you really need a blog?

    Writing and maintaining a blog takes a certain degree of commitment, as well as a passion (or at least a liking) for stringing words into a decent sentence. If you don't enjoy writing that much, you could always create an audio or video blog. But would your business objectives really be served by starting a blog? Or could other methods of online marketing - like SEO, ezine advertising or newsletter publishing work just as well, if not better?

    2. Whom do you want to reach with your blog?

    The first step to reaching your audience is understanding where they go to find information about your products. If your audience largely consists of people who live in your town or use products that they search for in the newspapers, offline advertising might be more suited to your purpose.

    If however, your target audience belongs to one or more of these segments, a blog might be just the thing to boost your business.

    - Internet users

    Does your target audience really use the internet? If not, then starting a blog (or any online activity, for that matter) will just be a huge waste of time and effort.

    - Blog readers

    Does your target audience read blogs? Or do they prefer to get their information in their inbox? If the latter is true, then an email newsletter might be a better option than a blog.

    - Search engine users

    A blog is an excellent way to boost your search engine rankings and get listed for a lot of your target keywords. If you know that your audience uses search engines to find information, a blog will increase your chances of getting their attention.

    - Social media users

    A blog is an excellent way to provide a focal point for your community. Regular content updates through social media networks will help you offer something of value to your community users.

    3. What do you want to achieve with your blog?

    There are a lot of things that a blog can do for your business. Blogs can help you -

    - Increase your visibility and search engine rankings

    - Brand yourself, your products, your services, your company

    - Build a community and network with people who have similar interests

    - Expand your reach to those outside your current sphere of influence - Establish your credibility as an expert or thought-leader in your field

    - Put a human face on your business

    - Reach out to potential customers and stakeholders

    Deciding exactly what you want to achieve with your blog can help you get focused, so that you can spend your time and effort in activities that help, not hinder your business objectives.

    4. How much time can you spend on your blog?

    Serious business bloggers not only spend time writing their own blogs, but also spend a great deal of time reading up on current events and browsing other blogs in their field for information. If you are prepared to put in the time and effort required to do that sort of research, your blog will serve as a good branding tool for your business. If not, you should either hire someone to do the research or seriously rethink your decision to start a blog.

    5. What blogging platform will serve your needs best?

    Deciding your blogging platform is an important step that you should take only after becoming familiar with the features and benefits of each option. The reason it is so crucial is because it can be extremely difficult to migrate an established blog to a new platform once you have started it.

    Moving your blog can result in you losing your data, search engine listings and readers, so don't take this decision lightly. Decide which platform will best meet your marketing objectives, time constraints and personal preferences before you make your first post.

    If you are short on time, and want to spend more time writing, then a hosted solution like Blogger, Blogware, Squarespace or Typepad might serve your purpose better. This might also prove a better option if you want to get started as soon as possible, are new to the internet, or are unfamiliar with scripts or code.

    If, on the other hand, you're a control freak (like me) and don't mind spending some time and effort to customize your blog, then a server-installed software, like WordPress, b2Evolution or Movable Type might be just right for you. If you don't want to install the scripts yourself, choose a hosting solution with Fantastico, which comes with a one-click install of a number of blogging software.

    6. How do you plan to promote your blog?

    Why is it good to know this before you start your blog? Because it will help you decide where best to invest your time and effort when you need to build traffic to your blog. You'll learn more about the methods to promote your blog when you subscribe to the email course below.

    Some of these tasks can be outsourced, while others you would have to do yourself. Decide what you want to take on and look out for service providers to handle the other functions so you can start building traffic to your blog as soon as possible.

    7. How will you assess the success of your blog?

    To determine how successful your blog is in boosting your profile or profits you will have to measure your blog traffic and track sales or leads that have come through it. Planning this in advance will help you take more informed decisions about your blogging metrics, choice of blogging platform and degree of customization you require on your blog.

    Understand that blogging is not for everyone. It's just another form of communication. Don't get so hung up on the technology that you end up ignoring more appropriate ways of communicating your message. Some things may be easier to communicate face to face, in a conference room, or even through the good old telephone.

    But if you asked yourself all the questions above and decided that blogging meets all your objectives, then a blog may be just what the doctor ordered for your business.

    Priya Shah is a former journalist, editor and online publisher, website promotion and SEO copywriting consultant. She runs a content marketing agency that offers optimized content creation and syndication services.

    Author: Priya Shah
    Article Source: EzineArticles.com
    Prof. Servan-Schreiber’s Moving Story on Fighting Cancer

     

    Business Blog Resources available on Amazon

    TIP:   Amazon have some great reviews available on a wide range of  blogging books and references which relate to business blogging in all sots of formats such as paperback, kindle, audio books, videos, downloadable apps and more.
    Check out amazon.com for more information you can aquire about running a Business Blog and get educated before you take the plunge.

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    Successful Blogging

    13 Steps to Successful Blogging

    Blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable tool if used correctly.

     

    Successful Blogging

    Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing the attention of an audience and not doing any actual salesmen selling. In this article you will learn the 13 most essential steps to successful blogging.

     

    1) Where to start?

    You should begin your blog with a free blog hosting service such as Journal Home or Blogger. Starting with a free blog hosting service allows you to begin blogging instantly without having any advance knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. It allows you to focus on your content and not the internal maintenance of the blog. The best benefit of starting with a free service is, in the case your blog doesn't become successful you do not lose any money or are you left holding the bill. The great thing about a blog is that they are organized in chronological order, your latest entry is displayed first. When your blog traffic grows greatly and you are ready to upgrade to your own domain then you can simply make your last blog entry the announcement of your "move". Simply add a last entry stating that your blog has "moved" and type the new blog URL address. Which directs visitors to your new blog site, keeping your following, without a major inconvenience to anyone. Upgrade as you need to...but only when you need to!

    2) Niche

    A niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. You should first decide on a product, service, or topic which interest you. Choose an area which you can enthusiastically write about on a daily basis. You can use keyword research services like Google Zeitgeist or Yahoo! Buzz Index to find popular searched topics. It does NOT matter if your topic is popular as long as there is a audience for your topic and the topic is precisely focused then your blog should be successful. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience no matter how large or how small the audience is. A blog about your cat can be a niche or a blog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market, if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family...you can even choose to build your audience for a market which an audience does not exist, but first you must build your blog.

    3) Update Daily (nothing less)

    This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog daily not only keeps your blog more interesting to readers, but it also gives your blog fresh content on a day to day making it more appealing to search engines. Not updating your blog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most, but missing days at a time or weeks is unacceptable and will most likely result in your blog being unsuccessful. To keep your blog traffic and retain your visitors interest it is a must to update your blog daily with multiple entries. You should try to update your blog everyday with at least 3 or more daily entries. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your blog and adding new entries. It may even be wise to schedule a set time which you dedicate to your blog each day. Give yourself work hours and treat your blog as a job, what happens if you don't come to work for days or weeks...you lose money or worse you get fired! Same applies here...if you don't update your blog for days or weeks you'll lose visitors.

    4) Traffic

    It's no secret. You must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are numerous ways to build traffic. Paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth. You should always use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your blog URL address to search engines and blog directories. You should submit your RSS/XML URL feed to blog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger. You should confidently share your blog with family, friends, co-workers, associates, and business professionals when it relates. Many blogs can be considered as a collection of articles, for this purpose you should submit your blog entries (those that are valuable and lengthy articles) to content syndicators like GoArticles.com or ArticleCity.com. Once submitted your articles can be picked up and published by others. The trick is to make sure you include your Blog URL address in the "About the Author" passage. What this does is create link popularity and backlinks for your blog, when someone picks up your article from the syndication then publish the article on their website the "About the Author" passage is included with each publication and the link you included is followed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. Imagine if your article is popular enough or controversial enough to produce 10,000 publications across the web. The search engines is bound to find your site in no time with that many publications and credit you a authority on the topic, in return increasing your rank on search engines. The small effort of writing a well written article is rewarding. You should try to write at least 1 full length article every week for syndication and submit your article to at least 10 article syndicators.

    5) Track Your Blog

    How do you know if your blog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn't mean your blog isn't growing. Many visitors do not leave comments but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy but with blogs people are more interested in what "you" have to say! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all, but are active daily visitors.

    Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated usually a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com or Active Meter will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the html of your blog template and start tracking your visitors. Its better to use a service which gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking information, referral information, and search engine information. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.

    6) Listen to Your Audience

    When using the proper page counter you should begin to see how others are finding your blog and if through search engines then which keywords are being used to find your blog. If constantly your blog is being found by 1 or more keywords then focus your blog around those keywords to make it even more powerful. When writing entry titles and entries use the keywords as often as possible while keeping the blog legible and interesting.

    7) Multiple blogs

    Use multiple blogging accounts to attract more people. This means you should have a blog with JournalHome.com, Blogger.com, LiveJournal.com, Blog-City.com, tBlogs.com, etc. The more blog accounts the better. You can copy/paste from 1 blog to all others. Having different blog accounts is like having a publication in different newspapers. This enables you to attract more visitors and this also increases the chance that 1 of your blogs will be in the search engine results for your focused keywords.

    8) Short & Concise

    Aside from the lengthy article a week for syndication and publication your blog entries should be short & concise (if you can help it). Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule and you have no choice but to blog lengthy entries, but try to avoid this as much as possible. You do not want your blog entries to become hours of reading. Visitors like to easily find information and skim through your entries. It is good to be detailed and provide useful information, but do not include useless information or run away sentences that veer away from your topic.

    9) Digital Art

    Try to include non-advertising graphics, pictures, photos, and art in your blog entries. Not too much. Once a week is fine. Graphics can sometimes bring your blog to life. Of course, the content of the blog is the most important aspect and you do not want to overshadow your content with graphics, but displaying graphics can add a bit of spice to the blog. Be choosy about your graphics and make sure they fit your entry topic. You should add content with the graphic, at least a caption. Original graphics, photos, pictures, and art is recommended.

    10) Keep it Personal

    A blog is most successful when it is kept personal. Try to include personal experiences which relates to the topic of your blog entry. Stay away from the business style of writing. Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives. Do not write any of your entries as sales letters, instead share product reviews and personal endeavors.

    11) Interact With Your Visitors

    You now have the traffic you deserve. You should begin interacting with your visitors. Create a regular theme such as: "Monday Money Tip" or "Picture of the Week" which entices your readers to look forward to each week.

    Give your readers advance notice about a product, service, or topic which you are going to review and then talk about later. If the President was scheduled to give a speech then in your blog you should state that you "will discuss the speech and give your opinion after the speech airs. Comments will be appreciated".

    Try your best to find exclusive information that not many have. Do not disclose any confidential or secret information which is deemed illegal or can potentially get you into trouble, but try to get the scoop before everyone else does. Such as: If your blog was about Paris Hilton (the socialite) and you had a blog entry about "Paris Hilton Getting Married" then it would be interesting to your readers if you had a actual picture of Paris Hilton engagement ring. Give your best effort to dig and search the internet for exclusive information and you will possibly come up with something useful. Your readers will appreciate this and they show their appreciation through word-of-mouth referrals. Imagine how many readers will tell their friends, family, and others about information they only can find at your blog.

    12) Make Money

    Once your blog has gained some real momentum and your blog traffic is increasing then it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. You should use contextual advertising, like Google AdSense or Chitika. Contextual advertising is usually text links which use the content of your blog to publish targeted ads on your blog. The payout is usually based on a pay-per-click model, meaning for ever click an ad receives you are paid a small percentage of the profits. In addition to contextual advertising it is good to also use graphical advertising such as: BlogAds.com, Amazon.com, MammaMedia, or General Sponsored Advertising.

    13) You're a Professional

    You're a professional now! What are you still doing with that free blog hosting service? It is time to upgrade to a domain hosted solution. You need to get a web host and choose a domain name for your blog then check its availability. Select the blogging software you wish to use, such as: Squarespace.com, WordPress.org, MovableType.org, etc. When you have your new blog domain setup and ready for traffic then it is time for you to announce your move on all your previous blog accounts. Your last entry to the blog should be a "move" announcement. The title should be "Moved" and the blog entry should state something like "Old Blog has been moved to New Blog please follow and bookmark this link for future reference. This way all returning visitors and new readers should not have any problem finding your new blog domain.

    At the level of a professional blogger you may want to team up with 1 or more other bloggers. This will create a more interesting and more powerful blog. The old saying "two heads is better than one", more authors mean more advertising and exposure because each author will have a vested interest in the blog. The idea of a team blog is to make it profitable and rewarding for all authors, while continuing to target the blog topic and keeping the blog interesting for visitors.

    Following these blogging techniques should make your blogging experience much more rewarding. There is no guarantee that your blog will become popular or a household name, but the effort should at least put you one step closer. Making money online is not an overnight experience like many may think, but making money online is definitely a foreseeable possibility. As well, growing popularity on the web is not an overnight experience, but through time, dedication, and persistence you will be rewarded with all the royalties of blogging.

    About The Author

    Ant Onaf is an expet SEO consultant. Ant Onaf has years of SEO related experience. His ingenuity, dedication, and passion for technology, internet marketing, & writing has made him an monumental icon on the World Wide Web. To learn more visit Ant Onaf blog here

    Author: Ant Onaf
    Article Source: EzineArticles.com

     

    Here is a a Youtube Video about Blogging which might be useful. or visit my playlist for more Videos on Blogging

    [youtube_playlist_1_random refresh="every month" playlistid="PL_MyqDqRhdA7wUZe1IvJDIybOWKDurTRm"]

    Amazon have available many resources about blogging.

    There is a wide variety of reviews about blogging and success products available in a variety of formats from books and audio to DVDs, kindle and other ebooks as well as Downloadable Apps and more which you can have delivered almost anywhere in the world!  Amazon is a fantastic resource where you can pick up amazing low priced items and have them shipped to your door or downloaded imediately.
    Here is an example: follow the buy button to read the full product review and check out all the other related material also available.

     

    [ic_amazon category="All" keyword="successful blogging" node="0"]

    How To Make Money From Boxing

    If you want to make money from boxing, I suggest you *don't* follow in the footsteps of Lennox Lewis.

    As I write this in the spring of 2007, it's rumoured that Lewis is considering a comeback in his 40s.

    Lewis is that rare beast, a heavyweight champion who retired with his title intact, but they always say that fighters can't give up, and the lure of a big payday is tempting him.

    It's rumoured that he could get $25 million for one fight.

    Now that's a lot of money, but I don't suggest that you should get into the ring to make money from boxing!
    Let's face it, it is only the very few elite that make a lot of money, and most of them end up broke!

    So, if we're not getting into the ring, how else can we make money from boxing?

    I want to cover 3 methods, including the technique I use.

    Firstly, you could take up boxing promotion.
    Remember how I said that most champions end up broke?
    That's because most of the money seems to end up with the managers and promoters.
    Although there seems to be a lot of money there, this is a route for the long term only - it would take years to build up a business of any note, and then you'd still have to compete against the few who seem to control all the big fights.

    The second method, and this is much more realistic, is to become an affiliate.
    As an affiliate, you don't need a website, you don't need any stock, you simply send traffic to other companies' sites, and they pay you a commission of any sales generated.

    There is a huge variety of things you can be an affiliate for - from equipment like gloves and training gear, to tickets and pay per view subscriptions (this is where the bulk of the Lennox Lewis $25 million would come from.)
    There is also memorabilia, books, dvds, posters, etc.
    In fact one of the consistently best-selling sports posters is of Ali standing over Liston in the ring.

    So although this can be a good revenue source, it has the downside that you are competing with all the other affiliates.
    Great for the company concerned, not so great for the affiliates.

    The third method is the one I use, and it's to provide information.

    Boxing fans will spend money - that's proved by the pay-per-view model, so if you can provide information on how they can earn money to cover their expenses, you have a willing market.

    How about if you showed them how they could earn enough money to make trips to see the fights in person?
    To buy all the books and videos they'd want, to indulge in collecting memorabilia - do you think they'd be interested?

    You bet!
    Information can be produced and delivered without cost nowadays, and this is why I use it myself to make money - there is no reason why you can't too.

    Hopefully you've seen some various ways of making money from the sport of boxing- you can get further details by following the link to my guide below.

    Gordon Bryan is the author of 'Make Money From Sport,' a guide where he takes you through the single technique he uses again and again to profit from any sport - for just $7! Find out more at: http://www.gordonbryan.com/sport

    Author: Gordon Bryan
    Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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