Blogging startup guide
Blogging has rapidly become THE primary traffic generation tool of newbie’s and advanced marketers alike. Its an easy, and efficient way to create and maintain connections with customers, staff, colleagues and peers, and best of all, ensure consistent and easier to link to listings in search engines, and from sites.
Whilst many people are saying that ‘the money is in the list’ – and while that’s still true, there is a certain element of truth in the concept that the Internet is changing in favor of blogs. This change is meaning that though you might not make the same sorts of sales as you do on lists via your blog, but that blogs are still a powerful, and compelling way to make money online – and, of course build your list.
Blogging and list building don’t need to be mutually exclusive of one another either – both tactics compliment one another very deeply and will allow you to extend your reach exponentially. This reach expansion may seem slow at first, but one of the best things about it, is that people will, of course, remember and reference you if you provide serious value to them – something that most new bloggers overlook.
Blogs contain one very powerful concept – interaction. With interaction you’ll find that people are more interested in what you’re saying, and you’ll gain insight into how your market actually works, which, in turn, gives you the ability to drill down even further into your chosen specialty area.
With a little help, planning, and work, you can build an amazing, engaging and useful blog that is a credit to your company and a customer based connection that rewards you, and them with a rich relationship – and rewards you with loyal customers that will follow you to the ends of the earth if necessary.
Depending on your blogging style, you’ll either make friends or enemies – but either way, they WILL comment on your blog. People that comment are more likely to return to your site – and those that return WILL give you the feedback, and basis for more content. Blogs are win win – so why don’t you go out and get one today?
Blogger or WordPress?
The two main hosted blog types, are Blogger and WordPress – you’ll find that whenever a discussion about where its best to host your blog, if you’re not hosting it yourself, that these two are rated the highest.
So which of the two services is better?
Ultimately, both services will offer you a strong and solid base to blog from, but there are a couple of distinct differences between Blogger and WordPress.
WordPress hosted services are not designed to be used for commercial purposes – nevertheless, most people do. You get a choice of themes (and without paying, you can’t design your own theme) and a choice of plugins. You can ‘map’ your domain to the site, for a fee, giving you the appearance of hosting it yourself.
WordPress hosted (at http://wordpress.com) is almost identical to hosting it yourself, other than the obvious ‘bonus’ of not actually needing to look after your install. But its disadvantages include being at the mercy of a third party site, and needing to pay for additional ‘services’. These still cost less than buying hosting and setting the blog up yourself.
Blogger is owned by Google, and is designed around ease of use. You can ‘ftp’ your blog onto your own site, or host at a domain (yourblogname.blogspot.com) of your choice. Blogger doesn’t use plugins, but does let you use your own theme, within certain limits.
A huge community has been built around Blogger, but unlike Wordpress.com they allow commercial based blogs as well as non commercial, which means they are more prone to spam.
In conclusion. If you really can’t host your own blog at your own site, play with both WordPress and Blogger, because ultimately, the main difference will be between which one your more comfortable with. And that’s the one you should use.
The five most important things to do with a new blog
No matter where you blog, or what you decide to do with your blog, there are a couple of ‘must do’ steps.
Step one – make sure you’ve configured everything. There’s nothing worse than having done 99% of the work, only to be let down by the final 1%. To ensure you’ve got the best fighting chance to get the best attention for your blog, you should fill in everything that you can.
This includes any profile settings, and in the case of Wordpress, any plugins or other information that needs to be completed – many plugins and themes require some work to make them usable.
Step two – pick a theme and stick with it. You’ll need to pick a theme that you like and upload it. Making your blog stand out from the rest is a major step in retaining traffic. More importantly, if you make it yours, the you’re more likely to work on it more often.
Adding a theme also makes you appear LESS like a spammer – most spammers don’t personalize their blogs – they stick with a couple of default themes and don’t add much personal information.
Step three – Write some content. When you’re ready to upload the content, you should set it up to create a great archive. Create at least five posts and upload them to your site.
Step four – Promote that content – once you’ve got a nice stock of content up start promoting your blog. Consider using your posts on article sites, exchanges and more – you’ll get more traffic if you diversify, so remember to add your site to bookmarking sites – and, encourage your readers to do so too.
Step five – have fun!
Blogging, ultimately, is about connecting with readers and will give you a reader base to discuss your work with – but it will also allow you to express yourself, make friends, and spread your expertise over the web. But most of all, blogging is enjoyable, so always keep it that way, and have fun!
Using article sites to drive traffic to your blog
Article sites are still, stickiness wise, one of the single best ways to drive traffic and build a name as a expert, all at the same time.
So how does this tie to your blog?
Well, for a start, if you’re blogging on the same topic as you’re writing content on, you should have a fairly good niche to promote into – and can use any of your longer, more coherent posts as article content. But if you want it to work really well, there are a couple of steps you MUST follow.
- Make sure your article is coherent. Blog posts, by their nature are supposed to be less informal than the standard ‘article’ – like you’re having an intimate conversation with a group of friends, instead of a more impersonal discussion with your readers, but at the same time, the best blog posts make TERRIBLE articles. So a blog post that is also going to be used on article submission sites should be both interesting, and slightly more ‘formal’ than standard blog posts.
- Post it on your blog, and add your resource box at the end – you can make it clear that its a free reprint if you want, or you can simply post it in a category for your reprints. That way, you can offer a feed of your reprints too, and include the link in your resource box. Also include the permalink to the post itself in your post – which means you will need to edit the post after posting the first time.
- Wait a month – in that month, submit the article to any bookmarking sites, and ensure that you maximize its impact by encouraging your readers to ‘vote’ for it too.
- Ensure your post is in the search engines by searching for the first line of your article. If its not in the search engines, work on getting it there – read up on site maps and other products designed to get you in the search engines.
- Submit your content to a maximum of 10 reprint sites. Make sure your resource box doesn’t break any of their rules, and make sure that you leave comments OPEN on these posts (if you close them ordinarily.
Following these five steps won’t guarantee your success in using article marketing, but they will eliminate most of the serious beginner mistakes people make when submitting to article reprint sites.
Mistakes that bloggers make
Bloggers make mistakes all the time. But most of them are easy to avoid, and even easier not to create in the first place.
Mistake one – not sticking to the topic of your blog. Blogs are designed around a theme – and the more focused the theme, the more likely you’ll attract interested traffic. Most new bloggers however either ‘cast around’ for a theme, hoping to hit on something that works, or are just scattered in general.
Solution – keep your posts as focused as possible on the overall topic that you set out for your blog.
Mistake two – Not driving traffic to their sites.
Blogging isn’t just about posting content. Unfortunately, most people think that ‘if they build it, they will come’ and thats simply not true. not updating often enough – most bloggers start out really well – they write lots of posts and then, it tapers off. They become discouraged, or worse, they think they aren’t doing ‘it right’. Blogging needs just as much attention as any other site, sometimes more so – and like most sites, unless you hit on something really big, you’ll find that you don’t make much of an impact at first.
Driving traffic to your site CAN be fairly simple though – you can do it by taking part in other sites, and using your url in your sigline, you can comment on other blogs, or bookmark your site – with wide exposure you’ll gain far more traffic than simply relying on SEO.
Mistake three – not connecting with others in your niche
Solution – its important to contact others in your niche, because it gives you a chance to participate in link exchanges. One of the best ways to do this is ‘mutually’ recommend one another’s sites – you can do this, quite simply, by asking the site owner to review your site, and you can do the same. That way, you’ll build a more valuable ‘link base’ for the person you’re reviewing, and though they are creating a two way link exchange with you, the review style link exchange is always more valuable.
No matter what mistakes bloggers make, there’s always a way to fix them – by working on the solution, you’ll find that implementing the solutions will help immensely.