I get writer’s block just like anybody else does and one thing I’ve found which really helps when I want to write is to read.
It’s funny because I could site for hours trying to think of topics to write about and when it’s all said and done I come up empty handed. Very frustrating!
However, I found some time ago, when I just type a keyword into Google on a subject I’m interested in such as music or Internet Marketing I quickly become (continue reading…)
Have you ever found a time when you needed print capability for your WordPress blog?
I have on more than one occasion and when that happens I begin to search for remedies.
The concept of blogging or writing a web-log has been around for quite some time but didn’t really make an impact on the mainstream population till about 1999.
Back then and even now most people wrote blogs for simple personal use as a way to connect with others around the world.
Those in the know, however, understand that blogging can also be used as a powerful tool to promote a business website.
It is not my intention to get into the specifics and technical aspects of blogging within this article because I have mentioned technical aspects in other articles. If you missed those pages you can find them here. Blogging for Success and then 20 Ideas to Help Your Blog’s Popularity. You might also read some of the related posts if time allows.
Instead my hopes are for you to truly comprehend just how important blogging can be to a modern thriving Internet business of any kind.
It has proven to be the most effective and least costly website promotion tool that I have for my business.
Blogging should be used as your way to create your own massive piece of highly sought after Internet Real Estate.
For example…..let’s pretend you have a 6 page business website which markets or sells hunting gear.
You noticed early on that the “hunting gear” niche has a sizable amount of competition on the net.
You’ve already submitted your site to directories, done some social bookmarking and exceeded your website promotion budget but just can’t seem to get over that hump.
One reason you still can’t get the kind of traffic you need to start really rocking is because you only have a 6 page website. Even though the site may be optimized properly, chances are it doesn’t have enough keyword depth and backlinks to both compete with your competitors and raise your site’s trust factor with the search engines.
This is where blogging can really help break things wide open for your business.
If you can find a way to write consistent useful blog articles about your product(s), then link to those website products from your blog articles along with proper keyword application and titles, you will soon notice that your site is becoming quite a bit more popular.
How soon you ask?
It depends on how often you blog and whether or not you apply good on-page optimization technique.
Generally speaking the more you write the higher your traffic will climb.
When traffic goes up more sales are generated for your business.
Sales are good for your business right?
Don’t be intimidated.
After much practice and plenty of frustration you will eventually learn how to find balance between providing great information for your readers and pleasing the search engines as well.
Once you get to that point you will completely understand what an awesome website promotion tool blogging really is.
In the past when I needed images for my blog or website I would try to find free clip-art or other high quality free images to use that would help get my point across. This can get very tiresome when you suddenly find yourself searching and searching to find the right image. Sometimes I would spend hours just to find an image that was only somewhat helpful.
However, recently I stumbled across iStockphoto.com and have never looked back. Yes…I do have to pay for the images now but the quality and selection of the images available seems endless.
I signed up for a free account and the best part is that it is a “pay as you go” program. You basically just purchase credits and the more credits you purchase the cheaper it gets!
So far, I’ve been very happy using the service because the images are of high quality and royalty free. They’re submitted by professional photographers from all over the world.
I guess the most important aspect for me is that when I need to find the perfect image to match my article, I just simply log in and type a phrase or term and the site will instantly generate hundreds or thousands of images that I can use. It makes it so much easier. Then I just download the image and upload it to my site.
Once the image is uploaded to my server I can then add titles, alternative text and links to the page or post where the image is located. Since the images are both high quality and unique they serve to bring additional traffic to my sites.
In the end, my laziness is what made me search for an image alternative but what a difference it has made in traffic and the professional appearance of my sites.
I’m super happy I found them.
Visit iStockPhoto here and enter the following coupon code: AFF15T0ck2011 for 10% off 50 credits or more. $70.00 minimum purchase
It’s been about a year and a half now since I started writing this blog.
I remember thinking to myself……”are you sure you know what you’re doing Dan?” My self replied with a certain……..”Let’s do it.”
That’s funny because, thinking back, it all started out so wobbly and shaky.
To this date I’ve wrote 141 articles on this blog and I stumbled and fumbled my way through the first 20 or so. Some are so poorly written and off the wall that it makes me laugh and smile when I go back and re-visit them.
I’ve never considered myself to be much of writer but as time goes by my blog and I have become friends.
It’s become a place for me to express who I am to other people and at the same time share what I learn.
The more time I spend blogging the more I learn from it.
Below is an updated list of things I have learned from this blog:
* You will make mistakes. It’s part of the process. Fix them as soon as you know about them and move on without regret.
* Be you.
* Make use of plug-ins. They make your blogging easier and more fun. Just be sure you do your homework before you upload any tool or script to your blog.
* Do regular backups.
* Don’t be afraid to experiment. Move stuff around and try new things. We find what works best through testing.
* People will love some of your stuff but not all of it. Just keep on giving more.
* Always try to write inviting titles.
* If you’re going to put it in print be able to back it up.
* Write your own content.
* People really do want to get to know the person behind the pen or in this case the keyboard.
* Run a consistent link campaign to related and valuable sites.
* Monetizing your blog has to be done in a way that will help visitors. Be choosy about who you partner with.
* Write your own or get a good custom 404 error page.
* Take people’s privacy seriously as if it were your own.
* Make use of social media sites.
* Protect your blog from attacks. There’s some really sick and warped criminals out there. Check out Secure WordPress Plugin for a WP blog.
* Edit…..edit…..and edit some more.
* Sign up for a free Google Analytics account and learn how to monitor incoming traffic.
* Allow trackbacks and pingbacks. The net was made for linking.
* Image and script placement counts.
* People won’t give up on you as long as you don’t give up on them.
* Everybody suffers from an occasional bout of writer’s block. When it rears it’s ugly head it just means you’ve momentarily lost touch with yourself. Not to worry though…..this is when you should spend time reading, listening and watching instead of writing. Education stimulates the creative side of the brain.
* There’s always going to be plenty more to learn.
* Permalinks are important.
* Blogging requires discipline.
* It’s easy to write but more satisfying when you engage.
* Make a conscious effort to understand keywords and anchor text.
* Shorter articles seem to be more pleasing to readers.
* Be specific not vague.
* It does eventually all start to make sense. When your blog finally starts to get it’s harmony, soak it in but remain on your toes. Strive to do more.
* Enjoy your successes and learn from your errors.
* Read your emails once and no more than twice a day.
* Learning basic html can help the design and navigation of a blog.
* RSS is a good thing
* A blog can have friends and enemies. Be aware of what both are saying. Respond when necessary.
* Learn about URL Redirection. It can be very beneficial.
* There are always multitudes of people interested in what you have to say. Showing them where your blog is located is the real task.
I’m sure I’ve learned much more from my blog but this will have to suffice for now. It’s time to spend some QT with my family.
For the record, I’m not talking about spreading your cold and sickness to everyone you come in contact with. Instead I want your online business to become contagious….kind of like a yawn.
When I first started writing this blog, I wanted to be like everybody else who wrote blogs for a living. I tried to design the look and feel of my site similar to other bloggers who were doing extremely well for themselves.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
To be contagious you have to be different. If you want your business to go viral you have to be the first one to wear the “stoned washed jeans”. Some of you from the 80′s can most certainly appreciate and remember the popularity of those pants. It wasn’t long after they came in style that it seemed the whole world was wearing them……including me….lol.
It’s important to be unique.
I’m finding that it’s easy to preach it but much more difficult to do it.
Some of you are just now starting your online businesses and others may still be in the planning mode.
Please take my advice and use it to your advantage.
Strive to be different. Do something nobody has done yet.
Dare to be contagious!
I’m guessing there may be a few of you who don’t yet understand the importance of anchor text and deep linking on your site.
Anchor text is usually described as the text you use to convert into links on your pages or articles. Most people typically try to use their main site keywords as anchor text on the front page and other places throughout the site. This basically serves a couple purposes. It tells the search engines to follow the link and it will lead to a page which satisfies the keyword description. It also tells the visitor or reader to click the link and get more information or takes them to your sales page or both.
Usually you can build the anchor text by highlighting the word or group of words and then clicking the button that looks like an anchor or chain link on your blogging control panel or site builder. This will open an insert/edit link box allowing you to enter the destination url, the target window and title.
You may have also heard the term “Deep Linking” a few times. Deep linking is different in that it is simply the act of linking to pages within your site other than the home page. The links go to pages deeper in your site. This type of linking is important for good SEO and more so makes your site user friendly to the visitor. You want to use this kind of anchor text to link customers to other pertinent information on your site that may help them with what they’re looking for.
If you have a WordPress blog you could add a free plugin called Yet Another Related Post. It builds and displays related links on your site for any given article you post. You should still create your own deep links also to make sure all related information is easily found.
Don’t make the visitor try to find the information they are looking for on their own. If it’s too difficult your visitors will move on to a more user friendly site and certainly won’t have a reason to ever come back to yours.
Remember….everybody is busy….busy….busy. They want quality information and they don’t want to have to go through a mouse maze to get it so give them what they want!
Just keep your visitors needs in mind when creating your anchor text and deep links and you will be perfectly fine.
Building the popularity of your blog is an on going task. Below is a list of ideas that may help.
1. Write about stuff you are highly interested in and knowledgeable on. Your readers we be able to feel your excitement as they are reading.
2. Make use of images and pictures. Be sure they are relative to the subject at hand and use your own personal images if possible. This will make your blog unique and people love to look at pictures.
3. Be controversial. If you have a different opinion about a widely popular subject write about it. A little controversy is always a good read.
4. Share your knowledgeable opinions on other popular blogs within your niche in the comment sections. Be sure to leave a link back to your blog and use your site’s keywords whenever possible.
5. Become an active member at numerous popular social networks such as Digg, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Delicious and the likes. Visit other people’s sites and interact often.
6. Be personal. Allow your readers to get to know you. It’s not necessary to tell them what time you brushed your teeth this morning but it is necessary to write in a first person type format. This will eventually allow your readers to feel they know you on a personal level.
7. Write frequently and write consistently. By doing this your readers will know what to expect and when to come and visit your site.
8. Write new posts on the weekends. Most all blogs are posted during the week. On the weekend people like to take a break and won’t write in their blogs. By writing on the weekend you could be attracting an entire new crowd who is looking to sit back and take it easy with some good reading. If they like what they read they might just decide to opt-in to your newsletter .
9. Be creative. Put creative twists on old subjects and write in such a way that it prompts interaction and responses from your visitors. Ask questions, etc.
10. Link to high profile blogs or websites when you need to backup a certain point. This will help to display a little trust with your readers and the bloggers or writers you link to may just notice it and try to help you out with a link back.
11. Incorporate video into your blog. Website visitors love to watch videos. The overwhelming popularity of YouTube proves this theory.
12. Use social bookmarking buttons on your blog post to allow your readers to Digg, Stumble or tweet your posts. A really good post being dug, stumbled or tweeted can generate thousands of new visitors. If you use WordPress there are many plugins you can download to add the buttons to your site.
13. Hold contests and give away prizes to the winners. People love to enter contests. They generally will tell their friends and families about them also if the contest is unique enough. You could also use the contest as a means to get your visitors to opt-in to your email list.
14. If you are advertising on your site use links to places that can only be visited online. Anybody can get in the car and drive to Walmart thus there is no need to put a Walmart ad on your site. By advertising for high traffic web only companies your site may gain in popularity because of your unique advertising links.
15. Keep it simple. Make your blog easy to follow and easy to read. Too many links, too much noise or an over abundance of advertising could actually have a reverse effect and cause your blog to lose popularity.
16. Add your RSS feed to popular blog directories. Just search the term “blog directory” or “submit blog” and you’ll find plenty of them. Be sure not to submit it to the same place more than once. This could be considered spamming and will cause your blog not to be listed.
17. Submit an XML Sitemap of your blog to Google, Bing and Yahoo. If you use WordPress you can download the XML Sitemap plugin. This will help the three biggest search engines index your blog and it will automatically send them a new sitemap every time you write a new post.
18. Write a great “About” page for your blog displaying your personal picture. This allows your visitors to get to know you a little better and also tells them what your blog is all about and why it exists in the first place.
19. Encourage commenting on your blog. People love to write comments and many of them like to become known through popular blogs. Consider downloading a plugin such as Top Commentators to help increase your blog comments and it’s popularity.
20. If your site loads with music remove it. I’ve found that it only serves to slow down the way the site loads for the most part and music seems to disturb people while they are trying to read. If you must have music on your site just create some link buttons where people can have the choice to play it or not.
Ok….Now that we’ve got the business out of the way here’s a hilarious video for you to watch.
This will probably show my age but I remember back in the day when somebody said “put on your thinking cap” they really meant “use your mind or your brain”. Think and be creative was the general consensus.
Thinking about what you’re doing before you do it can be tough for some of us because we can’t remember where we last hung our thinking cap. In other words, it’s difficult sometimes to get the creative juices flowing.
I struggle with this problem more than I care to talk about. The thing you have to do when you’ve lost your thinking cap is find something to relax your mind enough to remember where it’s at.
For me it’s cooking. I like to cook. I mean the physical act of standing over the stove and making a meal for me or my family is something that I enjoy. It relaxes my mind and allows me to think. There have been numerous times when I have been cooking a meal and have thought of ideas for song versus, articles, ideas for the website and much more. I know it’s weird but it works for me. It helps the creative side of my mind to show itself.
When I cook I am able to remember where my thinking cap is and use it. There are other things that work for me also but none as well.
The human mind is a wonderful tool not to be underestimated. The problem for most of us is that it only works extremely well some of the time. It’s difficult to harness the power.
Try to find your thinking cap. Put it on and remember where you hang it when you’re finished so you can easily go back and wear it again the next time you need it.