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Archive for January, 2008
How to Blog
First thing you need to do is have an idea, this is crucial and will matter a whole lot in the success of your blog. If you are a client of ours you already have an idea on what your blog should be about – your business. Once you have your idea you’ll need a Blogging service. There are a few options available to you at various price points. Lets work from the ground up
Free Blogging Tools
Warning: The ease of creating a new blog on WordPress can be addictive.
WordPress has made it so easy to create a blog that you may find yourself creating one with every great idea you have, that is why I have close to 1 million blogs. Just kidding, but it really is that easy. Click on the big ‘Sign Up’ link and then choose a blog name and like that you have a blog! They offer upgrades for a fee so if you want to change your blogs CSS you can at minor charge.
WordPress just announced that they are now giving their free users 3 gigs of space – woohoo!
Blogger is a Google service that is also easy to create a blog and easy to use. One big negative about the Blogger platform is the ‘Next Blog’ link at the top. This link seems innocent enough and I’m sure the powers that be had good intentions in mind when they added it. The problem with that link could send you to a porn site.
I can’t say enough good things about this stand alone blog tool. I find it a pain in the neck to log in to all of the blogs I use. Having to log in to various sites constantly is a pain in the neck. Windows Live Writer allows you to set up all the blogs you write to in one little package. Setting your blogs up in Live Writer is as simple as logging in, except you only do it once. If you have multiple blogs on different services you simply click on the ‘weblog’ tab and choose which blog you want to post on. There’s no logging out and logging in.
Adding content is as simple as Word and most of the shortcuts are the same. You can add photos, video, and embed YouTube or SlideShare type code. Even inserting a map is a snap. Yes that is GooglePlex brought to you by Microsoft Virtual Earth
This is currently a PC only program at this time
Non-Free Blogging Tools
This site is published using TypePad. Its a great tool that offers a variety of functions such as being able to tweak the design. The above ones will let you do that but you have to pay them for that. TypePad has a lot of built in functions to help you maximize your exposure.
Build as a ‘Professional Publishing Platform’ Moveable Type is a pay for use service as well.
TypePad and Moveable Type do offer free services for non-profits
Blog with Passion
There’s that word again ‘passion.’ In order to be successful in anything in life you need to be passionate about it. If you take your company seriously and want to succeed blogging about it should just be an extension of your day. You already tell your clients and everyone who will listen how great your company is and how good you are at doing what you do. Blogging shouldn’t be a hassle and as I’ve laid it out above it is very easy to do.
Of course there will be a learning curve and this post is not an exhaustive list of how things are done.
Comments. Share and Share A-Like
You need to be vocal in the blogging and social media communities. One way to generate interest in your blog is to comment on other blogs that share a same interest. Give a little, get a little. Its just like networking, people need to know you exist before they know who you are. The tips I laid out in the previous post will help people searching for what you are talking about but some people don’t know how to find you.
What if You Get Bad Comments?
Its up to you if you want to allow bad comments to be shown on your blog. One true thing about business is that you can’t please everyone. Some people can be malicious when they are angry and some can actually give you some constructive criticism. You need to make the call on what you deem acceptable but I think any open dialog is a good thing. What’s the old saying? Any PR is good PR
So to sum it up – Blog and Ye Shall Receive
Blogging & Why You Should Do It
I think its time we address the 800lb Gorilla in the corner -
Blogging. Some of us like to blog, some find it mildly
annoying, some downright detest it and some don’t even know what it is or how to
do it. Whichever category you fall in one thing must remain abundantly clear;
Blogging will drive traffic to your site*. Let me repeat that; Blogging
will drive traffic to your site*. I’ll get to how easy it is for you to
blog in a second, first I want to talk about that asterisk.
Has PageRank Become Obsolete?
Google seemingly changed its own rules this past July when it started to
index pages faster, particularly blogs. Before, a page was given a rank based on
merit such as backlinks for Google to reference, a system called PageRank. To make things quicker the Google System blog states
that ‘Google could use the ping feature of the blog search engine to get
notifications when a site is updated.‘ It doesn’t work for all blogs they
say. That may sound like mumbo jumbo to some so don’t worry if you don’t
understand it. Lets just say ‘Google Sees All.’
There is a lot of speculation as to why Google is doing this. Google’s
position is that it is trying harder to give users better search results. By
providing more relevant content Google can better serve its client base. Others
are talking about Technorati’s influence on blog search and Wikipedia’s user
generated content pulling in a lot of search results. There’s no shortage of
ideas on why they are doing what they are doing. We’ll let them figure that out,
for now you need to leverage this change in protocol.
Your Site and Your Blog
The biggest reason to start blogging is to leverage this recent change. Your
site may be new and not getting indexed as fast as you would like. By blogging
you are speeding up the process but you need to do it correctly in order to
succeed. If you create a blog and brand it ‘Company Blog’ you need to be able to
tell the search engines that this new blog is associated with your company. It
may have the same colours and logo but search engines don’t really care about
that stuff, they can’t see it. What they are looking for is a relationship and
the way they find that is through your content. Your content should direct
readers back to your site. This is very easy to do; link keywords in your blog
posts to sections on your site. If you have a post about Widget A link the
widget name to your widget page on your site. This associates your blog to your
site – one way. You’ll need to link from your site to your blog to complete the
relationship. Google doesn’t like one way streets.
We always sign off on every blog post we do on this blog with links to our Search Engine Marketing page
on Schipul.com. This
associates our keywords with our blog and site. Using this tactic we have been
able to take a new unranked site to a PageRank of 6 in a very short time.
Tips & Tricks for Successful Blogging
As with any site your blog should be optimized so people can find you. We
tell our clients to use direct headline tags with keywords and blogs are no
different. If you sell a widget and the widget has a benefit label your blog
post ‘Benefits of Widget.’ By using your keywords in your
headlines you are telling Google that this information is important. Google uses
real time search queries on particular topics to display
results. Knowing that you should use titles that not only grab the attention of
the search engines but also readers eyes. Think of blogging and websites as a
newspaper. You want to get the message out and you need to get people to read -
make it concise and to the point.
Remember you are trying to drive traffic to your site by creating a
relationship with your site and your blog. You should be passionate about it. If
you aren’t then save your self some time and try something else like
I’ll show you how easy it is to blog in the next post
Our first blog post
from an hour or so ago is now indexed on Google