Archive for the ‘Blogging: How To’ Category
Whether youâ€™re starting a small business blog or simply looking to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, think keywords. Actually, think specific keywords. Many bloggers donâ€™t realize that finding the right keywords is the key to getting on the top of that search engine page. If you are hoping that when people search for the word â€œclothingâ€ they are going to see your website at the top of Google, think again. When you type in â€œclothingâ€ to Google, 1,970,000,000 results pop up. In other words, even if youâ€™re trying your hardest, youâ€™re not going to make it to page one unless you have a few years to spare.
When thinking about search engine optimization, your time is best spent coming up with the right keywords to target. This may seem easy at first, but there are actually quite a few steps a blog should take before putting all of their resources into one keyword.
Blogging is not difficult. In fact, if you know something, and are prepared to write about it on a regular basis, in actuality, blogging is quite simple.
Sure you can get lost for a lifetime in SEO and audience development and Web analytics and about 1,000 other moving parts — but when it comes down to it, successful bloggers write great content and adhere to several basic principles.
This post assumes that your command of language is stellar and that your grammar skills are up to snuff. Once your “housekeeping” is in order, I recommend that every blog post you write have at least two of these three key elements. If you can incorporate all three, better yet!
Your blog posts must…
It’s probably the first question every blogger has to ask themselves. It comes before writing the first post, choosing the theme or even selecting your blogging platform: What is my blog going to be about?
It’s a tough question and how you answer it will have a big impact on what your site is going to be. It’s going to affect the type of content it has, the media it uses, the audience it reaches out to, how it is promoted and much, much more.
In short, every decision you make about your blog depends on that first critical choice.
But it is also a decision that is fraught with both peril and reward. Choosing the wrong target or the wrong niche can literally kill your site before you’ve published your first post. Choose a good one and it is almost impossible for your site to not find a healthy audience.
So how do you choose your site’s topic? Though you can certainly find some good help from Google and other tools, finding a blog topic that interests you enough to write on regularly and one where your site can thrive is an almost impossible challenge.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you choose your blog’s topic and ensure that your site has every chance to thrive from the moment it hits the Web. Read More
Researching a new niche is a tedious process, many blogs and internet marketers suggest launching a blog on a topic that is of interest to you and this is great advice. But as your portfolio of sites grow it will become harder and harder to find a niche that you are interested in.
When this happens you need to look at a wide range of niches that you may want to move into. We all have different tactics on how to find a niche, what works for one person may not work for another and often the best ideas will hit you out of the blue, if this happens all you are left to do is to dig a little deeper into the niche, find out how tough the competition is and whether or not it may be a profitable niche to enter. Read More
As James recently pointed out, owning your domain name is crucial for establishing your identity online and building your brand.
However, with using your own domain name comes a new headache, DNS.
Though working with DNS may not be the biggest challenge that a blogger will face, especially if they register their domain from a good company, it is something that can be a nightmare when and if it goes wrong.
Simply put, without a properly working DNS, your site, your email (if hosted on your domain) and anything else you run off of your site will stop working. Even worse, DNS problems can often be very elusive and, in many cases, can take hours or even days to fully resolve.
As such, it’s well worth understanding what DNS is and what some of the more common sticking points with it are.
A little education on the front end can save you serious headaches later. Read More
Very quickly, if I visit your blog, will it stand out and be memorable to me? Will it separate itself from any of the sixty blogs created in the last minute? What about any of the more than 86,000 that will be created today? What about the more than half a million created this week?
If your blog is going to succeed, it has to stand out and be something other than “Just another WordPress (or other blogging system) blog”. Doing that, however, isn’t very easy not because it’s difficult to give your site a custom identity but because, with so many other sites out there, it can take a lot of work to give your site something that no one, or almost no one else, has.
However, if you don’t do it, you risk your good work and your energy going to waste, getting lost in the endless and faceless crowd that is 99% of all blogs created. For your site to succeed, it must have a “face” and a unique presence, something you’re not going to get without rolling up your sleeves and getting a little bit dirty with your theme, logo and your domain.
It might be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it isn’t half as scary as having millions of twins out there, ready to take your blogging identity in a heartbeat by sheer accident alone.
Like any industry or competitive environment, blogging has its share of superstars and top-tier performers. They are the names every blogger knows and everyone who has installed a copy of WordPress wants to be like.
But while it’s fine and great to have heroes, goals and even people you want to emulate, many of these superstar bloggers have built up a cult of personality around themselves, including empires of ebooks, guides, personal coaching and much, much more.
The promise of these guides is that, often for a price, you can be more like them and learn their system and their approach. The pitches often border on infomercial territory and promise outrageous results for almost no effort and time. However, even the more down to earth systems come with problems and concerns.
As a blogger, it’s easy to get sucked into this cult of personality as the lure of making large amounts of money and building a huge fan base are tempting to just about anyone. But it is a dangerous path to follow and a mistake you most likely can’t afford to make.
Last week, we talked about the difficulties and the pitfalls around building and maintaining trust with your readers online. We talked about why it is important to build trust, how difficult that is and how easily it can be squandered.
However, trust is only one half of the process for building the best audience possible. Though having readers that trust you is key for success, if those readers aren’t engaged and participating in your site, they aren’t providing much more than blips on your Google Analytics.
For most bloggers, the end goal isn’t just to get their readers to trust them, but to get them involved somehow. Whether it’s to have them to support a cause, provide feedback, spread the word about the site or even become customers, trust is only step one.
So how do you take a reader who trusts your site and your expertise to take things to the next level? There are many ways to do that but here are a few keys to making it happen.
Trust is easily the most valuable and most fragile of all the commodities a blogger has to have to be successful.
However, making complete strangers trust you and count on you is no simple task, especially when they will most likely never meet you. It can require years of tireless, consistent work, the ability to repeatedly prove that you are capable of delivering on what you promise and constantly striving to build a reputation for high quality work.
But for all of the work required to build trust, it can be lost in the blink of an eye. One breach of that trust, no matter how small, can set you back months, even years in terms of trust and some incidents can even overshadow your entire history, becoming damaging “buts” to an otherwise stellar reputation.
Learning how to build and keep trust is critical for every blogger. If your readers are going to let you in as part of their lives, no matter how small of a part that is, they need to know what role you’re going to fulfill and that you will do it well. Trust is often what separates the one-off or casual reader from the avid fan, trust is how you build inbound links and trust is how you grow your site.
Fortunately, building and managing trust is easier than many make it out to be, but it isn’t quite as simple as just doing quality work either. To build and keep trust, there are steps you have to take to ensure that others are receptive to your work and will notice your efforts, thus ensuring that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.