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How to choose a niche for your blog- Part 1: What are your interests?

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve
got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your
work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do
what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you
do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart,
you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better
as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” ~~Steve Jobs
What a great speech by Steve Jobs! Let us see how the idea applies to blogging.
If you are looking for a well respected, long term successful blog which someday could
be called an authority blog in your niche, then you have to look inside you. Your blog
should be ʻwhat you are aboutʼ.

Why your blog should be your representation?

• To create a successful blog takes a long term commitment and passion.How to choose a niche for your blog
• Your commitment and passion shows in your writing and that energy can be felt by
your blog readers.

Action steps

Let me suggest you an exercise. Set aside sometime for yourself and do this exercise in
a place where you get some solitude and there is no disturbance. Keep a pen and a
paper with your self. Write down answers to the questions in the following exercise.

Step 1: Prepare your brain.

Ask yourself a question, what is that I love to do? Asking this question to yourself is very
important. Write down the answers that come to you. By asking this questions to your
mind you are giving it a target and psychologically, your mind will do anything to get you
to the target.

Step 2: What are my skills and my interests?

On a piece of paper make two lists: MY skills and My Interests. Write down at least 5 of
each.

Step 3: What combination of my skills and my interests I can use to provide

greater value to other people?

Remember money is only a byproduct of providing greater value to others.

Step 4: Can I do this on a regular basis for a long period of time?

Step 5: Save your answer

Once you have answer to your questions, save this answer. We will use this information
in steps in coming posts.

Other questions to think about:

• What are the things that you do and you lose track of time?
• what are your hobbies?
• What are the topics you like to talk about.
• What are the topics you enjoy reading about in the magazines, news papers and on
internet?

Tip

Take an issue of your favorite magazine that you have never read before. Start
scanning the magazine. Notice which headlines catch your attention and you feel like
reading beyond the headlines.

Warning

A topic of your interest might not be a good financial proposition for blogging if you are
looking to make money from blogging. We may have to find a balance between your
interest and other factors that we will discuss in the next posts.

Take away points

For long term success, your blog should be ʻwhat you are aboutʼ.

Resources and further reading

What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles, helps you to identify the areas of
your interest.

Did you know?

The modern blog evolved from the online Diary, where people would keep a
running account of their personal lives.

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What Are The Advantages Of Niche Blogs?


Majority of the blogs that are successful are focussed on a theme and have carved out
a niche for themselves. The are some inherent advantages of niche blogging.

1. Loyal Readers

Niche blog will write on the topic of their niche. So readers who have need for the a
certain kind of information and like the content on the blog will always keep coming back
for new information. If the blog sticks to its niche it is very unlikely the readers will get
disappointed.
Example: Copyblogger.com is a blog focused on web copywriting. It has thousands of
loyal readers that like to visit the blog everyday.

2. Community

Like minded people like to gather at a place and share their views. A niche blog can be
a networking platform for like minded people, where they join to read their favorite
articles and share their views through commenting on the blog.
Example: Checkout how people like to passionately comment on the articles of
copyblogger.com

3. Niche Authority and Credibility

Blogging consistently on one topic gives credibility to the blog and ultimately the blog
could become a “go-to” place for any information on the niche topic.
Example: howaboutorange.blogspot.com is a blog focused on craft projects. People visit
this blog when they want to have how-to information for craft projects.

4. Targeted Contextual Advertising

Find a Niche
If your site has content pertaining to one theme contextual advertising by Google
AdSense or any other company can be very successful. The ads will be targeted based
on the content them and there is a great likely hood that they will get clicked as they will
match the interest of the readers of the niche blog.
Example: digital-photography-school.com is focussed on the subject of digital
photography and makes thousands of dollars with AdSense advertising every month.

5. Attractive to Direct Advertisers

Direct advertisers are always looking for the sites that are successful and have a topic
that is related to their products. Your nice could be a right place for many products and
direct advertisers of the products could get attracted to your blog.
Example: Freelancefolder.com is a blog focussed on helping freelancers. Visit this blog
and see how many advertisements it attracts.

6. Search Engine Optimization

Search engines favor the sites that are focussed around a topic and pages are linked to
one another.

7. Higher conversion rate

If you are selling a product that is related to your niche, the conversion rate is going to
be higher as you already have a audience that is interested in your topic.
Example: digital-photography-school.com makes thousands of dollars every month from
Amazon.com for the referral sales. Visitors to the blog are all of those people who are
interested in photography and if they see an ad for a product they are going to click the
ad and buy the product.

Takeaway points

Niche Blogs

Attract Contextual Ads

Niche blogs are beneficial because they:
• Attract loyal customers
• create a community
• Create Authority and credibility
• Attract targeted contextual ads
• Attract Direct Advertisers
• Help in search engine optimization
• Bring higher conversion rate

Action steps

What are the topics of your interest? what are the tasks when you do, you almost lose
track of the time? Make a list of such topics. Research some blogs in your interest area.

Did you know?

In a survey by Technorati, 72% of the people surveyed, say they blog in order to
share their expertise.

What is your area of expertise? Would you like to blog the topic? Please share
your views in the comments section.

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What is a Blog?

Definition of blog

The word ‘Blog’ came from ‘Web log’. It is type of website that is usually created and maintained by an individual. The publisher of the blog, commonly called a ‘Blogger,’ creates regular entries, called ‘posts’. The entries are displayed in reverse chronological order, with the latest entry showing first.

Types of blogs

There are many type of blogs, based on different type of content and or in the way the content is delivered.

1. Personal blogs

The personal blog is an ongoing commentary by an individual like a personal journal. Blogs often become more than the way to communicate, they are used to reflect upon life and art or personal viewpoints about society, politics or life.
Example: thisisindexed.com is a personal blog run by Jessica Hagy.

2. Corporate or Organizational blogs

This type of blog could be used to enhance internal communication in a corporation or externally for marketing or branding purposes.
Example: wk.com and newairplane.com are examples of corporate blogs.

3. By genre

Some blogs focus on particular subject for example political blogs, fashion blogs, education blogs etc.
Example:
factcheck.org is a political blog.
beliefnet.com is a religious blog.
nytimes.com/tmagazine is a fashion blog.
wechoosethemoon.org is a educational blog.

4. By the type of Media

A blog comprising of photos is called Photo blog. A blog comprising of videos posts is called video blog. Blogs with shorter posts and mixed medial types are called tumble logs.

Examples:

Ted.com is a video blog.
stuckincustoms.com is a photoblog.

Origin of blogs

Earlier blogs started in late 1990’s. In these blogs an individual will write a journal about their lives or opinions. The posts will be displayed in reverse chronological order. This was like a oneway communication.

Blogs Today

Today after the introduction of Web 2.0 (Social web) blogs have become more like two-way conversation between the publisher and the visitors. Commenting, sharing, book marking of the content is encouraged. Today the visitor of the website or blog also participates in content creation.

Future of blogs

What is a Blog? Blogging has become really powerful medium of expression. This is mostly because it is very easy for anyone to start a blog. Everyday more and more people and businesses are recognizing the power of blogging. There are already more than 100 million blogs on the net and thousands are being added everyday. Bloggers are taking the blogs to new heights by integrating
multimedia and social networking into their blogs. There is no doubt the future of blogging is very bright and we are going to see some major advancements in the medium.

Did you know?

According to universalmccann.com, 77% of the internet users read blogs. Do you already have a blog or are you thinking of creating one? If yes, under what category it falls? Please share with us in the comments section.

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How are the blogs different from regular websites?


Blogs are just websites, yet they are so different from the regular websites. Let us see
what makes them so different?

1. Content

Blogs are updated more often than the regular websites. some times they are updated
several times in a day. The content is normally arranged in reverse chronological order

Blogs Vs. Websites

with the latest content on the top. Visitors keep coming back for the fresh content.
Example: hubspot.com publishes multiple articles in a day most of the times.

2. Syndication

Most of the blogs have RSS feed that makes the content available to the feed
subscribers without even visiting the blog.
Example: if you signup for my RSS feed you will receive every article in the feed
reader of your choice or directly delivered to your email box.

3. Conversation

Blogs are written with bloggers directly communicating to their audience and replies are
expected in the form of comments. In addition to this conversation sometimes
conversation also happens between the blogs with a blog post on one blog being
mentioned on other blogs and comments being posted on other blogs.

What are the Advantages of Blogs over static websites?

1.Fame

A successful blog has the potential to get you noticed.

2. Networking

Blogs naturally lead to conversation and well read blog will put you in contact with a
wide variety of people.

3. Traffic

Blogs by their very nature are highly optimized for search engines. Availability of a
number of free plugins make the process more easy. So blogs not only help a site for
traffic, they also help in bringing loyal visitors that love to visit the blog again and again.

Tip

If you have a website that sells products or services and you donʼt have a blog yet,
think of adding a blog to your existing website for traffic and loyal visitors.

4. Sales

Blog help you build trust with your audience and they are likely to buy anything that you
suggest to them.

Warning

It takes a long time to build trust and seconds to break it. So, if you
recommend something to your audience, make sure that it is of high value and you
yourself believe in the product.

Takeaway points

1. Blogs are different from the regular websites in terms of:
• content
• syndication
• conversation

2. Blogs can bring you:
• fame
• networking
• traffic
• sales

Action Steps

Search in the google and find at least two websites that have a blog added to them.
Notice how the static website has information like a brochure and how the blog has
regularly updated content.

Did you know?

Technorati is now tracking over 70 million weblogs, and we’re seeing
about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day. That’s
about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day.

What are your favorite blogs? What are your thoughts on Blogs vs Websites? Please share with us in the comments section.

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How to Track your Ads Using Channels

How to Track your Ads Using ChannelsUsing adsense ads on your site or blog may be bringing you good revenue, but are you targeting that revenue and making the most of your Adsense campaign?

If you are using Adsense, but not utilizing Adsense channels to differentiate your campaigns, than you may be missing out on very important analytical data about your campaign which could cause you to limit your income opportunities.

Adsense channels allow you to track your ads independently and compare the data in order to make long and short term optimization adjustments.

Here is how Channels Work:

Each time you create an ad campaign in Adsense, you will be directed to create a channel. This is not a necessary option by Google, but it should be by you.

Each time you create a new adsense ad, create a new channel to correspond to that ad. Be as specific as possible when naming your channels, especially it you have several websites. If your site name is ABCBlog and you are placing the ad in a header, your channel name should be ABCBlog.header or something similar to differentiate it from you other ads on that site or another site you may own.

Once you have created a channel for each ad on your site you can begin to track performance and determine which ads and ad types are doing best in which sites or areas within your sites. The information you gather by using Adsense channels is vital to your adsense campaigns.

Adsense channels allow you to track a variety of information about your ads and make side by side comparisons to locate your best performers.

Channels allow you to track:

  • Number of Page Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click Through Rate
  • Cost per 1000 impressions
  • Earning per channel

All of this information is not only beneficial, but necessary to insure you are maximizing your CTR by site and location. If you don’t know which ads are most favored by your visitors then you are leaving money on the table with each one.

If you are already making a decent income from your Adsense ads, you may question the need to track these ads through channels. Well, for those of you posing this question, I ask you…If you are making good income now, wouldn’t you want to see which ads are dominating that income and potentially increase that income in the future? I won’t await your answer.

If you are just unfamiliar with channels in general; check out the very easy to follow tutorials from Google which will familiarize you with the process quickly.

Trust me when I say it is well worth the effort you put into it. You reward will be increased revenue and a more targeted campaign.

(Photo Credit: invisiblekid2007)

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Getting Relevant Adsense Ads on Your Site

Targetted Adsense AdvertisingGoogle Adsense is an easy way to make revenue with your website or blog. It is one of the easiest forms of monetizing a site in terms of ease of use.

The tradeoff for this easy installation ad use is the control of ads, as in…you don’t have much. For the most part Google controls which ads appear in the Adsense box on your site, but you can help to bring more relevant ads to your site by employing a few simple strategies.

Why is relevant content so important?

Google’s Adsense bots look first for keyword density within your content when determining ads for your site. If the ads appearing on your site seem completely off-base to your topic, look at your keyword density. There are a host of keyword density tools on the web that will let you see which words are appearing more often than others.  Chances are if you are not utilizing keywords effectively, your ads will be off and it’s time to do some rewriting and SEO.

Start with a Google search for target keywords for your site. For example, if you are selling bicycles, search bicycles in Google. Now look to the ads at the top and right of the screen. Are these ads effective for your site? If they are not, try utilizing other words with the same meaning or message or keyword phrase until you see some ads more relevant to your target audience. You can also try using this great Google Ads Preview Tool to test out keywords or check over your site.  It can be quite a learning experience.

Once you have keywords that you know will bring in ads you desire, start using them in your content.

Look for the hidden killers.

If you have revamped your content but are still seeing only a slight improvement, then you may want to check the other areas of your blog or site for other relevancy killers. Here are some areas to check for an over usage of terms not relevant to your keywords.

  • Page Titles
  • Headlines
  • Navigation
  • Image Descriptions and alt tags
  • URLs
  • Category Titles
  • Tag Clouds
  • Headers

Remember, the bots scan your entire site. If you are overusing irrelevant language in any of these key areas, you are sending out the wrong message to the bots. They are reading what they see and trying to bring in ads that seem to be the best fit for what they are reading.

Why you should add a Google Search Box to your site.

Google gives site owners a very easy way to bring more relevant ads to your site with Google Site Search. If you add the Google Search Box to your blog or website you actually allow your visitors to assist in bringing in ads relevant to their own unique search. Google will utilize the terms put into the search box to help generate Adsense ads on your site. You are not going to get more targeted than that my friends so get one of these up right away.

It may take some additional tweaking to get more relevant Adsense ads on your site, but at last you now have a starting point. Do your own research as well and you’ll soon see that revenue increase as a result of your efforts.

What are your experiences with the AdSense ads? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

(Photo Credit: Adam Crowe)

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Vital Elements of Content Marketing Today

Website Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a catchall term to describe the process of getting your message out to the masses.  It is not a new concept; it has been around as long as the sales pitch.  Only today, the mediums have changed.

What one time would have been a brochure or handout has now become a Facebook status update, email, or a tweet to your followers.  This poses a bit of a problem for old school marketers who may still be trying to use and old method on a new system.

These traditionalists soon learn that today’s consumer is not digesting information in the same way and that their one mailer or newsletter will quickly be lost amidst the fast paced social media.

If this is you, your content marketing strategy needs a makeover.

1. Learn what is available

Begin with the basics. Learn what your marketing avenues are and how each works. Join Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and become part of the conversation. You can read about how they all work, but to truly understand it you have to be an active member of the community.

2. Know what your market is looking for

Once you become familiar with the options you have available to you, start asking questions or looking for them. Seek out your target audience and see what they are searching for and what problems exist which you can potentially solve for them. Create content specific to that market.

3. Know what to use where

Knowing what type of content is best marketed in each venue will be an integral part of your strategy. Readers expect to find certain information in their respective places, so be sure you have the right messages out there. Don’t fill up a blog with a barrage of short updates which are better placed on Twitter and don’t write 15 tweets to get a larger message across, blog it instead.

4. Use them all

Be prepared to tackle each type of content. You have to be able to transform your message to fit each marketing arena. Learn to create video, PowerPoint presentations, and email campaigns with your content. It must be pliable and reusable.

5. Help them find it

I see so many people miss the mark with this one. They work so hard on their blog, articles, or sales pitch and then it is lost on their website because no one knows it exists. Learn and put into practice SEO and social networking with every piece of content you create. You have worked so hard to make it great…now work hard to get it out there!

6. Help them understand how to use it

So you are up to speed with your newly developed content marketing skills, but now your customers are falling behind. Your solution: Teach them how to use it. Direct them to tutorial on using social media so they can become part of the conversation. You don’t have to create these tutorials, they are everywhere. Just post them on your site or within your blog post with some simple anchor text strategically placed within your copy.

The vital elements of content marketing today are different, but not impossible to understand. Adapt your old ideas to the new techniques and the winning combination will get you back in the game with your potential customers.

Do you have any suggestions? Please express your thoughts in the comments section.

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Can Guest Blogging Help Your Blog?

Can Guest Blogging Help Your Blog?The subject of guest blogging has come up often and many bloggers wonder if guest blogging can help you increase traffic and readership for your own blog. The question is both yes and no.

The benefit of guest blogging really depends on many things.  Yes, it can be a very valuable tool and can bring many inbound links which we all know brings both traffic and ranking.  In order for it to be beneficial, however, it needs to be done right.

Think of guest blogging as visiting someone’s house for the first time.  You want to be on your best behavior, show respect, and leave a good impression.  To do this, you should consider some of the following before you start:

Review Your Post

Read the host blog.  You should have done this as part of your preliminary research, but you may want to visit again in the week prior to your post.  Note the writer’s style as the readers will expect you to at least follow it somewhat.  Also note the visitor’s comments and get a general feel for the audience.

Do Your Research

Check and recheck your sources for the content you are writing.  If you have poorly researched content you will not just be jeopardizing your own reputation, you will also have to consider the blog owner’s reputation.  Make sure your facts and quotes are correct, that any links are working properly, and all multi-media is credited accordingly.

Set Guidelines

Discuss the post ahead of time with the host blog’s owner and iron out details like length, title, topic, multi-media use and any other points that may be necessary.

Don’t Advertise

Do not use guest blogging as an avenue for free advertising.  Your goal should be to get the reader interested enough in what you have to say so they want to visit your blog.  Once you get them there you can decide to pitch to them.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

Always give them your best work.  You may have only one chance to shine and get your 15 minutes of fame so make sure the quality is top notch.  Read and reread to check for context, grammar, and spelling errors.  Have a friend or colleague read through the post as well to pick up things you may have missed.  You want to deliver a quality product.

When you are guest blogging the best point to keep in mind is that you are a guest and therefore you have to be on your best behavior.  Keep your writing style free of slang and don’t be overly comedic.  Even if this is your normal style the reader’s on the host blog may not be used to your style and may misunderstand your jokes.  Stay on point and stick to the topic.

Have you ever done guest blogging? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments area.

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Why is your headline not selling?

How to write great headlines?If you are writing content regularly, chances are you are challenged at times over the use of headlines, creating headline, and creating headlines that will actually grab the reader’s attention.  And you’re not alone.

Your headline is what grabs the reader’s attention and in one sentence makes them decide if they are going to give up their valuable time to read your content or pass it over for the next guys. If you want to make that sale, you better figure out how to make them choose yours.

Regardless of how good your content is, if the headline doesn’t get them in the door, it won’t matter.

Too often the headline is the afterthought for writers. They throw it together more to inform -a synopsis of the article content- rather that utilize it as an attention grabber or bait to the reader. Unless you are writing technical data, your headline should do one of two things:

  • Make the Reader Curious
  • Disturb the Reader

If your headlines are not doing one of these two things, they are most likely not as effective as they could be.

Let’s take a few examples and decide which of the two headlines below you would be more likely to click through to.

Case #1

Cleaning Up Your Credit Is As Easy As 1-2-3.

Is Your Credit Cleanup Missing This Key Component?

Case #2

Lower Your Insurance Rates With Our Proven System.

Is Your Insurance Company Holding You Hostage?

Case # 3

8 Ways To Keep Your Child Healthy.

Don’t Let Your Children Fall Victim To These Health Pirates!

First set Vs Second set of head lines

In almost all cases, the reader has an idea of what the articles are about by the headlines. In the first set, in all of these headlines the reader is expecting to learn about credit clean up, car insurance and their child’s health.

So, what’s the difference between the first and the second in each set? Well, let’s break it down.

In the first headline of each set, the writer has given away too much information about the article. The reader can quickly decide if they want to read one more droning article about cleaning up your credit or insurance rates. Since the reader knows these are everywhere, he or she is less inclined to make an extra effort and may just decide they can do the research themselves later. There is no draw.

The second headline, though also clearly about the same subject matter, leads the reader to think a bit more, piques their curiosity or disturbs them enough to want to know more. “Hey, maybe I am missing This? What is This? Could I be missing something with my kids health? What are health pirates anyway?”

Case # 1 Explained

No one wants to miss out on solving a problem they have or be the last one to know, right? The mere disturbance and curiosity created by giving away just enough information is most likely going to make the reader want to learn more about this article.

Case # 2 Explained

In the case of the insurance headlines, the writer has hit on a common feeling among consumers and utilized that anger to entice the reader. I know I would want to know if my insurance company is holding me hostage…those insurance companies are always trying to make a buck!

Case # 3 Explained

And again, in the last article the writer has hit on an emotional chord and then gives away only enough information to disturb the reader enough to click through.

The key in all three is CURIOSITY or DISTURBANCE.

Try getting a little of either (or both) into your next headline and see if it doesn’t make a big difference.

Obviously, there is much more involved in writing headlines that sell, but we’ll save that for the next article. For now, give this technique a try.

Share your thoughts in the comments area.

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10 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog Posts

SEO Writing: 10 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog PostsEvery writer knows there is going to come a time when you hit the wall or face the dreaded writers block.  If it hasn’t happened to you yet, chances are it will at some point.  The trick is not avoiding these less inspired times; the trick is finding your way out.

In order to be both creative and productive you will need a few tips to help get the creative juices flowing.  Here are a few to consider:

1. Watch the News or a Talk Show

Often we get inspired to write by something completely unrelated to our niche or topic.  One pattern of thinking leads to another and suddenly you have that “AHA!” moment.

2. Listen to a Podcast in Your Niche

Even if you can find podcasts in a related niche or a subject line very similar it may help to inspire some ideas.  Perhaps they will mention a product or a way of doing something that is a bit different and gets you thinking.

3. Turn to your News Aggregator or Feed

Sometimes headlines alone can trigger an idea for a great blog post.  It could even be from something completely off topic.  Read through your feed headlines and see if you get any ideas.

4. Read Someone Else’s Blog

Visit your favorite blog or, even better, a competitor’s blog, and read their last few posts. Maybe they have thought about something you haven’t or perhaps you can bring a fresh approach to something they have written in the past.

5. Automatic Writing

If you have never tried this, it can be both enlightening and entertaining.  Pick a topic you are interested in writing in and just start jotting down information about that topic.  If doesn’t have to be good, it can be bad, silly, out of context, just write!  Don’t stop to think, just keep writing for about 2-3 minutes.  If all you can think of is one word, write it…a whole sentence, write it.  The key is to get it out of your head and on paper.  The results can often lead to a barrage of great ideas.

6. Read Your Blog Comments

Your readers will provide some of the best inspiration for your blog posts.  See what questions they are asking or which posts got them talking the most. This usually leads to highly read posts since your readers have asked for it.

7. Read Quotes

I have been inspired a number of times just by reading famous quotes.  It lets your mind focus on some things that you may not think of regularly.

8. Keep an Inspiration File

Whenever you are reading a magazine or surfing the net, jott down ideas or tear out pages of content that inspire you.  Keep them in a file to review when you need a little extra kick in the butt creatively.  You can also keep a list of potential post titles in this file.  Write them down during those times when you seem to have an overflow of ideas and keep them for later.

9. Visit a Q&A Site

This is one of my favorite ways to come up with ideas for writing.  I will go to a site like Yahoo Answers and search a keyword in my niche.  I’ll breeze through some of the Questions and Answers to see if there is anything I could maybe touch on.  I often get great ideas just from this process.

10. Walk Away

OK, sometimes there is nothing you can do right then and there. You can’t force creativity and even if you try, the end result is generally less than desirable.  Really great writing just flows so, if you can’t get moving, just walk away for a bit. Distract yourself with other projects for awhile and give your brain a break.  Just don’t wait too long or you may start giving yourself permission to just give up.

Try a few of these next time your blog post ideas run dry and see if they don’t help to get you moving again.

I know this is not a complete list. What inspires you to write? Please share your ideas in the comments area.

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Don’t Sell, Talk – Effective Ways to Sell Without the Pitch

Internet Advertising And Marketing Without Sales Pitch

The perfect sales pitch has always been the Holy Grail.  Being able to refine this skill and gain a following of customers just begging to buy is every sales guy’s (or gal’s) dream.

The Need For Customers

The need to attract customers and enchant them enough to buy your products and services will never go away as we will always need our customers, however, the days of the sleazy sales pitch are gone and we have to find new ways to get the message out there.

How Can I Help You?

Think about it.  How many times have you walked into a department store and groaned at the sales person as they approached with their scripted “Good afternoon, can I help you find something?” pitch. I know it drives me nuts.  I actually try to avoid them like a kid avoiding their parents at the school dance.  Darting between racks of clothing as they chase me across the sales floor.

Ugly indeed.

The funny thing is, if I really need their help, and go to them for assistance on my own, they tend to have my full attention and a more willing audience.  I am much more apt to listen to them when I initiated the conversation. When it is the other way around I tend to feel invaded.

Familiar Invasion

This same ‘invasion’ happenes everyday to all of us.  If it’s not in the department store, it’s in our email inbox or through annoying pop ups (yes, unfortunately, they still exist).

What is the best Way?

Perhaps the best way to attract customers is to simply talk to them.  Not in an intrusive way, but more in a helpful way. If you have a product that you feel is useful and can actually help people solve a problem then start talking about the problem, not the product (that will come later).

By talking about the problem you’re actually helping your customers realize they have or could have this problem and nobody wants a problem right?

Create Buzz

Get you message out there to as many venues as you can.  Blog about the problem and its many forms.  Seek out Q&A sites where the problem is being addressed and discuss it with them. Tell stories about people you know that have this issue. You want to create a buzz and stir up the dirt.

Once you have created a storm of customers, all with the same problem, then you can start to introduce your product or service. By this point they will be breaking down your door to get it.  As I say, nobody wants a problem.  They want a solution and you have it.

Real Conversations

The buying public is far more educated today and they can spot a sales pitch a mile away. So don’t sell, talk. Have real conversations about their issues and wait for them to bring it up. Spend time refining your approach when they do and you will be able to loose that sales ‘pitch’ forever.

What is your experience with the annoying sales pitches? Please share in the comments area

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How to Write Inspiring Content for Your Blogs

SEO Writing: How to Write Inspiring Content for Your Blogs

Every blogger knows that readership is king when blogging.  The whole point is to have people read your blog, otherwise, why write.  If you have been blogging for some time now, but have not experienced a growing interest, then your content may need a slight revamp.

Writing interesting and inspiring content for your readers is necessary to keep them coming back and to make them want to share your writing with others.

Why Inspiring Content?

There are a few things to consider when you are writing, in order to gain interest and keep it, keeping it being the key because you want to create loyalty.  Loyal visitors will not only follow you regularly, they will tell others, they will make reference to your writing, they will share your information.  You want to always keep this in mind when you are creating your posts.  Don’t write for you, write for them.

How To Create Inspiring Content?

Look, we all want to feel important to someone.  It is human nature to be part of a group or belong.  Your readers are looking for the same thing.  If you want to write truly inspiring content, involve your readers.  They want to be an active participant and not just a reader, so wrap your proverbial arm around their shoulder and really relate to them.

  • Ask them questions about your topic, get them talking.
  • Give them something to do, ask for ideas and advice.
  • Have a contest to create a buzz.

Your goal is to make them feel as if they are part of the clique, not just observing.  You don’t need to do this with every post.  Just dabble it on lightly here and there to keep them checking in.

Consistency and Authority

Another secret of really inspiring content is consistency and accuracy. You need to establish yourself as an authority on your topic and in order to do this you have to make sure the information you are relaying is both informative and correct.  You need to do this consistently so that you gain trust from your visitors. Your readers will then look to you for the information and not the other guy.

Once you have your reader’s trust you need to be sure to keep it.  Slipping up in one or two posts because you got lazy on the research or not posting regularly will cause your readers to question your grasp of the content and that will quickly kill your blog.

How do you know which content is inspiring?

Inspiring content is content that makes people want to act.  Be it by sharing or participating, they have to want to do some ‘thing’ after they read your writing, but remember this is a two part process.  They are not going to act if they don’t believe what your saying holds any value so be sure to combine the participation with trust.

Give this a try as you write your next few blog posts and note the effects on the readers.  Make adjustments as needed and just keep refining the process. Before you know it your blog will soon attract and keep the audience you desperately seek.

What is your inspiration?  What kind of content you find inspiring? Please share in the comments area.

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20 Common Elements of All the Good Content on the Web

SEO Writing:  Common Elements of All the Good Content on the Web
Writing good content requires a combination of many things.  You want to enchant your readers while offering valuable information that is both entertaining and engaging.
If you have been struggling to create content which is well-rounded and attracts more readers review these 20 common elements of all good content on the web and see how you stack up.
1. Unique – You want to be original or be first.
2. Short and to the Point – Learn how to pack a lot of information in a little space.
3. Write for the Reader – SEO is great, but if your content is garbage, it won’t mean a thing. People can click off as fast as they arrived.
4. Readability – Make sure the grammar and spelling is always correct.
5. Entertaining – Keep the reader entertained or at the very least interested.
6. Asks a Question – This engages your readers and includes them.
7. Links – People love to get more then they came for.  Give them links to read further on your topic or to a great application, service, or product.
8. Solves A Problem – You will be doing a service to your visitors by solving their most common problems.  People need an authority.
9. Stays on Point – It is fine to write with emotion, just avoid tangents.
10. Accuracy – Research, check and double check.  No one wants to read garbage.
11. Consistency – This means post regularly and stay on topic.
12. Has Multi-Media – Pictures and video add and enhance.
13. Effective Titles – Make sure they make sense and are in line with your point.
14. Keeps the Audience in Mind – Always remember who your audience is and write to them.
15. Conversational – Good content is usually done best when it is in this casual style.
16. Engages – Anything that brings the audience in and makes them feel like they are part of something.
17. Is Useful – Make your post or article serve a purpose.
18. Good Formatting – Bullet points and subheadings are in line, easy to scan and follow a pattern.
19. Answers a Question – This could be from a reader comment or a question in the media.
20.Provokes Action – Do something that makes your visitor want to take action when they leave.  What do you want them to do after they read your content?
Keep these points in mind when writing your next article or blog post and see if it doesn’t make for richer content and increased interest from your visitors.

Why do you like to visit a website again and again?  Would you like to add anything to the list above? Please share in the comments section.

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How to Create a Blog Designed for Success

Blogging Guide-How to Create a Blog Designed for Success

The ultimate success of your blog will rely on many things; content, SEO, and topic popularity will all play a very important role, but it is your blog design that could ultimately make or break the deal for your visitors.

When designing a new blog there are certain things that every blog owner should consider and practice in order to grab and keep their visitor’s attention.  The first impression of your site is extremely important and studies have shown that visitors will quickly click off a page within the first few seconds if they do not find it appealing to the eye.

Take your time when designing your blog and consider these tips.

Draft and Brainstorm

Before you create your blog or start looking for a template, do a little brainstorming.  Draw it out on paper or list the main elements you want to include.  Take time to visit many blogs and note what you like and don’t like both visually and content wise.  What keeps your attention?  What turns you off?

Give a Clear Message

Your visitor has to know immediately what your blog is about when they land on it.  Be sure your title, categories, and media give a clear representation of the subject matter you are covering.

Key Content on Top

Keep important information at the top of the page.  Your search box, RSS, Social Media links and About You blocks should all be clearly visible upon first glance and without any navigation.  A good rule is to keep it within the first quarter of the page.

Easy to Scan Text

Make sure your titles and categories are easily scannable and provide a quick understanding of what type of subject matter will be available to the reader.  If your titles are so obscure that the visitors cannot make heads or tails of your topic quickly, they will become frustrated.  Use bullet points, bold headings, or numbers to help them quickly scan through posts.

Clean Design

Keep your design clean.  Do not place everything so close together that no one can tell where one item ends and the other begins.  Make sure there is an adequate amount of “whitespace” between articles, ads, and links.

Usability is a MUST

You have to make your blog easy to navigate.  Keep navigation bars in standard areas (top or left of the page) and keep them simple.  Use only 4-6 navigation items as a rule. Your categories should be minimal and easy to understand, one word category names are best.

Remove Dead Links

You have to check your blog regularly to make sure dead links are removed or updated. Visitors expect all links to work and if they are constantly hitting on dead links they will become annoyed and leave.  You can find sites online that will do this for you automatically.  Just search for “LINK CHECKERS”.

Don’t Overdo Ads

There is nothing worse than a blog so littered with ads that you can’t even find the content.  Ads do make us money on the blog, but in excess they will only get in the way.  You want your content to be the focus and your ads to be the afterthought.

Creating a well designed blog is not that difficult if you give it some time and thought.  It is important to remember that you are not unlike your visitors, so design a blog that you would like to visit and re-visit.  Sometimes common sense is our best tool.  Keep these tips in mind for your next blog and it is sure to be a hit.

Which of the above features your website has?  Would you like to share some points that have not been covered? Please share in the comments area.

Photo Credit: aloshbennett

Summary

Blogging Guide-How to Create a Blog Designed for Success

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10 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content

10 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content

Do you know how to write a good web content? There are a few things that you must know before writing a blog post otherwise, it’s only going to turn out to be another failed attempt at gaining an audience that was never interested in the first place.  If you want to write effective blog posts, try following these 10 quick tips.

1. Get an idea and stick to it

What are you going to write about? Choose one or two topics that you will constantly write about in order to maintain an audience. By writing on set topics your visitors will know what to expect each time they visit.  Your traffic will become more targeted and much easier to market to.

2. Find the audience

Once you’ve decided on an idea or two, you need to figure out who you are targeting. It could be teens, adults, or even more specifically, people who are overweight, people who love cats, and so on. Set a goal for yourself; who do you want reading your blog posts?

3. Research

Research is a must when posting blogs unless you are an expert on everything you are writing. If you don’t know about the topic you are writing about, you will only be speaking out of opinion, and not fact. You need to know your stuff, and in order to do so, you must do some research.

4. Draft

It’s always good to make drafts or take notes in terms of the topic that you are going to write about. By doing this, you have something to refer to in order to see where you did well, and where you did badly. You can also find out which information needs to be removed, and which should definitely stay.

5. Write Creatively

Once you finally start writing your blog post, be sure to be creative!  Add interesting links and write as if you are speaking to one visitor, not a group.

6. Be yourself

When writing a blog post, you always have to be yourself. Don’t write to your audience as if you were giving a speech in front of a bunch of people. You need to establish a connection with your visitors and once you do, your visitors will expect to see more of the same.

7. Don’t wander off topic

If you’re going to talk about a certain topic, be sure that you don’t wander off and start talking about something else. When writing one blog post, keep it on one topic, instead of two or more. You can always write more blog posts about your other topics later on.

8. Don’t Over advertise

Advertisements mean money, yes, but they can also be distracting at times.  When there is an overflow of ads, people tend to get annoyed and your post gets lost.  If you’re going to have advertisements, keep them to a minimum on each page.

9. Use Multi-Media

It’s always a good thing to use pictures or even videos in your blog posts to make them more interesting. When talking about a certain event like a dirt bike racing tournament, it would be more entertaining if you added a clip of the tournament in your blog post along with the rest of your content. Another good example would be to add one or two images related to your content, for example, if you’re writing about cooking, you may want to add a picture of the final result.

10. Make sure your topics are interesting

If a lot of people are interested in a certain topic, be sure to write about it because that way you can easily increase the overall website traffic that you receive.  Look to your visitor comments often to be sure they find your topics interesting.  If they are suggesting topics they would like to see more of, start writing on those topics.

Writing blog posts may seem like an easy task, but there are many things to consider before actually posting on a blog. If you want a successful blog post, you need to go over some of the tips listed above and once you take action upon them, you will surely create a blog post that will be read, enjoyed, and shared.

The list mentioned above is not complete. Can you think of any other tips to write great posts? Please share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Vicki’s Nature

Summary

10 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content


Related Articles

Tips for Writing Quick and Readable Blog Content

Top 10 Things Every Blogger Should Do

Building Content For Profit

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The Gain of Giving It Away

The Gain of Giving It Away

Whatever You Are Giving Away, Is It Really Free?

Every marketer knows the value of having a free give away on your site or blog in order to build a list. It is a well-known strategy; I give you this 25 page free report and the only thing I ask is you give me your email address. To most visitors, this transaction seems completely free and they are able to obtain a valuable report for free, but it is not completely free.

Seth Godin’s Take on  What is Free

As Seth Godin points out in this WebInkNow video, this is considered more of a transaction then a true give away. The reader is, in essence, giving you their email in exchange for the report. That is not a true give away. A true give away is passing on free information, either through your blog, a book, eBook, or other means for the sole purpose or getting your idea out into the masses. There is no expectation on your part, just a need to pass on your knowledge because you feel there is great value in teaching it to or sharing it with others.

Benefits of Giving Away

There can be a number of benefits which arise, either intentionally or not, by giving away information for free. The most important is spreading an idea with your name on it. This is valuable for a few reasons. First, you gain reputation as an authority on said idea and will be sought after for further discussion on the topic by anyone who may come across your information and find it valuable to themselves or their readers, student and such. Second, you gain trust. There is no transaction, no exchange or expectation of the receiver having to give something to you in exchange for this information. The information immediately takes on a greater value to the receiver since they feel as though they have been given a gift and third, the receiver is more inclined to pass the material on and gift it to others that they feel may also find value in it. It was initially free after all.

What should be Given Away?

If you truly believe in an idea and feel that there is greater value in the idea itself than in any benefit you may gain from monetizing it, then giving it away comes down to the personal gratification one feels when their idea becomes well known. The added benefits that may or may not arise take second stage. It may be difficult for an artist to give away their work. Even the smallest project involves a piece of us and our time. There are moments when we feel that tug to gain monetarily from it and we tend to forget the value of the piece in terms of passing on our knowledge to others. If we are truly committed to an idea then it would personally benefit us to have that idea accepted, appreciated and practiced by others. The value in that is immeasurable.

Do You Have Anything To Give Away?

Try to think of something that you may have that you could truly give for free. No expectations, no string, just give it away. I can almost predict the positive impact it could have on you and your business in the future. Go on, give it a try!

What are your thoughts on the subject? let me now through your comments.

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How Difficult It Is To ‘SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZE’ Your Blog?

You can make your blog the most interesting blog on the planet, but it won’t matter if no one can find it. There are some steps that will make Search engine optimizing easy.

Search Engine Optimizing Your Blog

This article is going to focus mainly on tips and tricks for wordpress. If you do not have a wordpress blog, you may wish to consider setting one up, or converting an existing blog to wordpress just to make SEO a little bit easier on yourself. The reason for this is there are so many Plugins available for wordpress in order to make the task of SEO less daunting.

There are 5 basic things that you want to do to make your blog SEO Friendly:

Change your Permalink structure

One thing that many people tend to not do is to change their permalink structure. This is a very important step to take when making your blog SEO friendly. This is how the search engines will index your blog posts.

You see, most wordpress blogs are set up to show a link as yourblog.com/34535 or post id. This is not very search engine friendly.

How many people do you know are going to type in 34535 or some random post id to find what they want? They will type in something like “Red Cars” to find the information, so you want your links to look like yourblog.com/red-cars

This is exactly what we are going to do in this step.

  • To do this, go to setting in wordpress under settings > permalinks.
  • You will see the default permalink is set to: ?p<postid>
  • You will want to go to the custom field and type in: /%postname%/

This will ensure that your posts will be indexed in the search engines correctly, and makes them infinitely easier to find by prospective blog goers.

Optimize your Post Titles

In the first step we were changing the permalinks in wordpress so that they reflected what the blog post contained. Optimizing your blog titles is the second part to that process. You want blog titles which directly reflect what your blog post is about. For example:

If your blog post is about a Pizza recipe, your title should include Pizza in it.

A good blog title for example would be Pizza Pies: Mother’s recipe

A bad Blog Title would be: My Mothers Italian Recipe

Once you get the hang of creating SEO Friendly titles for your posts you have won half the battle.

Optimize Meta Description

You need to be very specific in your blog descriptions. They should be accurate, to the point, and also attract people’s attention. This can seem like a tall order to fill, but it is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it.

Optimize your “More” Text

Another great feature for wordpress is that you can actually edit the “read more” link you get when you are using synopsis of your articles on the front page, to make a more meaningful link to the rest of the blog post. This works wonders for the SEO, and gives you that much more exposure in Search Engines.

Optimize your Images

Most people don’t realize that any photos you have in your blog posts are also indexed in the search engines, and can be a big help when you are trying to make your blog SEO Friendly.

Try and give EXACT descriptions of what is displayed in the picture, NOT what it is supposed to mean or represent and NEVER leave your picture names as numbers, as it has no benefit to you whatsoever.

Here’s an example of how to optimize your photos:

You have an article on how Pizza Hut is the Best Pizza restaurant in the world. You have used a generic picture of a pepperoni pizza.

You will want to name that photo “pepperoni pizza”, and in the description place in “pepperoni pizza”.

This will help you get more hits, as search engines index pictures, and sometimes you will even get hits off of people looking for pictures, as they will want to know where that picture came from.

If you follow the above steps, you will have an SEO Friendly blog in no time. But these are just the first steps, once you have done all the above, there is still a long way to go to make your blog completely SEO Friendly.

Summary

Search Engine Optimizing Your Blog

I hope this was useful to you. Your feedback is very important to me. Please leave a comment. To get step by step  AdSense Information and instructions, I recommend my adsense guide, it is totally free.

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Great Ways to Gain More Subscribers

Great Ways to Gain More Blog Subscribers

These Can Be Your Blog Subscribers

Hundreds, if not thousands, of new blogs are started everyday.  Some for fun, others to share family stories or as travel logs, but more often than not these days blogs are considered and utilized as marketing tools for many businesses.  Look at almost any website for products and services and 8 times out of 10 you will find a BLOG button in the navigation bar somewhere.  If you are considering starting a blog to promote your business then you will quickly learn that the key objective will be to obtain as many subscribers as possible.  A subscriber equals a potential sale and one more set of eyes upon your product or service.  Since subscribers are key, let’s discuss some easy ways to get them to hit that little orange button!

Make It Entertaining

I don’t care what else you are doing on your blog, if it is not either very entertaining or very informative you can have subscriber buttons all over the page and it wont matter one bit.  Give your subscribers something worth subscribing to.

Make It Easy

Check to make sure that your blog has a visible and easy to find SUBSCRIBE option or RSS button some where on the main page.  If the reader finds your blog interesting their first move will be to look for the subscribe button.  Give them an option of adding to a reader or subscribing via email.  If you offer both, even better!

Offer Fresh Content

I have over 100+ subscriptions in my Google Reader and one of the first things I look for is new content.  I will give more attention to blogs which I know are up to date in their industry.  I don’t want to learn about your new gadget 5 months after it has come out.  I want pre-launch hype and updates!

Give Them Free Stuff

The oldest and most effective way to gain a following is to give them something for nothing (or what seems like nothing). Have you ever seen those little boxes in the left or right columns saying “Get Our Free 15 Page Report” or “Your Best Guide To The Forex”?  If you ever clicked on them you have noticed that in order to get that report you have to fill out your name and email or subscribe before you can download it.  This is one of the most effective ways and the most widely used in the industry.  If you don’t have a White Paper sitting around on your hard drive you can look for pre-written, Private Label Rights material (Do a Google search for PLR).  Then offer it on your blog for free in return for that subscription.

Be Well Known

Talk about your blog on social networks.  If you are well-versed on a certain subject, volunteer to be a guest on a podcast or get interviewed by your local paper.  These are actually a lot easier to do then they sound.  Podcasters are always looking for fresh content and you might be doing them a favor.  Check out iTunes or BlogTalkRadio for some podcasts in your area of expertise and contact the owner.

Barter

One effective and free way to get more traffic to your blog and therefore, more potential subscribers, is to be a guest blogger for a complimenting blog.  For instance, if your specialty is lactation and lactation guides, you may want to write a post for a popular Mommy blog.  Most bloggers will allow you to link back to your site in exchange for the content.  Some may ask to do an exchange where they write a piece for your blog and you write one for theirs.  This also helps to build your rank with the search engines by creating legitimate back links.

Make A Video

YouTube, Vimeo, and the like are very powerful marketing tools and can bring a number of visitors to your blog.  If you have a product to offer this is a must do!  It is very easy to do a quick video about your product, what it does, why it’s the greatest potato peeler in the world, etc.  If you make it funny, corny, zany it has even more potential to go viral.  Just be sure there is information and links to get them back to your site to subscribe. If you can’t do the zany stuff then a simple “open the box” type of video is very effective.  Open your product and unpack it on the video, showing the audience what comes in the box, how it goes together or is used.

Be Reputable

No one wants to be taken advantage of so be sure the information you are relaying is accurate and not misleading.  Promoting products that are faulty or services that are unethical will not only sour your readers but may lead to legal troubles.  If by chance you do make an error in judgment unknowingly, call yourself out on it.  Let your readers know you are truthful and you will build trust, gain recommendations, and more followers.

Lots Of Links

I don’t know why people love links so much, but they do.  Give them useful links to products, more information on the topic, or services that may be helpful for further information and your readers will want to keep coming back for more.  Linking within your own site or blog also helps ranking and flow within your blog, keeping them around to read more.

Blast Em

Gather tidbits daily on your industry or centered around your blog topics. Make this information very useful to the reader and post it daily.  You want it to be something they will miss if they don’t get it.  An example would be a daily closing price of gold or the latest entertainment news on the celebrity of the week.  You want it to be unique to your blogs topic and something they can’t easily find elsewhere.  Blast it out in your blog daily and ask your readers to “send this to a friend” with a linking option.  This will steadily build a greater subscriber list.

These are just a few tips to get you started, but there are so many more.  Take the place of your reader and ask yourself what makes you hit that little orange button.  Turn those thoughts into actions and before you know it you will have a very impressive following.

I hope this was useful to you. Your feedback is very important to me. Please leave a comment. To get step by step  AdSense Information and instructions, I recommend my adsense guide, it is totally free.

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