Archive | Blogging

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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Posted in Blogging7 Comments

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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Posted in Blogging4 Comments

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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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.

(Photo Credit: stephee)

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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.

(Photo Credit: khoraxis)

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