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Category: Blogging

Delivering fresh blog content on demand

writers block wont be a problem any moreWhilst many Internet marketers still say that ‘the money is in the list’ there is strong evidence to show that fresh, useful and above all high quality content is just as, if not more important if you want to be successful at making a living online.

And of course blogging and list building aren’t mutually exclusive and can work hand in hand to help you extend your reach and interact intimately with your readers.

It is this concept of fresh content that I want to talk about today. Recently we looked at how, for a business blog or at least one you hope to make money with, you really need to stay on topic.

Doing that is sometimes easier said than done however and you wont be long into your blogging career when you experience the dreaded writer’s block or hit the wall for the first time.

This is where your beloved readers come in.

Here’s one trick (professional writing technique) you can employ to give you inspiration for tens if not hundreds of blog posts.

Open up the admin area of your blog and at the same time open up notepad or your favoured word processor and have them in side by side windows.

Now simply scroll down your comments list in the back admin area of your site and either copy and paste the title of each comment or type a sentence that captures the essence of the subject that each comment is covering.

Make a new line for each comment and capture something unique about each one. Even if there are 20 comments on one post, there’s probably 20 different views or opinions there.

Once you’ve completed that, open your cpanel area and go to awstats or whatever stats program you use or your Google analytics account and look under Site Search.

Now scroll down to where it says “Search Key Phrases”. This is a goldmine of information and a great source of inspiration for any blogger. Click the link that allows you to open the full list of Search Terms and copy and paste this into your notepad file.

You now have titles and subject matter for possibly hundreds of blog posts. Start writing the posts right there in the notepad file, starting under each title.

Not only is this a good source of inspiration, but it also guarantees that you are talking about the exact subjects that your kind of reader wants to know about.

Get to it!

Meantime if you need any help with anything WordPress related or to do with blogging, social media and /or doing business on line, as always just give me a call on 07939 149103 or drop me a line. Happy blogging!

Photo thanks to: Haris Awang via Compfight, cheers Haris nice work!

3 Costly blogging mistakes to avoid.

follow this guide to avoid common blogging mistakesBloggers make mistakes all the time. But most of them are easy to avoid, and even easier not to create in the first place.

As a blogger you might think that anything goes when it comes to the content of your blog posts. Well, by and large of course it’s up to you what you write, but if you started your blog for a reason, for example to promote your business or art then you might have to give it a little more thought than just doing a brain dump on the page every morning.

Mistake number one then –is not sticking to the topic of your blog. Blogs are usually designed around a theme – and the more focused the theme, the more likely you’ll attract interested traffic. Many new bloggers however either ‘cast around’ for a theme, hoping to hit on something that works, or are just scattered in general. You can see this on lots of blogs, where people talk incessantly about their bloody cats when they’ve run out of business stuff to share.

Solution – keep your posts as focused as possible on the overall topic that you set out for your blog and don’t be afraid of sharing too much detail about what you do or even how you do it with your avid readers. If anything this kind of sharing builds trust and is more likely to get you work or a following than if you keep it all secret.

No business operates in vacuum and its crazy to waste energy trying to hide your ideas from your competition.

Mistake number two – bloggers don’t spend enough time or expend enough effort in promoting their sites and driving driving traffic back to them.

Blogging isn’t just about posting content. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that ‘if they build it, they will come’ and that’s simply not true. New and fresh content is vital to your success and not updating often enough will really impact on your traffic. Most bloggers start out really well – they write lots of posts and then, it tapers off. They become discouraged, or worse, they think they aren’t doing ‘it right’. Blogging needs just as much attention as any other site, sometimes more so – and like most sites, unless you hit on something really big, you’ll find that you don’t make much of an impact at first.

Driving traffic to your site can be fairly simple though – you can do it by taking part in other sites, and using your url in your sigline, you can comment on other blogs and forums, bookmark your site and of course create a social media strategy – with wide exposure you’ll gain far more traffic than simply relying on SEO.

Mistake number three – not connecting with others in your niche. This isn’t restricted to bloggers of course, its a feature of business generally. Many owners of small businesses try to play their cards too close to their chests in an effort to protect their trade secrets.

Solution – its important to contact others in your niche, because it gives you a chance to participate in link exchanges and maybe even collaboration on projects. One of the best ways to do this is ‘mutually’ recommend one another’s sites – you can do this, quite simply, by asking the site owner to review your site, and you can do the same. That way, you’ll build a more valuable ‘link base’ for the person you’re reviewing, and though they are creating a two way link exchange with you, the review style link exchange is always more valuable.

No matter what mistakes bloggers make, or the length of time they’ve been making them for, its never too late to get things back on track. There’s always a way to fix common problems including the mythical writers block.

How do you continue to find interesting ideas for your blog?

It can sometimes seem like you’ve said it all, and just very occasionally this is actually nearly true. Most times however, its not and there are some great strategies and tools you can use to generate new ideas and exciting fresh content for your blog. I’m just about to use one such tool:

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how you can keep your blog fresh and come up with an endless stream of new ideas to share with our readers.

Until then, if you need any help with any aspect of blogging, be it technical or content…just give me a call on my mobile number 07939 149103 or drop me a line.

Photo thanks to:  J. Money via Compfight, right on the money!

5 essential steps to make your blog a success

learn the 5 essential steps to starting a successful blog

Lets say you’ve decided to start a blog to help get the word out about your business, art or philosophy on life.

You’ve got some decisions to make about where your going to do that. By that I mean what blogging software/platform are you going to use?

Where will this be hosted? Will it be a free blog at blogger.com or WordPress.com, or will you have it hosted so that you can have a greater control over its look and it’s destiny should anything go wrong at these 3rd party free blog providers.

No matter where you blog, or what you decide to do with your blog, there are some ‘must do’ steps as follows:

  1. Make sure you’ve configured everything correctly. There’s nothing worse than having done 99% of the work, only to be let down by the final 1%. To ensure you’ve got the best fighting chance to get the best attention for your blog, you should fill in everything that you can. This includes any profile settings, and in the case of WordPress, any plug-ins or other information that needs to be completed – many plug-ins and themes require some work to make them usable.
  2. Pick a design theme and stick with it…at least for a few months. Radical design changes can upset your readers, especially if you haven’t alerted them to this in advance. Changing your design theme in WordPress is a breeze. Making your blog stand out from the rest is a major step in retaining traffic. More importantly, if you make it yours, the you’re more likely to work on it more often. Changing away from the default theme in WordPress has other benefits as well. Although the default theme is rock solid and very customisable, it does make your site look like just another WordPress blog. Another thing to consider is that if you update your WordPress software to the latest release, this can sometimes break or delete any customisations you have made in the default theme, as quite often the theme itself is updated with new versions of WordPress.
  3. Write some content. Try to write 5 or 10 blog posts in advance before you tell anybody that you are blogging. This way when people start to turn up, there will be a good amount of valuable content ready for them to read and to make sure they return you should plan a blogging schedule.Tell your readers what this is right on the front of your blog if you want. This will keep you accountable not just to your readers but also to yourself. If your goal is to build a strong following, then I suggest you try to do a lot of writing at the front end of your project. Daily posting isn’t too much if you can manage it; its certainly what I try to do here on 4 donkeys. You can scale back later when you have a bigger archive of material for your readers to engage with.
  4. Promote your content – once you’ve got a nice stock of content up start promoting your blog. Consider using your posts on article sites, get active on related forums and share your wisdom and of course links back to your blog. You’ll get more traffic if you diversify, so remember to add your site to bookmarking sites and make good use of social media to spread the word – and, encourage your readers to do so too.
  5. Be authentic; if you don’t know it from experience, don’t make out that you do. It doesn’t mean that you cant write about it, but its better to speak from experience and its better to be just you, don’t try for any fancy image or to change your personality into something you are not. By saying it from the heart, you will be more encouraged to continue when you start to get positive feedback from readers…and if you are genuine…you will get feedback.

Blogging, ultimately, is about making connections with readers and will help you to build a reader base to discuss your work and share your ideas with. It allows you to express yourself, make valuable contacts and to showcase yourself as the expert you are in your field.

Photo today thanks to:  Adam Tinworth via Compfight; keep clicking Adam, cheers.

Why you need a blog

No, It's that way!

If you are the owner of a small business or you are an artist of any persuasion and you want to make at least part of your living from these activities, you should have a blog.

A blog is a way of getting on-line simply and economically. It looks professional and as long as you engage with the process fully, it gives your audience a very real feeling of being close to you and/or your work.

With a blog you can stay small if you want, which is the complete opposite to what you’ll be told if you go along to a business computing night class.

Staying small is good in the eyes of your audience, they want you to stay small, approachable and in touch with their world.

So even if your aspirations are to become a completely insane despot who eventually takes over the universe, you are much more likely to take people along with you if you stay small in their eyes.

Most of the people I talk to about website development either don’t blog, or have tried it and then dropped it. That’s why there are so many blogs out there that haven’t been updated for years.

Every now and then I come across a really great blog post only to find that the blogger gave up 2 years ago and that their blog just sits languishing on wordpress.com or blogger.com with a diminishing readership.

The reason for this isn’t that these bloggers have run out of ideas or something to say, its usually that they didn’t really know why they were doing it in the first place.

There can only be one reason for blogging and that is to genuinely offer help to people who need to hear what you have to say.

That’s why, on this blog I often write about ways you can do stuff on the web for free. Many people who are just starting out in a business or art project don’t have stacks of cash to spend on a web presence, so if I can shorten their learning curve in getting their blog or website up for free then I will.

Of course by helping people this way you hope that someday they will ask you to help on a paid basis, but that should never be a condition of offering the help in the first place.

By helping people in any way you can, even by showing them exactly how to do what you do, you can grow your following organically and know that the people who follow you are genuinely interested in what you do.

Look at the number of Etsy sellers who have youtube channels dedicated to showing their customers exactly how to make the stuff they already sell!

If you have genuine followers you can gradually grow a “permission” list; a list of email subscribers who will avidly read the stuff you send out to them and welcome its arrival.

Seth Godin has some really useful advice on this way of doing business here.

Photo thanks to: maistora via Compfight