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  • blog11Learn to craft blog post titles, which will draw readers to your blog. As an important element of a blog, the title is the window to your blog post. Here is a list of strategies you can use to write a great blog title:

    1. Keep it short and simple:Straight and simple titles, which help the user determine what the post is about works best. Give a title, which communicates the benefit of reading the article too.
      Good Example: 20 Ways to Advertise your Website for FREE
      Bad Example: Find out how you can market your website online.
    2. Readers first, Search Engines next:Don’t try optimizing your blog title for the search engines to the extent that you forget your readers! There is no point in having a poorly worded blog title, which ranks very well on search engines.
      Good Example:Using Social Media for Lead Generation
      Bad Example: Social Media Lead Generation
    3. Communicate a benefit, effectively:Your blog post title should be able to tell readers what they will get upon reading your post. You can draw significant traffic to your blog, if the title is listing out an advantage.
      Good Example:10 Ways to Increase Your Alexa Rank
      Bad Example: Information on Alexa Rank
    4. How-to Headline Appeals:How to stop smoking in 30 days? How to start an online business from home? Quite possibly that such headlines have drawn your attention, immediately! The how-to headline appeals to most of our needs to improve ourselves, career, health etc. Once you have used how-to in the title, you must highlight the process in your blog.
      Good Example: How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Businesses
      Bad Example: Use Inbound Marketing to grow your business
    5. Well-formatted title: This is because, some of these characters tend to get distorted and replaced by other characters, such as, “?” etc. For example, Alternatives to Photoshop ? Web Based Image Editors. Take extra care when you use the following characters:
    • Double Quote ( ” ” )
    • Single Quote ( ‘ ‘ )
    • Comma ( , )
    • Question Mark ( ? )
    • Hyphen ( – )
    • Dash ( En Dash ” – “ or Em Dash ” — “)
    • Apostrophes ( ‘ )
    • Exclamation Points ( ! )
    • Colons ( : )
    • Ampersand ( & )

    Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to add to this list!

  • blogging“So what do I blog about?” Often my customers want to start a blog but are stumped or intimidated as to what to write about.

    For an active blog, you need to post blogs at least three times per week. If you have the time to update your blog more often, great! But, if your blog idea cup runneth over, here are the top 10 ideas you could use:

    1. Address FAQs or queries, which you get from your customers. They (customers) are surely the heart of all business. Answering their FAQs in the form of blogs will help existing and future clients. Also, instead of repeatedly responding to the same questions, you can choose to write a series of blog posts to answer the frequently asked questions, which could free up time for you in the long run.
    2. Expert Interviews. If you admire someone in your industry, your readers or followers might too! Contact the experts, who you think can offer valuable insights on business, trends, etc. and publish the interview as a blog post.
    3. How-to Tutorialof a process will contribute to a series of blog posts. For example, you can create a series of how-to tutorials on website design, creating a logo or any topic related to your expertise. You can choose to create written, audio, or video tutorial. Tutorials build credibility and trust within your clients. They will begin to see you as an authority in this industry.
    4. Events or Trends in your industry making news? Make sure that you include your perspective into the blog. A number of bloggers blog about the trends or related news stories. However, very few offer their unique perspective on the events.
    5. Review a site, blog, book or anything related to your industry. Highlight the pros and cons clearly, so your readers are not left wondering whether you are recommending the site, blog, book, etc or not.
    6. Personally Yours.Tell a story about what’s happening in your life and how it is affecting your business. Your hobbies and interests could make a good read too. Readers are always happy to read more about the “real” blogger and helps establish a deeper personal connection with your clients.
    7. How You Helped. Did you help your client’s site rank well on the major search engines? Is your client happy with the logo you recently worked on? Blog about it. Begin with how you addressed the problem from scratch and helped the client. Existing or future clients may come across this and it might be just the thing they were looking for. What better way to get a new client than coming to their rescue?
    8. 10 Best Lists. Depending on your area of expertise and business, you can choose from a range of topics for best-of lists or even reasons-to-do lists. For example, best of Photoshop freebies, best freelance web design jobs boards, why you should get a website, etc.
    9. Polls are a great way to keep your readers occupied and interested too. With polls, your readers will await results and then discuss the results too. However, you need to ensure that you choose an interesting poll. You can use Constant Contact to publish your poll.
    10. Blog about blogging. There are a number of blog-related topics, which you can use to write posts about. Readers are always keen to find out more about how they can blog, optimize their blog, use it for business purposes etc.
  • increasing blog commentsThe number of comments on your blog indicates the level of interaction your blog has with its audience. According to Jakob Nielsen, 90% of online community users are lurkers (read or observe without contributing) with about 9% of users contributing ‘a little’ and 1% contributing actively. 1% of your blog’s users actively engaging with your blog and the rest are occasional contributors.

    Do you want to increase the number of comments on your blog? You can increase the participation levels on your blog by following the ways listed below:

    Ensure easy comment options: Does your blog require a login to comment? Registration is a hurdle, which users are unwilling to deal with. Yes, it sure does combat spam messages but try to keep your comments section simple and easy to use.

    Questions which evoke response: Include specific questions in your blog posts and you are assured higher comments. Try to set a question in the reader’s mind from the first moments of your post itself.

    Interact with comments on your blog: If someone leaves a comment on your blog, ensure that you interact with them. It is understandable that this could get harder as your blog grows but try to devote sometime during the day to show your readers that their comments are valued. Over time, you will notice that loyal visitors will answer questions and create a community too!

    ‘Reward’ Comments:You can choose a host of options to acknowledge the comments on your blog. From a simple ‘good comment’ remark to awarding the best comments on your blog, you can use a number of options. For instance, a Jamaican based resort that regularly updates its blog ran a contest: "Looking to visit Jamaica? Enter to WIN a $100 Visa Cash Card to spend on your trip!!"

    Quick tips to increase comments on your blog:

    • Allow users to edit comments
    • Check and delete spam comments regularly
    • Don’t use captchas for comment forms
    • Try not to moderate comments
    • Try not to force registration for comments
  • blog4Are you looking for an effective way of enhancing your online business? Would you like to get more customers for your online services and products? You can definitely do so by making use of blog marketing. This consists of nothing more than putting up relevant content, about the services/ products that you offer on your website, so as to market your online business!

    Blogs are an effectual means of building a trustworthy relationship with your customers. A well maintained and regularly updated blog is key to owning a successful and highly traveled website. However, you need to ensure that your customers are aware of the blog too. Blog marketing tactics are what you need!

    Selecting a topic: Your first step towards blogging is to choose an appropriate topic that best suits you and one in which you are highly knowledgeable about. You should be able to write about the topic or hire someone who can translate your notes into a blog. Posting a couple times a week is a good means to ensure visitors. If you have a news-related blog, you would benefit by posting 2-3 times daily. You could split your blog into interesting sections or tags. For example, the Studio1c blog has articles tagged at the bottom of each article so you can simply click the keyword you want more information on and it takes you to a list of articles using those keywords.

    Choose the right keywords:Ensure that you select the right set of keywords in your blog posts, which will keep your customers coming back for more. For this, you can make use of various keyword research tools. Select keywords that could have more than 1,000 searches and less than 100,000 results.

    Bringing the required traffic to your site: Once you get a good deal of traffic to your website, you have a successful blog! There are various tips on how to direct traffic to your site, which could help you considerably in this section. Some of them are:

    Content is KING:Make sure the content you have in your blog is attractive enough to be able to pull quality traffic to your site. You could do this by providing interesting content and facts, which your clients will appreciate and gain sufficient knowledge from.

    Blog comments for blog success:When you happen to comment on any blog, always make sure to leave a link back to your blog. This will help people know where you come from and what exactly your viewpoints are on various topics that suit your interest. Don’t forget to reply to comments on your blog or even other blogs you’ve commented at. You could also try to increase the comments on your blog through various techniques.

    Participating in online forums: Try to take part in online forum discussions. When you manage to post your opinions, make it a point to put your blog URL in the signature. With informative forum posts, you will be able to gain the trust and respect from the blogging community and forum posters.

    It helps to monitor inbound links, traffic, comments and any citations of your blog. Try to reach out to fellow bloggers by building your online networks through services, such as, Twitter and Facebook.

    If you are using WordPress, try to include SEO Plugins, which guarantee you increased visibility online.

    All of the above listed steps will help you attain maximum success in the field on blog marketing. Share your blog marketing tips, here!

  • blog1In times like this many business owners are looking for creative new outlets to attract potential clients. I cannot stress the importance of starting a blog on your website NOW. Reasons for this: It is predicted that 100,000 new blogs are created every day! As they say, “Timing is everything.”

    With the popularity of blogs rapidly increasing now is the time to jump on the wagon. This doesn’t mean you have to blog everyday or even have every topic be ground-breaking. What it does mean is that you are getting the information out there to be found and linked to by potential clients. Over time, these links grow exponentially and soon, your site will have many inbound links to it.

    A few basics
    Albeit tempting to create a blog at a dedicated blogging site like “Wordpress” or “Blogger”, this doesn’t accomplish the same results as having a blog located at your own domain.

    Two reasons for this: it will drive more traffic to YOUR website instead of the dedicated blog site, and you will be able to track hits pertaining to what articles they are most interested.

    WHY you need a blog
    Blogs help you target and attract more of your audience for several reasons:

    • This is another outlet for potential customers that are going to search engines to locate you. You will be providing information based on what your customers are searching/shopping. If they came to your blog, then the must be interested in your product/service, right?
    • Think of a blog and your website as free advertising space. Sure you pay for hosting and the domain (like $60/year!?!), but what a great ROI if the visitors you are attracting are converted into customers.
    • Fresh content helps with your ranking. Frequently updated sites are “crawled” more often and therefore will rank higher. This is seen by search engines as being a worthwhile site with valuable content.
    • Visitors will be more tempted to bookmark your site and return to it if there is worthwhile content. More visits means better ranking in search engines.
    • Blogs allow for 2-way communication that brings a sense of knowing who you are working with.

    PART II: How to start a blog

  • blog6If you run your own business, or planning to start one, you would know the amount of effort and money that goes into marketing your websites & blogs. If you want your business to gain more prominence and wider recognition, you need to blog! Blogging is the best marketing tool you can and should be using to drive business to your business. If you don’t have a blog, please take notice of this list and carefully consider if you should be or shouldn’t be blogging as part of your marketing efforts.

    Business blogs provide your small business with a chance to share your expertise and knowledge with a larger audience. Blogging is changing the way we communicate with our target market, clients/customers and fellow business owners. Blogs provide a way for you to speak directly, openly and honestly with your customer.

    Easy Web Publishing Solution: Blog software is easy to use. Simply write your thoughts, link to resources, and publish to your blog, all at the push of a few buttons. If you’re using TypePad Blogger.com or Wordpress, you are in luck. Blogging communities have developed some of the best tools, plugins, tutorials and software for small business & home business owners to get started. These tools are highly essential because they dramatically increase your website’s content, traffic & sales!

    Search engines love blogs. This is an essential key to recognition and blogging. Because a blog is designed to be easily updated, you will update it with relevant content addressing your target market. If you can write an email, you can update and post to a blog. The key is not just content, but NEW Relevant Content. A well-written, routinely updated, keyword-oriented blog can enhance your chances of garnering high rankings on search engine return pages.

    Blogging can place you and your blog as the place to go for the information that is needed on the Internet. A blog puts that information in a form and fashion your target can understand and use. Your target market is using the web to search for everything, including the services or products you are offering. Our prospects and our market are demanding more than we can provide in a Yellow Page ad or on a static Web site. You can provide up-to-date, relevant and much needed information with a blog, which your audience/customers and future clients are demanding.

    Competitive Differentiation:Because blogs give you the opportunity to tell your story over and over, they help set you apart from the competition. Blogs enable you to articulate your viewpoints, knowledge and expertise on matters pertaining to your industry, thereby positioning you as an expert.

    Having a blog puts you in control of your own marketing strategy.Because you are in complete control of your blog, you have the ability experiment as much as you want, without the fear of losing big money as in the case of media campaigns. E.g. you can broadcast your very own radio or TV talk show. With the technology available, you can publish podcast and video podcast as often as you want. You will be able to interact with your target audience and market yourself in a way you could never do with just a normal ad in a news paper /Yellow Page or a static Web site. When it comes to blogging sky really is the limit!

    I am always happy to solve your questions about blogging. Both how-to and what it can do for you and your business. Get in touch with me today.

  • how-to-blogWith a bit of creative writing, a small business can have big results from a blog. Many of my clients often ask, "What do I blog about?" and to this I have a question for them, "What are they interested in?" Below are other ideas to spark that creative writer hidden within all of us.

    What to write about - a mini-brainstorming session

    • Future developments in your industry
    • Newsworthy (industry related) items that affect your clients directly
    • Ways you are incorporating "Green Living" into your life or business (studies show internet buyers are most interested in purchasing/doing business with people who are environmentally conscious).
    • How is your business different from your competitors? Quality? Variety of Services? Price?
    • Articles that address ways your product/service can help/benefit your customers
    • Broadcast sales or promotions
    • Announce new services
    • Share links about your industry, new products in the industry, etc
    • Include photos and descriptions of your [new] products

    Just to give you an example: A friend of mine is starting up a business for her husband who does carpentry, building furniture, etc. I told her she should put a blog on her site and received the typical, "Why, what would we write about?" My reply was this. If someone is looking into a reputable carpenter for building furniture, I would want to know more about the furniture, his skills, what makes his furniture of the quality I would want, or how his is different from something I could purchase at IKEA. This definitely was an "ah-hah" moment for the client.

    Promoting your blog

      • Post each new blog on your site, then spread the word to Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here you can create an account and post a link back to your website blog article. Email your friends/contact that you've posted it. They can then vote for it on StumbleUpon, Digg it, Reddit, etc. This gets the visitor to your site to continue reading, to help your SEO.
      • Add an RSS Feed to your articles so readers can stay abreast of new postings.
      • Monitor what people leave for comments too. Comment on their comments. Keep the communication going.
      • eMail (eNewsletter, eVite) Marketing can also be a valuable way to get out informational and educational blog articles out to potential clients. Start the article in your email and link back to your site for them to continue reading.
  • blog-6Blogging well is the bottom line whether you maintain a personal or business blog. However, a well-read business blog that gets quality traffic is a world away from sharing your opinions, reviews, and personal beliefs in your personal blog. Since your business blog is a tool to promote and grow your business, remember that you must always:

    • Maintain a professional tone.
    • Not resort to any kind of arguments, personal or otherwise. Remember, a businessman discusses his view points, doesn’t counter someone else’s.
    • Not resort to the online footprint sharing strategy, the ‘I visit your blog, you visit mine’ kind of a flippant, informal approach. You are here to only promote your trade/business/expertise, so your audience should be aligned to that singular aim.
    • Always emphasize your positive points - don’t give your audience the impression that you’re hiding your negative points.

    Once you’ve followed these guidelines, how do you go about getting your business blog noticed by professionals online? Following are ways you can successfully implement to get your blog noticed – thereby growing your business.

    1. Explain your business – In the ‘About’ section of your blog, give a detailed, yet concise analysis of your business – the why, where, how, what and when of it. Give brief mention to how it affects the current trends of the trade you’re in. Quote some of the testimonials you’ve received. Briefly outline your code of ethics. And sum it up why you do what you do.
    2. Employ an always formal, yet dignified and humble tone - Don’t be pompous and self-aggrandizing. But let the world know what you’ve achieved, in a very modest way. Humility while “tooting your own horn” is the trick.
    3. Blogroll your business inspirations – If there are business peers and seniors that you look up to who have their own blog, link them on the side bar. And if you can mention in one or two words how they inspire you, do it.
    4. Debunk popular myths about your business– Since you are in a business of your choice, it’s a foregone conclusion that you’d be an expert on it rather than laymen who claim to know more and spread myths and falsities. Make an effort to demystify some of the more far-reaching ones, so your readers know you’re an authority because of your experience and know-how, and not because of assumptions.
    5. Compare your business to competitors and other international markets– Highlight those features that your competitors and outside markets don’t offer. Compare prices and trade opinions as well as benefits and disadvantages, if any. On either side, that is. Be fair, but if you are on the negative side, let there be a mere mention of it. Promise (and deliver) to iron out those creases.
    6. Reach out to your audience – Showcase their feedback and comments in a blog post, it’ll give them the impetus to spread good words about your business. Let them know that their feedback and time are appreciated. The “Mind your Ps & Qs” way of life works in a business blog as well. Offer discounts, freebies, schwag bags, a referral, etc. in return, but wait for a few months before you do this. Over some months, you’ll also be able to gauge a client’s authenticity. Wait to build a firm online rapport, so that they know your appreciation cannot be taken for granted.
    7. Be funny once a while – A video with your team’s antics as a de-stress mechanism or one of you goofing off on a holiday is a surefire way to make that human connect. This bridges all kinds of gaps and gives your audience some insights into your personal life, and provides a sense of trust in you.
    8. Use SEO and SEM to your advantage – Write your blog posts catering to your search engine referrers. Understand search trends and communicate accordingly on your blog. This is a great way to increase readership of your blog.
    9. Engage in discussions outside of your blog– And then reprint it (after taking necessary permissions, of course) on your blog, so that your readers know you’re serious about your business, and will do whatever it takes to ensure it achieves its potential.
    10. Donate to a good cause – And highlight it on your blog, and let your audience see your altruistic side. This not only wins you their respect, but it has been found that it has a positive domino effect insofar that readers are also motivated to donate their money and time, among other things, to charities and causes that they believe in.

    Remember, it is not about establishing a personal identity, but showcasing your business acumen and professional integrity to the online world, while adding a human touch to it. With these simple and easy-to-follow steps, your business blog can be used as the most efficient tool to promote and grow your business in today’s times.

  • blog5In the last decade, nothing has taken the online world by storm like blogging has. Overnight, people could share opinions, news, information, you name it on a webpage hosted by a blogging site – and it was mostly free. And since we live in a (mostly) democratic world, free speech became the trendiest right of a free people.

    In the last couple of years, the phenomenon of blogging has grown by leaps and bounds, and is now considered a worthy equivalent to even journalism, albeit with its own branding – cyber journalism. Blogging has given rise to a new voice, that of the common citizen (or in this case, netizen), and is not only a forum to discuss and connect with people all across the globe, but also as a means to give back to the society we live in. Blogs have been used as places to establish identities, help victims of natural disasters, as a common platform for millions to connect and work towards a single cause and also as a means to make money with online advertisers buying space to showcase their products and concepts on topical blogs. With blogging being seen as an extremely lucrative avenue with great moneymaking potential, how does a blogging novice ensure their blog is read? Here are ten easy steps to get that online readership you want:

    1. Showcase your unique voice – Every person is unique, and his voice is his own. Whilst what you may read/discover on the net can add different flavors to your opinions, ensure you don’t plagiarize/life material off of/pass someone else’s material as your own. Be it quirky, opinionated, highly vociferous or plain ‘taking a stand without hurting anyone’s feelings’ approach, remember – exercise your uniqueness. Establish your own unique net identity.
    2. Let your sense of humor shine through– An old adage says ‘Man grows up the day he has his first laugh at himself.’ Truer words were never spoken. When you’re making your voice public, remember that for everyone who agrees with you, there’ll be ten who don’t. Take every comment/suggestion in your stride. It’s been known to convert die-hard enemies into grudgingly appreciative supporters.
    3. Play with words – Originality is the key. As you write more, you’ll find that you have more to say. And more to share.
      Establish your identity – Add an ‘About Me’ page to your blog, to let the reader know a little something about you. Share only those details that you feel comfortable sharing, but do establish your identity. Also, take a stand. Be counted. Don’t be a mere statistic. Straddling the fence will only get you disregarded. Stand up for what you believe in, while respecting the opposition. Nothing invites readership like a bit of controversy, so be Priscilla of the Desert if you have to.
    4. Stay current– While a bit of nostalgia is good, make an effort to write about and discuss current topics.
      Endorse a cause – Whether it is going green, supporting an NGO that works for children of a lesser God, or even the health benefits of wheatgrass, share what you know and what you wholeheartedly endorse, and why. Add widgets/buttons of your favorite causes to a side panel on your blog.
    5. Be courteous at all times – Welcome every visitor to your blog; attempt to get to know them better. And let them know you appreciate their visits. Offer professional tips to those who ask for it, guide people to the right channels if you can. They’ll appreciate it and spread the word.
    6. Understand your audience – If you’re selling a product, or a concept, make an effort to understand the potential needs of your customer. Offer a value-add to the time and money they spend on your blog – a freebie is always welcome, be it kudos, a thank you note or a small token of appreciation.
    7. Blogroll your favorites – Let the world know who you read, and why you read them. Link them either on your blog or blogroll them in a separate link. You’re helping other bloggers get readership, thereby encouraging your own.
    8. Be a good neighbor – Last but not the least, repay the favor of every visitor with footprints of your own on their blogs. No community is built sitting at home – you need to show people you care about their opinions, too. Go over and say hi as regularly as you can, and yes, read them, too.

    These are tried and tested methods to ensure a growing readership of your blog, recommended by successful bloggers themselves. Add a stats counter to your blog, follow these steps and keep a track of the traffic. Within a couple of months, you’ll see a noticeable difference, of the good kind. Happy blogging!

  • blog3Blogging is a regularly updating advertisement for your online business which provides your readers detailed information about your product updates, company information and recent happenings in your company. Updating your blog frequently means letting your readers and potential customers know that you are always trying to improve, be it improving your product quality or service and thereby reassuring their faith in your company’s products. Blogging is also known for its effective quality of generating quality traffic for your business and establishing your points of presence in your field of business.

    Why Blogging in 21st Century Businesses is Important

    Builds a Network
    This is a fact that businesses cannot be promoted with a sole thought. And when it comes to online business, sharing views and news is absolutely important. Thus, blogging plays an important role to promote your business in this dynamic world. Today more than ever, we can see that even a small business firm in the most remote city in the US, can sell their products globally and this is possible because the majority of the population now prefer the Internet as their primary shopping medium.

    Blogging helps promote your business and share your thoughts, which in turn, helps you to be in the same frequency as your customers. You can better understand your customer’s needs and change your business processes accordingly to meet their needs.

    Economically Sound
    Blogging not only helps you to promote your business but it also saves your advertising money. Blogging itself is an advertising tool that costs you very less to maintain but helps your business to get immense PR, which cannot be achieved even by paying for an expensive ad agency.

    Furthermore, linking your blog is another impressive way to endorse your business because in this way you not only earn valuable traffic to your blog but also your site becomes a target for qualified customers. Frequently updating your blog content and revitalizing your blog posts will definitely help to increase your page rank because search engines love fresh content and indexes them on a regular basis.

    Brings Business to You
    Blogging shows your importance and experience at your field. Thus, blogging has also been an effective way of generating business opportunities. Blogging helps you to grow your network online which is very important to promote your business and for making quality link exchange.

    Blogging is an essential part of web businesses and is becoming an essential tool to promoting your business in the 21st century.

    Hidden Tools for Fame and Fortune
    Including tags to your site is an essential tool. Though adding tags may consume a few minutes; its results are worthwhile. Tags are easily noticed by search engines. They also help your readers to identify your blog when they search the popular blogs. This helps you to earn fame and recognition among your readers which is necessary because it shows your importance and experience as a good blogger.

    Furthermore, submitting your site to bookmarking sites like: Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit helps you to generate more traffic. It’s better to include your best posts to these bookmarking sites because it creates a good reputation of your blog among the readers.

    Company Networking
    Many companies are blogging to promote their business and also encouraging employees to do the same. You want your employee’s blogging to share experience and perspective of your company and your products. With an average of 3 million blog entries written each day, it's evident that blogging will be a viable tool in online networking.

    A Recruiting tool
    The business blog is a recruiting tool for your company. Potential employees can learn about your culture, your policies, your way of interacting with the world, and the process you use for hiring employees. Business blogging is a powerful tool for engaging the people who might want to potentially work for you. Thus, blogging contributes a lot to your business success from every point of view.

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