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Blog Business World

Blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and SEO search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

 

Blog Promotion: Writing Articles

You see them on every website, all over the internet.

They are articles written by guest writers.

Every website that's looking for more visitors, needs fresh content. Blogs are certainly no different. On the internet, content is king. I know that's a major cliche, but it's true.

If you want to get visitors, you need to provide great content.

So do other bloggers and webmasters.

You can also gain more readers for your own blog, by providing guest articles as content to other bloggers, and to traditional websites.

It's not that hard to do.

In fact, it's as easy as creating an e-mail request, and sending it to many of your favourite blogs and sites. Simply ask them if they accept guest articles. While not all of the people you contact will require your written work, many will gladly accept what you have to offer.

If you receive a refusal, don't take it personally. In most cases, the blogger probably creates enough content on their own.

The only catch for you, is the articles you write must be top quality, or no one will want them. No one will place bad content on their sites (unless it's their own creation!). If you don't write well, practice on your own blog first.

The more you write, the better you'll get.

The only stipulation you should always make, for printing your writing, is the user of your article place a link back to your blog.

After all, the point of writing the feature story is to get more visitor traffic to your blog. They can't find you without a live link. A brief two or three line biography, of you and your background, is also desireable.

If you have a great column already written, offer it to bloggers and webmasters who cover the same topics, as your area of expertise.

Everyone can write a top quality article, if they follow a few simple steps.

1) Write what you know best, in your first article. Your knowledge will carry the article for you. It will simply write itself.

2) Create a brief outline. Start with an introduction, that tells them what main points the article will be covering. Three points is about the right number of issues for a brief internet column. Write those points out, explaining them fully, yet without getting carried away with being too long winded. Write a conclusion that matches the points covered. Voila!

3) Set the article aside for a day, and then edit it for content and style. Your next draft will be much more professional looking than the original.

4) Add a link back, at the end of the article, to your blog. A brief personal biography, of about two or three lines is also a great addition.

As you receive permission to place your new article on other blogs and websites, make certain that your writing appears as submitted. Check the link back to your blog too. While most people will provide a link, sometimes the link will simply not work. That just happens.

if the link doesn't work, let the article host know about it. They will fix it for you.

As your articles appear on other blogs and sites, your reputation for expertise in your area of endeavour increases dramatically.

As your reputation increases, so too will your readership, and your blog's incoming links.

Articles are a vast untapped technique for finding new visitor traffic, and adding new incoming links.

Get those keyboards tapping!

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Google PageRank and Backlinks Updated Pt. 2

Blog Business World has had a PageRank update to PageRank 6 (PR6).

PageRank is Google's measure of importance of an internet page, based on its number of incoming links, often referred to as backlinks.

Blog Business World is showing a total of 472 incoming links from the Google Toolbar.

For those of you who don't have the Google Toolbar, which incidently only seems to work with MS Internet Explorer, and not on Mac computers, is available to download (free) from Google:

Google Toolbar Download

The PageRank indicator is in green and white on the right hand side of the toolbar. Mouse over it and it will give the PageRank (mine says 6/10). The more green, the higher the PageRank.

My other roller derby blog is also a PageRank 6, and shows a total of 556 backlinks.

To view your incoming links from the Google Toolbar, click on a blue oval with a white letter i in the middle. It opens up a dropdown menu. Click on "backward links", and your Google recognized (PR4 or higher) backlinks will appear.

Keep in mind that Google does not list all of the available backlinks; only a sampling, and only PR4 or higher links. That doesn't mean the rest are not counted, however. They are.....mostly.

For another fun exercise, in finding incoming links from blogs, check out the Truth Laid Bear Blogoshere Ecosystem.

Listing blogs in a pseudo-Darwinian hierarchy, from "Higher Beings" at the top to "Insignificant Microbes" at the bottom, the Ecosystem is based on incoming links.

The more unique incoming links to a blog, the more highly it ranks on the Blog Ecosystem.

To find out where your blog is placed in the Ecosystem, type your blog title into the Search box, found on the right hand side of the page.

Your blog will appear on a page, along with its numerical ranking in the system. Click on your blog's title for its "level of evolution" in the Ecosystem. If your blog doesn't appear, click on "Add Your Blog" and fill in your blog title and URL, and enter it.

According to the Ecosystem, Blog Business World is a "Flappy Bird".

For more Ecosystem fun, you can add a bit of code to your blog, that lets you know your status in the Ecosystem hierarchy of creatures. Your status will be displayed right on your blog.

To rise in the Blog Ecosystem, you need to get more links coming into your blog..

To get more incoming links to your blog, there are really only two reliable techniques. In fact, they are really one and the same.

You have to keep adding fresh, informative, and interesting new content to your blog. If you ail to do that, you'll simply have very few readers, and not many people wanting to link to your blog.

With quality content, you'll gain links in two ways.

Many other bloggers will simply link to your blog, and to your posts, because they are interesting to them and their readers. Other bloggers will be more than happy to exchange links with you as well, if you have a great blog.

Neither will happen if you don't update your blog regularly, with fresh and interesting posts.

Backlinks are important, but content is king.

Fresh blog content is even more royal!

Provide great fresh content, and the backlinks and PageRank will follow.

In that order.




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Monday, December 29, 2003

 

Year end blogging reviews of 2003 begin

Blogging Ambassador extrordinaire Trudy Schuett has already started the parade of year end blogging reviews of 2003.

In her post Once and Future Heroes 2003, she names bloggers and blogging supporters who she calls,

"a list of people who are doing good things for the Internet, for blogging, and helping those of us who are slightly tech-impaired to do our thing online. You may or may not have heard of some of these people...

"The Internet is no longer boring or exclusionary thanks to these people! You probably have your own list of heroes..."

Along with notable bloggers like Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, Chris Pirillo, and the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, are some other well known individuals.

I subscribe to Ann Handley's newsletter, from the superlative marketing and business site Marketing Profs. There is a wealth of knowledge on that site that everyone should read. Every time I go there, I don't learn a single new thing. I learn hundreds of ideas!

I also receive a newsletter from the veryknowldgeable and helpful Debbie Weil. It's great to see her make the list. She certainly deserves it.

Bloggers made news in 2003, and Trudy's list includes many of those who made it happen. A glaring omission from her list, of course, is Trudy Schuett herself. Understandably, she is too modest to include her own name.

So....I'll do it for her.

Trudy Schuett belongs on any list of influential bloggers for 2003, or any other year for that matter!

I was excited to see a couple of friends of mine make this prestigious list.

Loren Baker of the tremendous blog directory Blog Search Engine, and the great blogger's discussion forum Blogger Talk, made the list.

Also included was Dougal Campbell, inventor of the wonderful one stop blog pinging tool Blog Service Pinger. I have mentioned this tool, for letting everyone know about updates to your blogs, on Blog Business World in a previous column.

I also have a permanent link to Blog Service Pinger on my Resources list.

Oh, I made Trudy's list too.

I barely belong as a footnote, but I am honoured and pleased to have been included with the giants of the blogging world.

I feel like Gulliver in the Land of the Giants, Brobdingnag, in Gulliver's Travels, in such illustrious company.

Oh, by the way, the link to the book Gulliver's Travels, lets you read it online for free.

Despite being one of the truly great books in the English language, you still didn't actually expect me to suggest paying for Gulliver's Travels, did you?

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Links add value to your blog

I was surprised to discover, on a post on the blog discussion board Blogger Forum, that some people believe incoming links can harm their blog.

The myth the question addressed was whether "having incoming low-rated links, or links that are not rated, will reduce your own site's page ranking."

That is untrue.

Let's make one thing abundantly clear.

Incoming links help!

Incoming links help your site's rankings in the search engines like Google(from searches for your main search terms and keywords).

Incoming links help your site's PageRank (PR) (the measure of your blog's importance based on the number and quality of incoming links) regardless of the incoming link's PR value.

I think what the myth has confused, is Google only shows on your backlinks report, PageRank 4 (PR4) or higher links. That report is only a sampling too, and doesn't include all of the links to your blog either.

Google takes into account all incoming links it collects as its spiders (search engine computer robots that travel the internet indexing websites) crawl your blogs. While a PR2 site (a low PageRank site) may not pass along as much PageRank as a higher, say PR6 site, they all are included in the calculation of PageRank.

Sites with more incoming links, tend to be placed much higher in the search results for your keywords, than those sites lacking many backlinks. The more links the better.

Links add to your blog's search rankings and PageRank.

Links do not subtract.

Don't hesitate to trade links with a site that has a "low" PageRank. That PR can increase over time as that blog adds incoming links.

The only links that can harm your blog are from Google penalized sites (including some "link farms" and "free for all (FFA)" sites.) You are not penalized if they link to your blog, however.

Google understands that you have no control over who links to your blog. You are only hurt if you link back to them, as Google believes you have control over what links you place on your own blog. Avoid those, and you have nothing to worry about!

In summary, incoming links are good for your blog.

Don't listen to those people who say otherwise.

They are only repeating myths.

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Saturday, December 27, 2003

 

Google PageRank and backlink update followup

As I reported recently, Google is in the midst of updating its PageRank and reported backlinks, for the three billion plus pages in its data base.

For those of you who are interested in your blog's PageRank and incoming links, this is an important time. In case you were wondering, Google updates them about once a month, but that can vary widely. Google likes to keep everyone off balance in that regard!

If you are unaware of where your blog stands, you need to download the Google Toolbar. It has an indicator of both PageRank and backlinks.

It can be downloaded directly from Google:

Google Toolbar Download

If any of you have experienced an increase or decrease, in PageRank and/or reported backlinks, please let me know.

It's my opinion, that blogs generally do very well, in regard to Google PageRank and reported backlinks. One of the strengths of blogs, is their ability to score very highly in these areas.

I think that blogs, because of their frequently updated content and generous linking and link trading policies, will outscore many traditional static websites.

If any of you wish to share your experiences in this, or any other Google issues, please let me know.

It would be interesting to hear some personal information about how your blogs are faring with Google. That would include what's happening with your PageRank, backlinks, and search. Search is where your blog appears when you enter your main keywords in the search box. What page does your blog fall upon?

For example, if you enter... blog business ... in the Google search box, Blog Business World ranks Number One on Page One (out of over 3 million returns), for that phrase.

As a new site, Blog Business World has a good PageRank 5 (PR5) and shows 135 PR4 or higher incoming links. Google only reports PR4 or higher backlinks. The backlinks total is also available on the Google Toolbar.

Feel free to let me know how your blog is doing in Google.

Leave me a comment or e-mail me at blogbusinessworld@yahoo.com

I'm sure it's going great!

And if not, why not?








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Friday, December 26, 2003

 

Blog History: The Real Story

Many great thinkers of the day have pondered the weblog (blog) phenomenon, that is gaining momentum on the internet.

A few investigative historians, have delved into the background, of where and how blogs arose on the internet. While more famous historians have ignored the topic, a few less well known individuals have tackled the subject.

Here is one historian's account.

It seemed that a certain caveman named Og, who was of a rather artistic bent, was under a lot of pressure from Mrs. Og to make a few more clams. Og was not much of a hunter. The idea of tracking, and worse actually finding, a twenty ton mastadon was not really his horn of boiled berries.

Mrs. Og grew impatient with the decided lack of variety on Og's hunting and gathering list. It seemed that a really appetizing meal, created fully from leaves and tree bark, was not handed down in the family feast epics. Mrs. Og demanded her husband grab his own hair, and get something better for the hearth.

Og was not certain what to do. He spent the rest of the month gathering berries, and etching the results on on a log outside the opening to their rather damp cave.

Suddenly he had a plan!

He would search through the interconnecting network of caverns, and find some food. Failing that, maybe a few caves needed a bit of artwork for their walls. He wandered through the caves, and found the local holy man.

"Greetings Oh Holiest of Men, I seek an opportunity to display my artwork, " said Og.

The holy man pointed to the rather boring looking Lascaux Cave. "That place of sacrifices could use a little remodelling," said the holy man. "We need something to bring in the younger crowd. A few chants just doesn't interest them anymore."

Og eagerly accepted the holy man's shells and clams in payment. Og drew all manner of local animals on the dark cave walls. As he painted, he entered more marks on his log. Over time, the log filled up, and he needed more space to scratch his daily marks. He decided to join them together, in imitation of the spider.

We would create a spider web inspired design of his log markings.

One day as Og was setting up another log, as a post in his wild beast blocking fence, he had a visitor. It was the huge man, El Gorer. Gorer wanted to be tribal leader, but not everyone liked him. Of course, not everyone liked his opponent, Smaller Tree either. The council trial by ordeal, determined by who could take the pain of red hot pokers to the feet longer, would be a close one.

That is another story beyond the scope of this historical study.

El Gore looked over Og's spider inspired work, and announced that he had already had that idea. It was his invention, along with how he invented fire, and the fish hook. After all, he declared,"I invented the interconnecting nets for fishing!"

Og was speechless.

He stammered, "But...but...it's my...b...log....my inter.....net..."

El Gorer stopped him.

"I invented them.....hmmm....I invented the inter......net......and the b'log," as he mimiced Og's stammer, "is part of it!"

Og was not one for tribal leadershio issues, or any sort of confrontation for that matter, so he let El Gorer have his way. He even let El Gorer play his log drum, using what El Gorer called his El Gorer Rhythm.

Og was speechless.

El Gorer had taken his ideas.

On the other hand, Og would continue to mark his b'logs, whether anyone liked it or not.

Neither Smaller Tree nor El Gorer would stop his entries. Og would be free to draw whatever he liked on his b'logs and posts.

Unfortunately for history, the rest of the story has been lost.

Only Og's accidental words, b'log and inter...net, remain.

Historians, and many amateurs, are still trying to figure out the meaning of the El Gorer Rhythm.

Some say it has created an entire industry.


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Thursday, December 25, 2003

 

Google PageRank and backlink update

The dominant search engine Google, gave a few people a nice Christmas gift, in their virtual stockings.

Google is busily updating its backlinks and PageRank. Like Santa, Google is making a list, checking it twice, and finding a few sites naughty, and a few sites nice.

Reports are appearing, from some webmasters, that their PageRank (PR) has increased. PageRank (one word) is the measure Google uses to evaluate the importance of a website. The PageRank calculation is based on the number, and already existing PageRank, of a site's incoming links.

A PageRank increase is usually accompanied by an increase in the number of backlinks (links coming into your site) that Google is counting. Google does not list incoming links that are lower than PageRank 4 (PR4). The other links are taken into consideration in the PR measurement, however.

To find out your own blog's PageRank, you need to install the Google Toolbar.

It can be found here:

Google Toolbar Download

Unfortunately, a Mac based Toolbar is unavailable.

Other webmasters are reporting the opposite is happening. They have found a decrease in their reported backlinks from Google.

That decrease in backlinks, and corresponding PR drop, is Google's equivalent of receiving a stocking filled with a lump of coal.

Bloggers have usually done well in Google's backlink reports and PageRank distribution. Because bloggers are such generous, and frequent linkers, blogs have done extremely well in Google.

At the same time, bloggers have placed almost no importance on chasing Google PageRank. Because of that lack of concern with PR numbers, blogs have been doing the right thing all along. Bloggers trade links, add links, and create in-post links to other blogs and websites, regardless of any PageRank concerns.

That good karma is returned to bloggers, and many don't even know it!

Many PR conscious webmasters refuse any link trades with blogs or websites that display a PR4 or lower. In the long run, that Scrooge attitude is harmful to a site or blog. That shortsighted view is not shared by the vast majority of blogs.

The value of any weblog or website is to the visitor.

Providing your readers, with interesting and informative posts and content, is what a blog or any other website is all about.

Whether PageRank is important to you or not, your generous link adding and trading policies are of benefit to you, and to your visitors.

You can't get a better holiday gift than that!

Season's greetings to all of you, from me at Blog Business World and Wayne's Derby World.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2003

 

Why would anyone want to blog?

As regular bloggers, we often take blogs for granted.

That is not the case on an internet wide basis. Much to the shock and awe, of many members of the blogging community, not everyone knows about blogs.

I realize that's a bit harsh for many people, but it's a fact. We are often guilty of thinking, "Of course, everyone knows what a blog is!"

Well, they don't!

Blogger David St. Lawrence picks up that theme on his Ripples blog.

He knows almost everyone is aware of e-mail newsletters, but are less well informed about the potential of weblogs.

In comparing the concept of maintaining a blog to sending out an e-mail newsletter, David comes down squarely on the side of blogs. He believes blogs, as "pull" technology, are simply less intrusive than e-mail (a "push" technology).

The blog lets the reader visit and peruse your entries at leisure. It's less forced than having a newsletter arrive in your already overloaded e-mail inbox. David is intrigued as well, by the long term and almost eternal staying power of the blog, on internet search engines.

Perhaps, the blog could provide a bit of mini-immortality for the writer.

As to whether the blog can make its creator famous, that may be true in a few select cases. For the rest of us, it's an opportunity to share ideas with others, regardless of their numbers.

I attempt to provide assistance, to business people who are looking for another way to get their message out, to their customers and business associates.

The business blog fills that role quite nicely.

I just hope to "pull" a few more readers.

Hmmmm...maybe I should "push"?

Nah....I'll just stick to blogging.


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Business blogs: content value

Every blog, like all other types of websites, requires content.

Business blogs are certainly no exception.

Your blog needs fresh, interesting and informative content for several reasons.

1) Your blog requires content to attract readers, and to have them return over and over again.

2) A blog must provide a quality visitor experience. If your reader finds nothing interesting or helpful, at your site, your blog serves no real business or social purpose.

3) Your blog needs constantly added content to rank highly in the search engines, like Google, Inktomi, AltaViista, and MSN.

4) A business blog should assist in achieving the goals set out for your business.

To look at the issues individually:

1) You have to decide what form of content your site will show your visitors. Content can come in the form of regularly posted articles, photographs, audio, video, forums, and messengers.

While the decision about what content formats your blog will utilize, you will have to provide it on a fairly frequent basis. On the internet, content is king. In blogging, frequently updated content is even more royal.

2) Your blog posts must have some value for the visitor. While it's not necessary to be constanly informative, the content should meet some objectives. If your goal is to entertain, that's fine too.

An essential feature of good blog content, is to satisfy the visitor, that your blog is worthwhile to visit. The posts presented should be interesting enough to cause the reader to want to return to your blog again.

3) Search engines love fresh content. Their spiders (computer programs that search the internet for content to index in their search engine data base) are constantly crawling websites, search for changes to websites.

As a blog, your site is in a constant state of update. The search engines love that freshness aspect of blogs. As new material appears on your site, the search engine spiders will index it in their home data bases. Because your posts contain more and more words, your blog will appear on searches for all of those terms, whether targeted or not.

4) A business blog, if included as part of an overall business plan, should help to reach the company's goals. The blog is another tool to use as a means to that end.

The business blog can aid your marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization efforts. As a means of increasing your business's visibility, a blog is a great option.

As your business blog begins to take shape, be sure to keep your business goals in mind. Your blog can help you along the way. All you have to do is provide regularly updated content, and bring the visitors in to read it, over and over again.


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Monday, December 22, 2003

 

A great new article on SEO Chat

Don't miss a great column, written by my friend David Clain of Swagu entitled Search Engine Myths Debunked.

It can be found at SEO Chat, a quality website that discusses search engine optimization issues.

In the article, David discusses the many urban legends that have surrounded search engines for awhile.

I'm certain you will find his article helpful, in answering a few of your search engine questions.

I also have articles published at SEO Chat.


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Sunday, December 21, 2003

 

Blogshares game returns

Players of the popular fantasy stock market game Blogshares, will be happy to know the game has returned.

As I had previously reported, there were efforts being made to revive the game that uses blogs as the game's stocks.

They were successful.

Blogshares was recently taken over, and returned to active trading, by Jay Campbell of Santa Cruz Tech. The game had previously been operated, until its sudden but temporary closure, by Seyed Razavi.

I just checked my portfolio, of blog shares purchased prior to the site's sudden disappearance. All of the shares remain, although a few I wanted to sell before the site closing, have dropped a lot in value.

In fact, they crashed!

Will that teach me not to buy high risk stocks?

Not likely!

Oh well.

It's only a game!

To join the fun, put on your best Armani designer label suits, and take a limousine ride over to Blogshares.

Perhaps you are a budding stock market genius, and didn't even know it!

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Saturday, December 20, 2003

 

Comments are now invited on this blog

I have added a comments feature to this blog.

You will find it at the very end of each post, duly marked "Comments".

Feel free to add your comments to my posts, and let me know how the commenting system works.

It's an add-on commenter.

Blogger doesn't make one available yet, for those of who use free Blogger.

Many of my readers had been suggesting, that I get out of the Stone Age, and add a commenting feature to my blog.

I did.

I found a free one too!

I got the commenter from Free Blogger Commenting System.

As with all of my advice and recommendations, the commenter was free!

I like to practice what I preach.

Mostly!

I look forward to reading your comments.


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Are other blogs linking to your blog?

I have often discussed the value of link exchanges in this column.

While there are some concens in some quarters, about trading links and their effect on your Google rankings, I still believe they are a good thing for bloggers.

Bloggers trade links, ljust like any other traditional websites, but bloggers add links without swaps too. Every day, bloggers link to interesting articles and blog posts all over the internet. Bloggers add other blogs to their blogrolls and links sections, often without requesting any link in return.

Because of that generous free linking, bloggers were not caught up in the concerns about link trades, expressed by other websites. Blogs didn't seem to be penalized by Google, in the recent Florida update, for trading links.

For those who haven't already heard, here's the speculation.

One of the possible reasons, for many sites losing search engine rankings in Google's recent update, was the practice link trading. While that theory remains unproven, I don't think blogs suffered any setbacks at all for swapping links.

In fact, I think blogs were rewarded.

The more links to your blog, the better, in the eyes of the search engines.

How can you find out who is linking to your blog?

One way to find your incoming blog links is to check Technorati.

If you want to know what blogs are linking to yours, simply enter your blg URL in the search box at Technorati. The incoming linked blogs will appear, in order of most recent linking to you first. If you prefer, you can check the list by "blog authority", meaning the most heavily linked blog will rank first on the list.

For a more thorough list of incoming links, click on http://www.google.com.

In the search box, enter the following:

link: yourblogtitle.com ....and press search.

There will appear in the results, a list of all the mentions of your blog, all over the internet. The links are all taken into account by Google, in its calculation of where your blog ranks in its search results, whether they are major links or not. Many will not appear in Google's other lists of your backlinks.

Note that not all of the listings will be links from blogs and websites. Many will be from forums, message boards, and any other places your blog is mentioned.

Another method to check your links is to visit Marketleap.

You simply enter your blog's URL (and a couple of others too, if you like) into the search box. Your blog's backlinks will appear from several noted search engines, including Google/AOL (which lists only PageRank 4 or higher links), Alltheweb (which gives a more complete number), AltaVista, HotBot/Inktomi, and MSN.

By looking at the results of each search engine (and note the results will all be different), you can get a fuller picture of who is linking to you.

Knowing your backlinks will help you gain an idea, of how widely spread your blog is, across the internet.

Or not.

Armed with this knowledge, you can decide if a major linking program is needed, to increase your blog's web presence.

The more places your blog can be found, the higher your blog will appear on the search engines, for people looking for your blog's topics.

The higher you appear in search engines, and the more places your blog appears, the more visitor traffic you will have.

Get those links coming to your blog today!

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Friday, December 19, 2003

 

Business blogs: Add your personality

For me to suggest adding personality to your business blog, is to provide a different type of post, than one I normally write.

I am certainly part of that great rift that allegedly exists between personal online journals and diaries on the one hand, and business and technology related blogs on the other.

If anything, I'm guilty of being heavy on the theory and information, and light on the stories of my daily life.

It seems I'm not the only business blogger, who may be offering fewer personal "I" "Me" type posts, than many readers would maybe like to read.

Jennifer Rice, at the very knowledgeable and informative new business blog about branding,
What's Your Brand Mantra seems to be having the same discussion.

She says:

"And as I read back through this post, I realize that I've been writing for too many years with my business hat on... I think I've forgotten how to be quirky! Bear with me, this will be an evolution..."

Thanks to my friend Darren Rowse at Living Room for the link.

I have added What's Your Brand Mantra to my Resources list. I will want to follow Jennifer's posts about her efforts to provide "quirky", along with information about branding.

I can understand her dilemma. In a business blog post, we want to provide as much information on business blogs as we are able. In many cases, that often means sacrificing personal tales for hard information.

I like to think that people read my blog for knowledge and help with their business blogs.

On the other hand, there may be some ways to combine the two blogging styles into a new "third way". Perhaps some experimentation is in order.

If any of you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to e-mail me at:

blogbusinessworld@yahoo.com

Let me know what you think.

I read and answer all of my e-mail.

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Thursday, December 18, 2003

 

Blogs need marketing too

Do you practice blog marketing?

Do you promote and publicize your blog as much and as often as you can?

If you don't, perhaps it's time to start some real blog marketing activities.

I fully understand that many bloggers are not really concerned with having a lot of visitor traffic arrive at their sites. That is their choice and their right. On the other hand, it's nice to know that a few new readers are discovering your words of wisdom (or even slightly less than wisdom).

If you want to increase your visitor traffic, to your website or blog, you have to market it.

There is simply no other option.

Make certain that your blog is listed in all of the available free blog directories. There are many good ones where your blog should be listed.

They include:

Blog Search Engine
Blogwise
Eatonweb Portal
Blog Universe
Popdex
Blogarama
Blogdex
Globe of Blogs
Blizg
Online Marketing Links
Weblogs Compendium
Octopus Files
Kmax
Open Weblog Directory

The addition of your blog to the various blog directories, will not only add visitors to your blog, but improved search engine rankings as well.

The Google algorithm (the computer calculation used to decide where your site will be located on the keyword search returns) places heavy importance on backlinks. Directories are considered very important backlinks.

Along with the exclusively blog directories, are such mainstream and important directories as The Open Directory Project (ODP), better known as DMOZ.

For more information on getting your blog or website into the DMOZ Directory check out my feature SEO Chat article on getting listed in the DMOZ Directory.

You can also market your blog by trading links with other bloggers. Find blogs (using the various blog directories) that are in your area of interest. Read the selected blogs over for a few days to a couple of weeks. Don't simply go by the title or by one day's posting.

Get the feel of their blogs and their writing. Link to a few of their articles. Add a link to their blogs. Since they are bloggers of interest to you, and your readers, suggest a link trade with them. Many bloggers will be more than happy to exchange links with you.

A little used blog marketing techniques is writing articles for various website publications. Your writing is your best marketing vehicle. People reading your articles and ideas, on various topics, will get the feel for your thoughts and concepts. Many of them will visit your blog for more of your writing.

Some blogs accept guest bloggers on their sites. If another blogger asks you to provide a guest column, do so. You can help their blog, by providing them with a new voice (and maybe a day off from blogging!). You can both add some of each others' readers as well.

Sharing works!

Participate in internet forums on your topics of interest. Most forums and message boards let you place a link back to your blog in your "signature file". That is your own little ad for your blog, found at the end of all of your posts.

If you become a forum poster, don't do it to just talk about yourself and your blog. Help others. Answer their questions on various ssubjects openly and honestly. You will be rewarded with some added visitors.

Remember as well, many forum posts are counted as backlinks to your blog by Google, further adding to your listings in the search engine results.

Market your blog to increase your visitor count, your search engine rankings, and your number of incoming links.

It's your product.

Market it like one!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

 

Can blogs make money?

Over at Living Room, blogger Darren Rowse asks the questions that have probably popped into the mind of every blogger.

At least once:

"Will blogging produce millionaires? Can blogging financially provide people with a full time earning capacity? Will we see more and more professional bloggers? Can and should blogs earn money?" asks Darren Rowse.

I have asked that question, and discussed it, on more than one occasion myself.

I believe there are certainly ways that blogs can produce at least some income. Not all bloggers (or even a few) may be able to make a full time living from their blogs. There is no reason why a nice little chunk of change can't slide in the direction of a few bloggers.

One thing we must accept, before we discuss the issue of revenues, is what is the goal of our blog. Is it simply to be an online diary or journal of personal thoughts, free of commercial overtones? If so, then advertising, various sponsorships, and affiliate programs are not for that person.

In this column, I talk about business blogs.

If we can make money from our blogs, then we should look into all possible revenue producing sources.

This marketing, public relations and search engine optimization blog and my other roller derby commentary blog have helped me land a number of paying freelance writing jobs.

My two blogs serve as the writing sample for the prospective publications.

Many bloggers depend on donations for their blogs. Some do better than others at that technique, I'm sure. At Living Room, Darren Rowse has wrestled with the donations concept, and has accepted the idea. He accepts financial support from his many readers.

There is the possiblity of advertising on blogs. Some advertisers will pay for strong traffic flows on widely read sites. Of course, if a blogger plans on selling ad space, then a strong marketing program needs to be put into action. There has to be enough visitor traffic to justify the advertisement fees. It will be the blog owner's job to attract them.

Some bloggers gain some affiliate revenue from links, to Amazon.com, and other major retail sites. As a book or similar product is mentioned in the blog content, a link is placed to the main merchant site. A small commission is sent back, to the linking blog, for the referral. Some heavy duty promotional work could perhaps turn that idea into a tidy monthly cheque.

There are always concerns that if a blog becomes a revenue source, the quality of content might drop. That is always a possibility with any blog, whether it makes any money or not. The onus is always on the writer to provide good high calibre posts, whether paid or not.

I think the quality argument against earning revenue is a red herring. Blogs vary in quality regardless of their financial status. Income, or lack of it, won't change that circumstance one bit. Good and bad blogs will always be out there, whether they make any money or not.

I believe many blogs will become strong revenue producers. Some will never make any income. The vast majority of money making activities undertaken, will produce some added income, for the blogger. Like anything else, it will depend on the marketing and promotional skills of the people involved.

Some people will always make more more money than others.

You can make money at your blog.

You simply have to consider your blog to be your business.








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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

 

Trudy Schuett's blogging series wraps up

Those of you, who like me, are following Trudy Schuett's great three part series on Why Writers Hate Blogs are reminded that part three is now posted.

In Part Three, Trudy discusses a few more technical aspects of blogging. She touches upon "pinging", which is reminding the various blog sites that your blog has been updated. I know "pinging" is kind of a funny word, but then so is blog for that matter!

She also discusses RSS feeds for your blog. RSS feeds are simply an electronic announcement of when your blog has been updated. Your readers download a feature called an "aggregator" to collect the various updates.

If you missed Parts One and Two of Trudy's series, they can be found here:

Why Writers Hate Blogs: Part One

Why Writers Hate Blogs: Part Two

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

 

Keep your search engine rankings high

You've seen my writings about the recent Google update, referred to around the internet as "Florida".

In that recent update, many websites that ranked highly for their various search terms, fell to all time lows. Many went from the top of Page One to Page Ten. Many were lost from the Google listings entirely.

While many of the banished sites have bounced back a little, most have not recovered their former lofty status.

Don't let that disaster happen to you.

One thing that will always help to maintain your position, on the search engine results, is good solid content.

As bloggers, we are constantly adding fresh new material to our sites on a daily basis. Many of you update several times a day, with multiple posts. That will only stand you in good stead with the search engines.

Because of the constantly updated nature of blogs, most of them came through the controversial Florida update in very good shape.

With the new Google algorithm (it's the mathematical program that calculates where your site should be placed in the search returns) currently in place, you and your blog can possibly do even better!

Be sure to use your chosen keywords (the terms that people use in searches that find your site) in your posts. Be careful not to use them too often, however, as Google in particular has taken a hard line on what it perceives as "keyword stuffing". That is the practice of using your keywords far too heavily in your posts.

One way around the keyword stuffing problem is to place the keywords early in your posts. Google's algorithm seems to place more importance on words that are higher up on the page. Strategic placement of keywords is the way to go.

Use that knowledge to help your search rankings.

As you add fresh new content, which Google and the other search engines will always value highly, you give the results some new keywords to find. Your posting topics are all food for the search engine spiders (the computer programs that visit your site).

The more fresh content, the better.

The more strategically placed your keywords, the better.

If you are seeking higher rankings on Google and others, is there any better incentive to post, than that?

In effect, the more you post, the happier the search engine spiders will be, about visiting your blog.

Remember to make note of the keywords that people are using to find your site. These can be found in your site visitor counter logs.

Use them early in your posts.

The search engines will find your blog often and rank you higher.




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Saturday, December 13, 2003

 

Be heard with a blog

The blog, as one person's voice, is one its great strengths.

An individual, who might not otherwise be heard, is able to publish thoughts and ideas. Yes, they could use a website, but a blog has more intimacy and immediacy.

The blog is, in many ways, about you as well as your business.

It is not always easy to get your voice heard in the traditional media.

Press releases and media contacts are great, but they depend upon their being used by the various journalists. They shouldn't be overlooked, as they are powerful tools of your trade, but they do have limitations.

By using a business blog, and promoting and marketing it widely, you can add an effective outlet to your regular media strategies.

Don't overlook working with other bloggers.

Bloggers are extremely cooperative, and are happy to work with you. All that's required is you return the favour. Everyone benefits.

Bloggers love to link to one another's posts, and each other's blogs. As the cross linking occurs, new readers follow. Of course, the blog has to be at least moderately interesting to the visitor.

I support posting in web forums as a marketing technique for your blog. On the other hand, the web forum is still not as powerful for disseminating your message as your own blog.

Web forums are a wonderful thing, but the individual voice as desired by the blogger, is often lost in the shuffle. Forums are better for publicity for your blog, and for helping others, than for directly providing your message.

Combine strong blog posts, with helpful forum and message boards posts for the best results. Use one method to reinforce the other.

At the same time, the blog becomes identified with the writer, almost as a personal brand. Since, in many ways a brand is a promise, the blogger's reputation is developed, or lost on the quality and interests, of the posts presented.

You have to continue to write quality posts to retain your reading audience.

Write about your business, your industry, and perhaps how it affects you personally. You will have an unlimited supply of strong posts as a result.

You can certainly have your voice heard, above the crowd, with a business blog.




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Friday, December 12, 2003

 

Link trades and the so-called Florida Update

The recent Google update, referred to as "Florida" around search engine optimization (SEO) circles, had an adverse effect on many link trading websites.

Blogs trade links extremely frequently, often almost obsessively so. The blog lnk trades were not affected by the Florida Google update.

If anything, blogs benefited tremendously.

Link trading on blogs is fundamentally different from trades done on tradtional websites.

For one thing, on a regular website, the link appears on a links page, or perhaps a links list, and nowhere else. On a blog, that same link out can also appear several times within the blog posts. Bloggers happily link to other sites on a daily basis. It's not a one time thing.

Bloggers are really generous linkers. They literally link to Everything. Because of their heavy outlinking practices, their often large lists of links are not seen by Google as a possible "link farm".

Another reason bloggers were not caught up in the Florida links storm is the location of the blog links list. Blogs have that list right on their home page. They are giving their link swap partners their full bore PageRank benefits. Google's Florida link sweep was felt most heavily by sites that had large link pages that did little else.

No blogger can be accused of that!

Bloggers have their links out front, not hidden in a links page three or four levels deep, in the site directory. The intention of those types of links page is not to be a resource, but to garner added PageRank. Google did not treat that idea very kindly.

Perhaps the new Google algorithm is punishing link swaps for traditional websites, but blogs did very well, for the most part. Bloggers breezed through the Florida update generally unscathed, and sporting brand new PR5, PR6, and PR7 PageRanks.

The natural openess of blogs worked in their favour.

Google rewarded that blog generosity.


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Free business advice and how to use it

Free business advice is readily found all over the internet.

Bloggers are no exception.

I'm no exception!

As you visit the many blogs, found on many blogrolls and links lists, you will find free business advice of all sorts. Some of it is complete with some great and practical ideas for your business. Some of the ideas offered are...well...not as good.

Every business is unique, with its own specific goals and requirements. Every business blog has an entirely different approach to the issues from others. With that inmind a wide variation, in the usefulness of advice, is to be expected.

Some of the very best business blogs offer top notch ideas to help your business grow, For business bloggers, and indeed for all bloggers, ideas on marketing, promotions, public relations, and search engine optimization are found in many places. Some assistance offered is better than other choices offered elsewhere. Not every idea suits your individual needs.

I present many ideas in this daily column that are not applicable to each and every business or every blog.

On the other hand, I offer ideas that may be useful to certain people, at various times. I hope my business advice is helpful to you.

The best option for any seeker of knowledge, is to sift the concepts offered, and keep what is helpful. Ignore the rest. Because there are so many ways to market, for example, not all methods and techniques are going to be useful for your unique situation.

I don't expect anyone to accept all of my ideas and recommendations at face value. I hope you will question them, toss them around, and turn them into what will work best for you.

There is no right answer for every business, although many business gurus would have you think so. At least, they would have you think that their way was the only correct way.

I don't believe that, and neither should you.

Here's my advice for the day.

Question all that you read. Don't accept everything at face value, even if the ideas come directly from Famous Business Guru. Not all concepts and techniques are right for you.

No one knows your business better than you do.

While it's great to step back from the scene a bit, perhaps have a consultant provide a fresh approach, it's still your business. You have to make the final call.

When I suggest the importance and the value, of starting and maintaining a business blog, it's still your job to do it. If it's not within your time budget, it's an idea that won't fly. If it requires taking time away from another staffer, the business blog won't work in your favour either.

On the other hand, if you examine closely the costs and benefits, you may find the business blog working for you.

As you can see, the final choice is yours.

Along with other business columnists, I can only make suggestions and offer advice.

Not everyone is ever going to tell you that.

They are too busy trying to sell you their advice, as noted gurus!

I prefer to try to give you the honest answers.

You are the one who has to make the crucial decisions. You are the one that has to implement the plans you have chosen.

Or live without the ides you decided to ignore.

It's all up to you!

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

 

Helpful advice forums for bloggers

Reading and posting, in the various internet forums, is a great way to learn more about marketing, promotions, and search engine optimzation.

I am a strong believer in joining a number of forums, and being a helpful participant. Sharing your knowledge with other bloggers and webmasters is not giving away secrets. It's all about helping others. That willingness to give your assistance will be repaid many times over.

If you offer good solid information, to readers of the various forums, you will develop a strong reputation as an expert in your field. That reputation will be rewarded with people willing to trade links, and with higher levels of visitor traffic to your blog.

When you post on a web forum, be certain to create a signature file. That file should include either your blog URL or blog title. An even better idea is to provide a blog description instead of the title. In any case, follow the forum rules on signatures, and use them on all of your posts.

Okay, you say, what are some good forums to visit?

As a blogger, you will certainly want to surf to Blogger Talk.

As a forum dedicated to blogs and bloggers, Blogger Talk posters offer advice on everything from promoting your blog to improving your blog design. It's a forum you'll want to visit every day.

I am a Moderator at Blogger Talk.

Another forum designed to assist blogs and bloggers is Blogger Forum. This message board offers assistance to blog newcomers and to more experienced bloggers. Since many people are brand new to the blogging world, the section on Blog Newbies is particularly helpful. It's a great daily spot for bloggers to visit as well.

Blog Business World is a working partner with Blogger Forum.

There are also some great search engine optimization forums out there, that are geared more for static websites, than for blogs. Their advice is still very helpful, for getting your blog moved higher in the search results, for your most important search terms.

SEO Chat is an advanced forum, that features some of the leading search engine optimization experts in the industry, as regular posters. Their information is direct and to the point. I have personally used the knowledge offered there with both of my blogs.

What I have learned there, has resulted in tons of Page One results, for Wayne's Derby World and Blog Business World.

I have articles posted at SEO Chat as well.

Another highly recommended forum is High Rankings Forum. Providing a full range of knowledge, from some of the best website optimizers and copywriters in the business, High Rankings Forum members will provide you with complete and helpful answers to most of your questions.

I post regularly at High Rankings Forum, especially about link trading and directory submissions.

A third great forum is Top 25 Web Forum. Providing advice on search engine optimization, as well as your technical progamming questions, Top 25 Web Forum finds me posting almost daily.

I post mainly about search engine optimization, directory submissions, and linking strategies.

Becoming a regular poster at the various forums has provided me with answers to many of my internet questions. As much as we would like to think we have all the answers (don't we wish!), there are many people out there who are specialists in their fields. Many of them are more than happy to share what they know, free of charge, on the various message boards.

They are very happy to know that they have helped you with your questions.

You will be surprised yourself, at how many people will turn to you for advice.

Once you have established yourself as a polite poster, who answers questions openly and honestly, you will find many more visitors arriving at your blog.

You will be surprised yourself, at how many people will turn to you for advice.

When you post, don't give in to the temptation to shamelessly promote your blog, except in threads specifically created for that purpose. Blogger Talk and Blogger Forum have areas created for just that purpose. Be sure to place a brief blog description in those threads, along with a link to your blog. A few people will find you that way.

Forums are a great way to learn more about blogging, and for sharing what you know with others.

As you help others, they will help you as well.

I look forward to reading your posts!




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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

 

Business Blogs: Ideas for Christmas

As the holiday season draws nigh, you might want to add a Christmas or Hannukah theme to your business blog.

Because of the unique possibilities of the season, it's a good idea to add some holiday themed articles to your blog.

For one thing, search engines like Google, will be heavily searched for Christmas and Hannukah based keywords. Business bloggers can provide a service, not only to their customers and clients, but to the general public as well. Helpful articles, on conducting business during the busy holiday season, are always a much appreciated source of information.

You have unlimited choices. You can write about staffing and personnel issues, holiday oriented sales and marketing ideas, and customer service to name only three. You can also add columns on free publicity, having an in store Santa Claus, and helping the various charities with their fundraising efforts.

There is literally no end to the holiday themed posts you can add to your business blog.

As an added bonus, you can share some personal experiences and some treasured memories with your readers. By doing so, you are helping to strengthen your personal bonds with your clients and customers. Developing ties with customers, suppliers, and business associates is part of creating a long term business relationship.

It's important that you remember to not use your holiday business blog entries as blatant advertising and sales vehicles. That's not a holiday business blog's purpose. This is a time of year for giving. Your festive season columns should provide help and advice for other businesses and your customers.

What better gift can you provide, than sharing your knowledge with others, as you help to enrich their lives. Business ideas benefit other companies. Your personal stories, find a warm welcome, from everyone with whom you make contact.

Sure, you may be giving away a few unique ideas, but why not let some other businesses share in them. Healthy businesses are good for the economy. A strong economy is good for everyone.

The holiday season is a time for giving.

Share your knowledge and ideas.

Help to make other people smile, as you show the true meaning of Christmas.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

 

Blogshares game receives new life

For the past while, I've been following the ups and downs of the Blogshares game.

For those not fully up to speed on the Blogshares turmoil, here is a bit of background.

Blogshares was a fantasy stock market game, where the stocks were the various blogs found around the internet. Their share values were determined by the number of incoming blog links they possessed.

Suddenly, without warning, Blogshares closed down, apparently as a result of technical problems and too great a time commitment of the site owner.

According to a post on The Blog Herald, there appears to be some hope for a Blogshares game revival.

There is no news on the exact date of the game's return, but it's expected to be sometime before Christmas.

Premium Blogshares players, who paid a fee for added game features (I didn't), will have one month added to their subscription to compensate for the downtime.

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Shameless self promotion

Warning:

The following post contains some utterly shameless self promotion.

You were warned!

I just had an article entitled The DMOZ Directory: Get Your Site Listed published on the prestigious SEO Chat website.

The article discusses getting your website or blog listed in the very important Open Directory Project (DMOZ) Directory.

Inclusion in the DMOZ Directory is important for two reasons.

1.) It provides you with very important backlinks, to enhance your Google PageRank, and your placings in searches for your most important keywords.

2.) It provides you with a sizable amount of new visitors, not only from the Directory itself, but also from the many other smaller directories and search engines that use DMOZ listings.

For those of you unfamiliar with SEO Chat, it's a popular site and forum, frequented by many of the industry's leading search engine optimization experts.

I am honoured to be able to have my articles published on their great site.

I have added links to SEO Chat and to my SEO Chat articles page on my list of resources.

End of shameless self promotion.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled blogging.




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Sunday, December 07, 2003

 

The need to blog: should we worry?

Is the pressure to write new and exciting blog entries causing you stress?

Do you feel obligated to post daily, or even hourly, to your blog?

That concern for our readers is a commonly held, yet not often addressed issue for all bloggers. There are days when every blogging person would just as soon not post a thing.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

It's okay folks. You can take days off from your blog. Sometimes stepping back, and not posting will help to keep your thoughts and ideas fresh and interesting. It may be better for you and your readers to have no post, than a worthless one.

My friend David at his fine Swagu blog has addressed the issue of "blog pressure" very eloquently. He discusses openly the sense of being stressed.

Like many bloggers before him (and certainly afterwards too!), David has felt the obligation to provide content for his readers. Because of that sense of duty to his regulars, he has found himself feeling stressed to write new posts.

Blogs become entwined with their writers, whether we realize it or not. Many of the most popular blogs (of which neither of mine are included) are simply the name of the blogger. Some blogs have other formal titles, but they are associated with the writer's name regardless.

Sometimes you may sense you have become a blog entry too!

We do feel the need, and often that means pressure, to fulfil an unwritten yet very binding contract with our readers. We know that when people surf over to read our latest posts, they are looking forward to something new. I hesitate to say exciting, but at least we hope to be interesting or informative.

That requirement we feel, to say something...anything... is a real responsibility.

Since I rarely miss a day of blogging on my two blogs, I succumbed long ago to the blogging pressure. On the other hand, I blog because I like to write. I hope in some small way to make a tiny contribution to the world. Sometimes, it's a great stress reliever to simply sit down at the keyboard and pound away your thoughts, ideas, and personal challenges.

I'm sure David, and other bloggers, feel the same way.

The question arises, however, of when the stress reliever becomes the stress creator.

My suggestion for anyone who feels pressured to blog, is to not blog. Take a day or three off from blogging entirely. Don't update. Don't post. Don't even think about blogging.

Enjoy a few days of relaxation. You will make the novel discovery there is a big world out there, that won't spontaneously self destruct, without your blog entries. You can then return to the keyboard, feeling refreshed and invigourated, and write again.

We hope for blogging without pressure.

Now, I just have to blog....I need a topic...what can I write about today...where are there some ideas...


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Saturday, December 06, 2003

 

2003 Weblog Awards

For those of you who either love awards shows, or if you feel nauseous each time the Oscars or Grammy Awards are mentioned, there are weblog awards too.

They are the 2003 Weblog Awards.

At least with the blog awards, you get to vote. The Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards people don't let you do that.

There are a couple of blogs, that are listed on this blog's links section who have been nominated for awards.

In the wildly named Best Large Mammals Ecosystem Level Blog category (I don't make these names up!), Professor Bainbridge's great blog is among the nominees.

You can vote for Professor Bainbridge here:

Best Large Mammals Ecosystem Level Blog

In the equally improbably titled category Best Crawly Amphibians Ecosystem Level Blog (hey, don't blame me for these names!), Jeremy Wright's tremendous Ensight blog (where I occasionally post guest columns) is also nominated.

You can vote for Ensight here:

Best Crawly Amphibians Ecosystem Level Blog

You can vote in the other categories as well, but I have no real preferences in any of them. They are all great blogs, I'm sure. I am certainly not familiar with most of them, however.

The usual cast of the big name A-List type blogs are on the nomination list.

The rules permit stuffing the ballot boxes by voting every 12 hours.

As they say in "election speak": Vote early. Vote often.


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Friday, December 05, 2003

 

Blogshares game resurrection possible?

Many bloggers, including yours truly, were enjoying the Blogshares fantasy stock market game.

Blogshares was a fantasy stock market game, where the stocks were the various blogs found around the internet. Their share values were determined by the number of incoming blog links they possessed.

Suddenly, without warning, Blogshares closed down, apparently as a result of technical problems and too great a time commitment of the site owner.

Instead of being able to log onto the game, players were met with this message of ceased operations.

Many dedicated players, who had paid to be "Premium Players" were dismayed by the shutdown, as some felt cheated out of their pre-paid fees.

Since that time, however, rumours of the game's return from oblivion have surfaced.

The game is for sale to whomever wishes to purchase it.

According to the report on the website, there are possibly some interested buyers.

We'll see if the Blogshares game returns.

Stay tuned.

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Blogs and the new Google rankings

Blogs rank well in the Google search results.

When people enter your most important keywords, into the Google search box, your blog is likely to rate very highly in the results.

Why should that be?

With Google's new, and rather controversial new algorithm (the mathematical calculation Google uses to decide which results are most relevant), non-commercial sites are listing very well in the returned results. That newly favoured area includes blogs.

Smaller commercial sites, dependent upon highly competitive keywords, did very badly in the recent Google update.

Why did blogs weather the storm so well?

Blogs contain what Google wants to see.

Google likes fresh content added to websites. Do blogs offer that? Check!

Google likes keyword rich articles that provide information to the web searcher. Do blog offer that? Check!

Google, despite some concerns over link trading practices, likes to see a lot of incoming links. Bloggers are natural and almost obsessive linkers. Check!

Blogs are just what Dr. Google ordered!

Lots of fresh content and relevant links, might just be the prescription for success, following the latest Google update.

For those of you who haven't been watching the search engine optimization community tear out their hair, the latest Google update was a shocker. The Google reworking of their algorithm, to allegedly penalize heavily optimized sites, has acquired the hurricane style moniker of "Florida". Many formerly high ranking sites have been lost from the search returns.

The new Google calculation has certainly hit real estate, and other popular keywords hard. Formerly high ranking sites are often no longer found anywhere within 50 pages of results.

Speculation about the occurrance has run everywhere from the conspiratorial (Google wants to sell more adwords); to Google problems (the Google system has broken down); to the avant garde (Google is experimenting and testing).

In any case, blogs came through the Florida storm, with little damage to their search positions.

Companies might be advised to add a business blog to their agenda for the future. You never know when the next Google induced hurricane might be brewing.

Since we can't do anything about Google's methods of calculation, the next best thing is to provide ourselves with some good storm insurance.

That insurance can be found in the form of a business blog.




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Thursday, December 04, 2003

 

Blog Survey results prove interesting

Blog Search Engine just released the results of its internet blog survey.

While some of the results were surprising.

Example:

22% of all respondents maintained two blogs, and a further 22% had more than three blogs. There are certainly some busy bloggers out there. If you're counting, I'm part of the 22% of bloggers with two blogs.

Some other results were less of a shock.

Example:

The responding bloggers are a dedicated lot. Over half of the reporting bloggers update their blogs at least daily, and fewer than 10% fail to do so at least twice a week.

A few other tidbits from the survey:

47% blog from home only. 48.2% blog at both home and work. Perhaps a time will come when bloggers will be monitored in the workplace.

13.4% of bloggers run paid advertising on their blog. Another 15.7% of bloggers would like to run paid advertising. On the other hand, 58.5% of bloggers opposed the idea of hosting any advertising on their blogs.

52.3% of those surveyed use Google’s Blogger platform to run their blog. Whether Blogger is the most popular blogger, or simply the most commonly used platform among respondents is unknown. I use Blogger for both of my blogs.

It's comforting to know that 73.6% of bloggers do so for fun. I am part of the 66.6% who blog as an opportunity to write. Of course, I'm also part of that tiny 7% who blog as a way to earn income.

There are a few things to remember, however, when we look at these results. First of all, the heavy number of multiple blog respondents would indicate that the survey probably represents the most avid bloggers. I suspect the very casual blogger, who updates on a more sporadic basis, was less likely to fill in the survey.

This survey is a great first step toward getting a handle on who blogs, where, and why. I was interested in the advertising aspect of the blogging activity. I think blogging has enormous potential financially.

I await the next major blogging survey, and whether or not the results of this internet blog survey, continue into the future.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

 

Industry specific business blogs

An article about real estate research and purchases online by John Mudd at Blogcritics provided some interesting reading. There is clearly a wide open field for business blogging, not only in the real estate industry, but in almost every other business sector.

Thanks to Anita Campbell at her Small Business Trends blog for the link.

Because so many people are using the internet, to not only purchase goods and services but also to research them, it makes sense for a website to include a blog. As a marketing tool, the daily blog entries can certainly help to establish a relationship with potential clients and customers.

Since the Blogcritics article was about the real estate industry, we'll use that for our case study. The principles can be applied to any type of business.

In real estate, the time of first interest in buying property to actual investment, may be a longer term decision. During that time period, many real estate agents may be considered, along with countless properties in numerous locations. How is the home buyer to choose?

If you are a realtor, with a regularly updated blog, you may have the inside track on the business. In your blog posts, you could include articles on choosing homes, getting mortgages, remodelling, taxes, and other items involving real property. Articles can adress real estate issues for both buyers and sellers.

While none of your blog articles should be directly sales oriented, you are building a base of potential home and commercial real estate buyers and sellers. By being seen as an expert in your real estate specialty, you become the first choice, when the sale or purchase decision arises.

Clients prefer to do business with knowledgeable people, who are helping to solve their individual problems. Your business blog establishes you as just that person.

The addition of fresh content, in the form of your regular blog articles, will help your website to rise higher in the search engine results for your keywords. Because of the diversity of your columns, your site will suddenly appear on searches for terms you never expected. If your articles include those secondary keywords, your website has new sources of search engine traffic.

The additional blog articles will add many new pages of real estate related content to your website. That increase in overall site size will gain your business a lot more exposure to potential clients via the search engines. As we know from the Blogcritics article, real estate buyers and sellers conduct a lot of internet searches.

A business blog will help your website get found by those seekers of information.

The same principle applies to any other field of business as well.

A business blog can certainly help your business grow.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

 

[grid::brand] Branding your blog: three ideas

Your blog can become a recognized brand name website.

You simply have to treat your blog the way any company would consider handling their major name brands. To most company's their brand reputations are one of their most important properties.

Your blog should be considered as your personal brand, on the internet as a whole, and on the blogoshere in particular.

Your blog is your product. How can you turn it into a name brand?

Use your blog title as often as possible.

Your blog's title is what most people see on the various links lists and blogrolls around the internet. You want people to recognize your blog title, as a heading a quality website, packed full of interesting and informative reading.

The title of your blog may be all a first time reader has, to use as a judgement call, on whether or not to click on your link. You have to create reasons for that click to happen. A good informative title is one way to do that. If your main topic is part of your blog's title, people will have an idea about what to expect.

Should your title have little relationship to the blog's subject matter, make it an interesting one. A compelling and memorable title, will go a long way, toward enhancing your readership.

When you post on various internet forums, be sure that your blog title (rather than your blog URL) appears on your signature line. People are more likely to click on a title, than on a long URL.

A title is much more inviting and friendly than a URL, especially one from from a free blogging hosting service.

Write top quality posts all of the time

Every time you post to your blog, do your best to create interesting and informative posts. Make certain that you link to interesting sites and articles. Always try to provide a bit of insight into your linked articles. Your readers will appreciate seeing your ideas on the subject.

Remember that consistent quality is a hallmark of a good brand. Note that McDonalds, for example, strives to have its food products taste the same, no matter where in the world you order them. Your blog requires the same level of quality control.

A series of bad posts can ruin your blog's reputation as a worthwhile brand. On the other hand, writing top quality articles will help to establish your blog as a solid brand name. The word of your blog, and its brand name, will spread as a result.

Be a regular poster to your blog

Nothing says a blog quality quite like regular posts. If you maintain a blog, try to add new articles on a very frequent basis. Daily blogging might be too much for many people's busy schedules. Should that be the case, you should try to at least update a minimum of three to four times per week.

Frequent posting, creates a brand reliability, that is important for your blog's reputation. Should you habitually update infrequently, your blog's brand image may suffer a setback.

As a branded product, your blog can become a household word among your readership.

Don't jeopardize that trust your readers have in you and your blog.

Note to my readers:

Today's blog on brands is my contribution to a [grid::brand] internet wide blogging effort.


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