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Blog Business World

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

Friday, April 30, 2004

 

Free business magazines for you

Everyone wants something for free.

Well, here it is.

I have entered into an associate arrangement with an organization called TradePub. They distribute free business and trade magazines, on behalf of the magazine publishers.

You can see the rotating magazines on the ad on the right hand side of your screen. Note that the magazines displayed are only a tiny portion of the total offering of trade publications available.

The good thing about this arrangement is the magazines are free to you, with no strings attached.

All you have to do is be involved in the industry that the magazine targets. If there were strings attached, I would not be making this recommendation, or getting involved with the offer.

It is a great offer, and free to you. I wouldn't be part of it otherwise.

It's very important to be up to date, in what's happening within your industry, and field of endeavour. The latest trade magazines provide that timely insight. They help you to become an insider in your industry.

There are free magazines available for business executives and entrepreneurs. Many magazines cover technology and operating businesses in a wide range of areas. New titles are being added all of the time.

You can receive as many free magazines as you want.

Full disclosure: I get a small commission from every free magazine subscription ordered. It provides me with some income, and also works as an experiment on the effectiveness of blogs as advertising and marketing vehicles. That is important for all of us, and for the future of blogs.

All of the trade publications are available to my United States based readers. There are specific categories of magazines that are available to residents of Canada, Mexico, and world wide.

Everyone can find a trade publication that suits them, as the list of industries is very exhaustive. General business, management, and computer magazines work for almost everyone too.

The list of available magazines is almost unlimited. There is almost certainly one in your field of business. Check it out, and see if I'm wrong about that!

To subscribe, simply click on the display advertisement on the right side of your screen. Be sure to use the link from Blog Business World, as it's the only way I get paid.

Hey, I have to earn a bit of a living too!

Keeping current with happenings in your industry will help you and your business to grow and prosper.

Click on my link, to TradePub, and subscribe to your free business and trade publications today.

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Google IPO Insights

I am certainly no expert on Initial Public Offering (IPO) share sales to the general public.

The just announced, and heavily anticipated Google IPO, is no exception. My policy, when I don't know anything about a subject, is to search for information and to seek out experts in the field.

For some up to the minute thoughts and commentary on the Google IPO, and what it might mean to you, check out the extensive post series on Gordon Smith's Venturpreneur blog.

Special note to Gordon: While I don't know much about the Google IPO, I can offer you good Google loving anchor text in this post. Note your name, which you are optimizing for on searches, along the name of your blog.

Gordon Smith, of the University of Wisconsin Law School, is well versed in the legalities, implications, and repercussions of IPOs.

His thoughts on the Google IPO are tremendously informative. They are must read for anyone interested in the IPO.

I learned things that I barely even knew existed.

I'm sure you will as well.

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Carnival of the Vanities at WOLves

The inspiration for all of the outstanding internet blog carnivals is Carnival of the Vanities.

This week, that illustrious event is being hosted by my friend Trudy Schuett at WOLves.

This is the 84th edition of the long running Carnival of the Vanities series.

Trudy, as I expected, has done it up well.

There are entries covering politics, business, and general thoughts and essays, by some of the best bloggers on the internet.

Do yourself a favour, and check out the Carnival of the Vanities.

As with all carnivals, no one can fault you for wanting to run away and join them.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

 

Writing for your readers is good SEO

As everyone who reads Blog Business World on a regular basis knows, I write many columns and posts about search engine optimization for your blog.

As you know by now, search engine optimization, or SEO as it's often called by those who like to abbreviate things, is all about getting your blog or website positioned higher in the search engine results for your most important search terms, called keywords.

The most prominent search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, and Teoma. Usually, if your blog follows some basic optimzation techniques, you will rank well in all of them.

The good thing about blog SEO, is it is almost an automatic occurance, if you write regular posts about the topics your visitors want to read. I'm sure that is exactly what you wanted to hear. The great thing about it is that it's true.

Write good and interesting posts, that contain your important keywords, and you have already got a leg up in the search engine game.

Post regularly to your blog, so the search engine robot spiders visit your blog often. Frequent crawls of your blog, by the various spiders, will get your updated pages indexed so they can appear in the search results.

Along with good content, you need lots of incoming links to your blog. They are easily obtained by exhanging links with other blogs and by submitting your blog to the many free blog and mainstream internet directories. By providing interesting and informative postings, other bloggers will link to your blog within posts, and add your blog to their blogroll.

If you do nothing else, in the way of search engine optimization, the simple team of good content and links will give your blog a major boost in the search engine results pages (called SERPs) for your keywords.

One thing I try to provide for my readers are the basics of SEO, in easy to understand language. I like to take the mystery out of the process.

Once we have the basics covered, by making certain that you post good keyword rich content, and have a reasonable amount of links in place, we can go on to more advanced SEO.

If you decide, however, that no further optimization is of interest to you, it's not required.

In most aspects of life, 80% of the benefit is achieved from 20% of the effort. The remaining 20% of the results requires that major 80% workload. The pairing of content and links provides, that first 80% of the benefit to blogs, on the search engines.

For most of you, that will be enough, to compete for your keywords.

On the other hand, if you want to add that final 20% gain, I will work with you on that too.

Search engine optimization shouldn't be kept as a mystery to bloggers.

Simply write for your readers, and work on gaining links. Your SEO efforts will then match or exceed most websites on the internet.

I'll keep pulling back the shades on SEO for you, and let the sun shine on your blog.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

 

Old blogs for new...old blogs for new...

Many bloggers have moved their blogs to new addresses.

Many people have purchased their own blog domain name, rather than have the blog URL contain the blogging host. An example of that action would be removing the .blogspot.com or similar type URL extension.

Some bloggers simply want to escape their blog hosts for any numberof reasons.

The question then arises, as to whether your old blog is now a search engine competitor, for your new blog. That situation has happened to D. Gordon Smith of Venturpreneur. His old Blogspot hosted blog ranks higher, in placement #6 on page one in Google searches for "Gordon Smith" than his new blog, which checks in at #18 on page two.

Let's examine the situation. The new Venturpreneur blog is displaying a Google PageRank 5 (PR5) and a total of 426 PR or higher incoming links. The old Blogspot hosted version of his blog, which also sports a PR5, shows 50 PR4 or higher incoming links.

Note that Google only displays PR4 or higher incoming links, but all links in Google's index are counted toward the PageRank and the placements on the search engine results.

It's clear that the new Venturpreneur version has many more incoming links. The question then becomes one of quality. That is where the answer lies.

The incoming links for the old Blogspot hosted version of his blog, are not pointing to the blog title of "Venturpreneur", but to the name "Gordon Smith" or "D. Gordon Smith". Most of the new blog's links point to "Venturpreneur".

That is the power of what is called "link text" or "anchor text." Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search place heavy emphasis in their calculation algorithm on anchor text.

The heavy use of the name "Gordon Smith", in the link text to the old blog, gives it that continued power versus the new blog. On the other hand, because of the limited number of those optimized link text backlinks, the old blog remains at position #6, and not #1.

To place higher in the search results, you need to have link text that points toward the keyword searches you value most. In the case of Gordon Smith, he wants to place highly in the search results for his own name. To help him there, simply change your link to Venturpreneur to any of "Gordon Smith", "D. Gordon Smith" or "Venturpreneur - Gordon Smith". That will give Gordon far more powerful link text for his searches.

I have given Gordon a link text boost, by changing my link to his blog, to "Venturpreneur - Gordon Smith.

Most blog links point either to the name of the blog, or the name of the blogger. Sometimes, anchor text pointing to the most important searched keywords is better for you.

Let's use an example of your imaginary blog called Complete And Utter Waste Of Time Because I'm Bored blog. Most of your links will point to that title.

Let's go further and say you write most of your posts, on that fictitious blog, about aardvaarks. To get higher rankings on the search engines, you would prefer then to have your blog listed on the many blogrolls as "aardvaarks" or "aardvaarks blog". That emphasises to the search engines the importance of that topic to your blog.

Another area where Gordon could help his searches for his own name is in his title tags. This concept was suggested in the comments to the post by Tony Rickey of Three Years of Hell.

The title tag is what appears right at the very top of your screen, above everything else. Mine says "Blog Business World", which is my blog title. It also is my most important search term: any combination of "blog" and "business", singular or plural. Take a search of them, if you like.

Since Gordon wants his name to be searched, his title tags should also include his name. Make sure your most important keyword(s) appear in those title tags. They can be changed right in your template very easily.

If Gordon prefers his traffic to arrive at Venturpreneur and not at the old blog, he can use a 301 redirect. It will automatically send the reader to the new blog, evenif they click on the link to the old blog. He won't miss any traffic that way. The old blog will also pass along the majority of its accumulated Google PageRank, via the 301 redirect, as well.

If Gordon wants to maintain his old blog as an archive, a redirect will do that for him. Another option would be to transfer all of the old blog archives to the new blog, and delete the old Blogger hosted blog. That is up to him, of course.

As you can see, anchor text (link text) and title tags are a very important consideration for search engine power.



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Monday, April 26, 2004

 

Carnival of the Capitalists is up

The travelling business roadshow, better known as Carnival of the Capitalists pitches its tent at D. Gordon Smith's top quality and highly informative Venturpreneur blog.

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists features the usual outstanding array of business and economics entries from some of the best blogs on the internet.

The subject areas include Government and Business, Technology, Drugs, Management, Finance, Advertising, and Something Completely Different (which should prove interesting!).

I have an entry in this week.

You will find my rather long winded "Blogs and search engine optimization". I hope you find it helpful and informative.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will set up the midway at Brain View Radio.

To be part of the Carnival of the Capitalists fun, be sure to send your entry posts to capitalists -at- elhide.com before Sunday night. Be sure to put "Capitalists" or "Carnival" or both in the subject line, so it doesn't get mistaken for spam.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

 

The case of the disappearing blog

Blogs and traditional websites often disappear, as if by some magic trick gone horribly awry, from the search engine results pages (SERPs) of the dominant search engine Google.

For new sites, that phenomenon is well known and not a surprise. When Google first indexes a site or a blog, the page will shoot to the top of the SERPs for its most important keywords. For a brief shining moment, like Camelot, your blog is on top of the world.

Then something bad happens.

The blog or website will suddenly vanish from the Google listings entirely. No one knows precisely why this event occurs, and we know for certain that Google isn't talking. It happens nonetheless. The key here is to not panic.

Your blog will return to the listings, in what the Google search algorithm (the computer formula used to determine a site's relevance for that search) determines is the blog's proper location. Chances are it will be lower than during those heady days when the blog was first indexed.

Riding high in April, shot down in May.

The same problem happens to established blogs and websites as well. No one is ever quite sure why it happens either. There are several theories. None are certainties. The best advice is to just ride out the storm.

D. Gordon Smith at the highly informative and knowledgeable Venturpreneur recently felt the pain of being lost from the Google search results.

His blog has since made a return to the results listings, but no longer gets much visitor traffic referrals from Google.

I checked Gordon's searches, from which Google dropped him, "D. Gordon Smith" and "Law Student Blog Honor Roll". Right now, Venturpreneur tops both searches, with the top four and top two Page One positions, respectively.

The problem is now one of traffic generation from those searches.

I would suggest to Gordon, and to all other bloggers, to check your visitor logs. Find the most important searched keywords that found your site. Those are what real world searchers type into the search box, when looking for information on a topic. Make certain those keywords appear in your blog posts somewhere. They are what your visitors want to read about.

Help them find what they seek.

Yes, you will have some strange and quirky searches. Everyone has some really weird search results that led someone to their blog. What I am talking about here are your most important ones. Top three or four to be exact.

Google updates its search engine results pages (SERPs) on a constant basis, but has monthly updates, that range from minor to major earth shakers. The famous Florida update, of November 2003, falls into the off the Richter Scale earthquake category.

Google also does periodic updates of its backlinks and Google PageRank (the numerical measure of a page's importance on the internet) in times ranging from two weeks to a month. They are somewhat erratic, likely in an attempt to keep the search engine optimization community off balance.

Don't overlook or discount search engine optimization because of a disappearance from Google.

Your blog will return, and possibly higher in the results than ever.


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Google Alert is helpful: Try it

Bloggers should be aware of a great free internet tool called Google Alert.

While not affiliated with the Google search engine, Google Alert will track your website’s URL and your chosen targeted keywords. Updates are sent to you via e-mail on a regular basis, as Google is updated, and as new results of your keywords and site’s URL appear.

Google Alert has the advantage of being entirely withing Google's Terms of Service. Most search engine optimizers consider that to be an important feature for any internet or search engine optimization tool.

The use of any tool outside of Google's TOS can get your blog penalized or banned from Google. We don't want that to happen to you. Fortunately, Google Alert is not one of those.

Google Alert can also send your results through html, RSS 1.0 or 2.0, or by TrackBack feeds. These are new options that have just been added very recently. For websites and blogs with an RSS feed, this is a great new addition to the service.

Search updates also contain a direct link to the page cache (snapshot of the page) where the update happened. That is very handy for finding where your URL was mentioned, or where your keywords appeared.

Signing up for Google Alert is very easy. Simply go the the Google Alert web site Google Alert.

Simply provide a user name, a personal access password, and a working e-mail address to receive your updates. After that simple process, your desired keywords, website titles, and URLs are part of the Google Alert tracking system.

Once you log in, you just fill in the blanks of the URL and keywords you want to track. Be sure to be specific about the keywords you are following. For example "sports football Chicago" is much more specific than "sports" or "football".

By following the appearances of your keywords, you can check their popularity. If your website's specific search terms are being found on many other sites, and not on yours, it's time to add them to your content.

The best way to provide that valuable content is to add some articles that highlight those keywords. They will get your blog noticed when Google searches are conducted for those search terms.

The higher your blog is listed in the search engine result pages (SERPs), the more likely your blog will be seen. It’s often said that most searchers don't look beyond the first two or three pages of results.

An advanced search feature lets you limit your results by geography. If you are only interested in placements in England, you can specify that in the search. For different languages, the same narrowing of the advanced search also applies. You can set the results, to only include French language search terms, if you like.

A great feature you certainly want to include is the "Link Search". Found at the bottom of the advanced search page, it enables you to keep track of who is linking to your blog. You can also keep tabs on who is linking to another blog if you choose. You can find some great new blogs that way.

Be sure to add Google Alert to your blog toolbox today.







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Friday, April 23, 2004

 

Blog traffic with special events

Public relations and marketing professionals have been using special events and series since the beginning of time.

The need to attract attention, to market a product or service is universal. Your blog can always use more visitor traffic. If you are using a business blog to generate customer relationships, added visitors can turn into long term customers and clients.

You will want to increase your visitor traffic flow.

One time proven technique is the creation of the special occasion, or ongoing special series of occasions. We see that ongoing program at work with the highly successful Carnival of the Capitalists series.

The Carnival of the Capitalists moves weekly, from one host blog to another. The overall effect is one of providing single occasion special events for each new blog host.

The same principle can be applied to your own blog. All that is required is a little imagination and a bit of promotion. Since all bloggers are gifted with creativity, the possibilities are endless.

One area of the blogosphere, where imagination and creativity are the order of the day, is in the humour and comedy blogs.

Comedic blogger Gary Bibb, of the very popular Bibb's Revenge, has given some old ideas a brand new twist.

In a highly imaginative technique to build readership, while maintaining his committment to humour, Gary has created Access Bloggerwood.

In this very creative program, Gary interviews other members of the blogging community, in extremely offbeat and humourous conversations via instant messenger. The result is then posted on Bibb's Revenge for all to read.

While the subject matter may not be for all tastes, the interviews have given Gary Bibb's blog some well deserved attention. The ongoing series has no shortage of bloggers, ready and willing to be grilled, by Gary's rather unusual form of interviewing. Let's put it this way, he's not your standard late night talk show host.

As an ongoing event series, Access Bloggerwood has worked very well in generating interest in Gary's blog.

While you don't have to go to the extremes of Bibb's Revenge, you can very easily find topics and subject matter suitable for your own blog.

By providing a rather unusual blog promotional idea, I'm showing you that special events and series can work for any blog.

Create a special occasion or series today.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

 

Blogs and search engine optimization

Blogs have the characteristics that are most valued by the various search engines, including Google. In fact, the very nature of blogs is such, that it almost looks like they were created with the search engines in mind.

Blogs are updated frequently with abundant fresh content, laden with keywords. The result is higher search engine rankings for those searches.

Blogs have a natural affinity for adding incoming links, which helps in raising your Google PageRank (Google's measure of the importance of an internet website), and your placement in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Those two features alone have some fairly insignificant, in some people’s minds, blogs sitting on the first page for many keywords. Those same blogs boast some high PageRanks as well.

Most of the widely available blog templates are easily read and indexed, when crawled by the various search engine spiders. Many of the various blogging templates include pre-written h1 and h2 (and so on) tags, already in place. Titles are readily employed, as are many other recommended SEO practices.

Blogs are certainly easily optimized, even by novice search engine opimization (SEO) practitioners. That includes most bloggers.

Blogs and incoming links

One of the first things you will notice about most blogs, is they possess vast lists of outgoing links. At first glance, the thought is that these sites are leaking a lot of PageRank. They might be true, although the concept of PageRank leak remains controversial, and unproven to everyone’s satisfaction.

Many of the links you see on the blog are reciprocated. Many are not. The collection of links is not the main goal of most bloggers. The outgoing links are simply there as a service to the readers. There are usually a lot of outgoing links found in the daily blog entries. Again, linking is a prominent feature of the blog. Those are only the links that are leaving the site.

What you don’t see are the links coming into the blog. Bloggers are very heavy linkers. They link to other blogs and websites freely and generously. Concerns about PageRank rarely arise, and is a non-issue to many bloggers.

The focus of the vast majority of blog writers is the reader. If the topic is interesting to the blog owner, it is linked and offered freely to the blog readership.

That free range linking works both ways. Natural incoming links abound. Not all blog links are reciprocal links. On the other hand, bloggers will happily exchange links with other writers, if they find the blog to be an interesting one.

In the blogging community, linking to one another is a very frequent event.

For those who are concerned about reciprocal links being penalized by Google, that has not been a problem thus far for blogs. In fact, a quick backlink check shows abundant reciprocal links. They are not penalized, perhaps, because the links are almost always from the blog home page. Link sections and pages, common for traditional websites, are rarely found on blogs.

Blogs and internet directories

The well known standard internet directories, including DMOZ, Skaffe, and JoeAnt, accept blog submissions without concern.

Among the many directories that include blogs in their listings is The Open Directory Project (DMOZ). That well known and very important directory, has a special weblog section, devoted to various categories of blogs. Over 4000 blogs are already included in DMOZ. Over 4000 blogs are already included in DMOZ.

Following the recent DMOZ data transfer, well over 3000 blogs are now included in the Google Directory as well.

Blogs also have their own exclusive directories. Those special blog directories, as quality backlinks, provide a jump start to your blog’s PageRank. They gladly accept most blog submissions, often without requiring a link back to the directory.

The special blog directories 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

Because of the number of quality directories available for all websites, and exclusively for blogs, strong showings of incoming links are a regular blog feature. It’s not unusual for a weblog to have a PageRank of 5 or 6 after only a few months on the internet.

Blogs and content

The search engines love sites that are updated regularly with lots of fresh content. That description matches the description of a weblog. The almost daily addition of content, results in blogs being crawled frequently by the various search engine spiders, including the much sought after Googlebot.

Many bloggers often have specific interests that they write about with passion. Their regular entries are rich with keywords. Combining the heavily keyword filled posts with multiple entries, provides a steady diet of spider food, for the web crawling bots. Those same keywords, entered into a search box, propel a number of blogs to the top of the search returns.

Other bloggers write about what interests them at any particular moment. This group of bloggers also benefits in the search engine results. By touching upon a wide range of topics, their blogs are full of keywords of all sorts. Their free flowing use of keywords, is reflected in the SERPs, with many strong showings in numerous searches.

While other traditional website owners were lamenting the loss of their top rankings, following the recent “Florida” Google update, bloggers were enjoying better SERPs and PageRanks than ever. The heavily content oriented weblogs were treated very well by the Google search results.

Blogs came through the Florida update with flying colors, many proudly displaying high PageRanks, and page one rankings for their most important keyword searches. The new algorithm favored the blog format of freely linking, and frequently updating content.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

 

Blogs: Don't forget to Ping-O-Matic

When you update your blog, don't forget to ping it!

What in the world is pinging?

Pinging is one of those many wonderful internet words. It refers to letting the various blog aggregators know that you have updated. Pinging merely means letting everyone know you've added new content to your blog.

For example, the blog news site Technorati keeps track of blog entries as news sources. The site also measures the number of inbound and outbound links from each blog. To stay up to date with the changes, Technorati relies on regular pinging.

Another site that depends on reporting blog updates is Daypop. Along with news items from conventional sites, Daypop depends on bloggers reporting their updates.

Where do you ping your blog?

Many blog hosts (but not all) offer automatic pinging as a feature of their service. If it's not provided as part of the package, however, you'll have to report your updates manually.

One site that accepts manual blog pings is Weblogs.com. Simply enter your blog's title and URL into the spaces provided. The site will remember your information for your return visits. Bookmark the site, and return every time you add a new entry to your blog.

Another pinging site is Blo.gs. Simply add in your site's name, URL, and RSS feed if you have one, and press ping. As an added feature, Blo.gs lets you add some prewritten code to your site, to ping it automatically, if you choose.

For an all inclusive pinging site, go to the newly revamped Ping-O-matic (formerly Blog Service Pinger. With the assistance of Matt Mullenwag, Dougal Campbell continues to improve his one stop pinging tool for bloggers, as a service to the blogging community.

As part of his committment to aiding the efforts of bloggers everywhere, Dougal has just unveiled his latest pinging site.

As always, I appreciate Dougal's and Matt's efforts.

Along with pinging to Blo.gs and Weblogs.com, the Ping-O-matic automatically pings Technorati, and a number of others. There are close to a dozen in all. More additions and improvements are expected in the near future as well.

To use the Ping-O-matic, simply fill in the blanks with your blog's title and URL, click on the sites you want to ping, and there you are.

One stop pinging!

I use the Ping-O-matic, on a daily basis, to ping all of my blogs.

You should too.

Since you post on your blog on a regular basis, you'll want others to know you've done it too.

Pinging your blog, every time you update, is the way to do it!


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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

 

Search engine submissions: Are they needed?

i got some spam...I mean a very nice business letter...no, I mean spam...that offered to submit my blogs to 2000 search engines each and every month.

All they wanted was the low low price of $39.95 US funds.

I stared at the spam e-mail for awhile and thought to myself, "My blogs are all listed in the major search engines, and I never submitted them. I got in them for free too!"

First of all, there is no need to ever submit your blog, or any website for that matter, to a search engine. If there is even one link to your blog, from an already listed site, your blog is already indexed.

If you have the Google Toolbar installed, and the PageRank indicator is anything but grey, your blog is included in Google's search engine.

If your blog is in Google, it's also very likely in Yahoo and MSN Search as well. It may take a bit longer to get into Teoma, but it will be there very shortly too.

These clowns who are offering to submit are taking money for nothing. The idea of resubmitting each and every month is simply appalling. There is absolutely no need for it.

They will try to argue the case that not all of your pages are indexed. That is not true. The search engine spiders will crawl deeply into your blog archives and find them. In fact, since the archived page was once the top viewing page, it is almost certainly included.

Monthly resubmits are simply a complete and utter waste of time.

Don't confuse search engine submissions with directory submissions, however.

Directories are an entirely different beast altogether. You do have to submit your blog manually to the many free blog, and general website internet directories.

Note that the scam artists do not mention directories, and if they do venture into that territory, they don't list any. The reason for that lack of directory naming is they can't guarantee inclusion.

Most of the important internet directories like The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) are human edited directories. They retain the right to reject any site that is submitted to them for inclusion.

YOu won't see the scammers offering The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) inclusion!

Don't fall for any of the scams to get your money for search engine submissions.

Your blog is almost certainly listed in the search engines already. If you have been included in any blog directory, posted a link on a discussion forum, or left a linked blog comment, your blog is indexed.

There is no need to resubmit.

Save your money!

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Monday, April 19, 2004

 

Link exchanges and you

Link exchanges with other blogs.

I haven't talked about them in quite awhile. Despite that delay on my part, in discussing the topic, that hasn't stopped other people from doing so.

There are a few linking questions going around that we need to examine fairly closely.

Some bloggers have asked me if it's true, that if you link your blog to a lower Google PageRank blog than yours, would it hurt your blog's PageRank. The answer is no.

Google PageRank, of course, is the numerical measure of a site on the internet, based on the number and importance of your incoming links. Google assigns a number, on a logorithmic scale, to your blog. The PageRank can be seen with the the Google Toolbar.

Linking to lower Page Rank blogs will definitely not hurt your Google PageRank. While they won't add as much PageRank, as a higher ranking blog or website, every bit counts toward your total. Who knows, their PageRank may continue to rise and pass yours.

Google does not appear to be penalizing link exchanges between blogs either. In fact, Google lists the PageRank 4 and higher reciprocated blogs, in the backlink readout, from the toolbar. Note Google only displays pages with PR4 or higher.

Every week, I get requests from bloggers for link exhanges. I am happy to exchange with blogs that I like, that I believe my readers will find interesting, and ones that follow proper blog etiquette.

By blog ettiquette, I mean that they place a link to your blog on their blog first, before they ask for the exchange. That is proper link exchange etiquette. All too often, people will e-mail me requesting an exchange, but the link to my blog is nowhere to be seen on their blog. I am left to guess that it will never appear there.

Always link to a blog first, and send an exhange request second.

When you link to other blogs, it will help not only them, but you as well. Often, simply by linking to a blog, you will find a link back to yours without even asking. I link to many new and interesting blogs often, that do that.

If you think a blog will be of interest to your readers, simply link to it.

Good things happen to those bloggers who link freely to others.




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Sunday, April 18, 2004

 

Writing your blog: Staying inspired

Blogs require constant updates. That means writing posts. All of that amounts to a ton of work.

In order to keep posting, day in and day out, a blogger needs to maintain that all important inspiration. Following that proverbial 1% of the creative equation, the other 99% can take place. We all recognize that enormous part as persperation.

Whether you write a business blog, a political blog, a sports or entertainment blog, a comedy blog, a personal journal, or an online diary, you need to keep your interest level up. Failing that, and your blog will join those millions that have already fallen by the wayside.

If you have been blogging for any period of time, you have probably developed some regular posting habits. Unlike me, you may have some regular posting times. You may have some specific topics that cause you to put fingers to keyboard.

Because blogging is still in its relative infancy, there remain many uncharted waters for writers. There are topics and entire blog categories as yet unfilled. Your niche is definitely not overcrowded.

Blog critics will try to present the failed blogs as evidence of the weakness of the blogging community. In fact, like any entrepreneurial venture, failures are part of the system's success. Don't let the numbers who have dropped by the wayside discourage you. Since you are still reading here, I'm sure that you don't let most things stop what you are doing.

Be inspired to keep writing and posting.

If you want to blog to improve your writing skills, only practicing writing will accomplish that goal.

If you blog to express your personal feelings and concerns, then a blog is the ideal outlet for your thoughts.

Should you have a political or business message to get out to the world, there are few better vehicles than a blog.

A regular check of your visitor counter (and you do have one or more of those installed, right?) will show you in hard numbers, that people are reading your words. They often anxiously await your next post.

When I was ill for a few days, many of my regular roller derby blog readers e-mailed their concerns. It's nice to be appreciated.

Having an appreciative audience always keeps me inspired to post to three different blogs, each and every day.

I hope you have found your blogging inspiration.

If you have, let me know what keeps you inspired to write a blog post, day after day.


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Saturday, April 17, 2004

 

Plagiarism of blog posts

it had to happen sooner or later.

In fact, it's probably much more commonplace than we know. It's an insidious problem that afflicts blogs, as it causes pain to writers everywhere.

We are talking about the blatant theft of another person's ideas, without creding them for their work.

We are speaking of plagiarism.

Blogs are not immune to the practice either. Just ask Vicki Smith at Just In From Cowtown. It happened to her.

Vicki had a post stolen without credit, with the plagiarist even claiming the post as his own work.

The post in question was originally published on The Blog Herald.

Vicki even requested permission from The Blog Herald to publish her own post on her own blog.

The plagiarist wasn't nearly so scrupulous. And no, I am not going to link to his blog. Apparently, he exalted in the added publicity that his plagiarism created for his blog. I have no intention of giving him any free traffic to his blog.

For Duncan Riley's comment on the matter, simply go to The Blog Herald. Duncan Riley considered the case to be "the most blatant example of plagiarism that I have personally seen."

As we can see, the problem of plagiarising other people's work and claiming it as their own, has reached the blogosphere. Once the province of the world of academia, idea theft has become part of the daily experience of bloggers.

What can you do to prevent the spread of pagiarism, and to avoid charges of the practice yourself?

First and foremost, you should always credit your source. That is easy to do for any honest blogger. Simply link to the post in question.

Jay Solo at Accidental Verbosity always recommends the "double link". One link is made directly to the post, and another link is created to the blog home page, by those who double link.

I try to follow Jay's recommendation, and double link. Occasionally, I forget as well. The only link that will appear on those occasions, will either be to the post, or to the blog's home page. Single linking is considered sufficient by most bloggers, however.

We must all try to be more scrupulous with linking and crediting other bloggers for their posts and ideas.

If we don't acknowledge the work of others, the next blog to be plagiarized may be your own.

Let's maintain the integrity of ideas in the blogosphere.



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Friday, April 16, 2004

 

Blog revenue

We are all thinking of ways to get some income from our blogs.

I have been getting some income from my blog being an advertisement for my freelance writing and search engine optimization skills.

I have now added some advertising, as you can see on the right hand side of your computer screen.

After all, I'm always talking about blog revenue, I should practice what I preach, right?

I have entered into an associate arrangement with an organization called TradePub. They distribute free business and trade magazines, on behalf of the magazine publishers.

The good thing about this arrangement is the magazines are free to you, with no strings attached. All you have to do is be involved in the industry the magazine targets. If there were strings attached, I would not be making this recommendation, or getting involved with the offer.

It is a great offer, and free to you. I wouldn't be part of it otherwise.

It's very important to be up to date, in what's happening within your industry, and field of endeavour. The latest trade magazines provide that timely insight. They help you to become an insider in your industry.

Full disclosure: I get a small commission from every free magazine subscription ordered. It provides me with some income, and also works as an experiment on the effectiveness of blogs as advertising and marketing vehicles. That is important for all of us, and for the future of blogs.

All of the trade publications are available to my United States based readers. There are specific categories of magazines that are available to residents of Canada, Mexico, and world wide.

Everyone can find a trade publication that suits them, as the list of industries is very exhaustive. General business, management, and computer magazines work for almost everyone too.

To subscribe, simply click on the display advertisement on the right side of your screen. Be sure to use the link from Blog Business World, as it's the only way I get paid.

I am considering adding similar links to my other two blogs: roller derby at Wayne's Derby World and comedy at Codswallop and Flapdoodle as well. That way, even more readers can subscribe to the many great and free trade publications.

Keeping current with happenings in your industry will help you and your business to grow and prosper.

Click on my link, to TradePub, and subscribe to your free trade publications today.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

 

Baseball blogger joins mainstream media

Further evidence that blogs are becoming mainstream, noted baseball blogger John Bonnes of Twins Geek has his blog appearing in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The blog was added to provide depth to the newspaper's sports department.

Baseball blogs are a prime example of how blogs are almost light years ahead of the mainstream thought in their field. Baseball bloggers like John Bonnes of Twins Geek are providing far more indepth analysis of the sport, using advanced mathematical metrics, than anyone in the mainstream media.

The power of baseball blogs, in changing the way fans think of their favourite sport, is reflected in the now widespread use of the term OPS. Almost unheard of, prior to the baseball blogging revolution, OPS is the total of a batter's on base percentage (OBP) and his slugging percentage (SLG).

On base percentage is presented as a decimal fraction by dividing a hitters total plate appearances by the number of hits plus walks and times hit by pitches accumulated. An average on base percentage (OBP) is in the vicinity of .350 or reaching base on 35% of trips to the plate as a batter.

Slugging percentage is derived by dividing the number of total bases (a single is one total base, a double is two, a triple is three, and a home run is four) into the number of official at bats (ones where a hitter either got a hit or made an out). An average slugging percentage (SLG) would be in the area of .400.

By that calculation, an average offensive player would have an OPS of about .750. (.350 OBP + .400 SLG = .750 OPS)

Other more advanced metrics calculate pitching, fielding and hitting, but there is no need to examine them here. Suffice it to say, bloggers are on the cutting edge of baseball analysis.

Moving far beyond traditional measures like batting average and runs batted in, baseball bloggers are changing the way people think about baseball. Now those bloggers are becoming mainstream baseball thinkers.

On my blogroll are three baseball blogs. One is Jeff Angus's business oriented Management By Baseball. Jeff examines a business issue by relating it to a management problem in baseball. The way the matter was solved or not, in a baseball context, provides insights into your own business problems.

Another is JD Arney's Cincinnati Reds blog Reds Daily. The blog provides a good readable example of a sports blog. JD also is a daily visitor to Blog Business World.

A third baseball blog is the very prolific and highly regarded Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog. Aaron's innovations in blogging have been discussed on Blog Business World before in another blogging context.

For more great baseball blogs, whether you are fan of the sport or not, be sure to check the blogrolls on the baseball blogs mentioned. They provide an insight into the cutting edge of blogging that is, in my opinion, far beyond the better known political blogs.

Now baseball bloggers are taking their innovations, and their blogs, into the mainstream.

Other bloggers will soon follow.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

 

Theme Weeks: A way to more traffic

Theme weeks.

Themed time periods are used, in many offline businesses to generate visitor volume, during the life of the promotion.

You've probably thought about them, but never employed them on your blog.

As a traffic builder, a week devoted to one aspect of your regular blog fare can do wonders for increasing your readership.

It also builds in return traffic, as your visitors will want to follow the subject to its conclusion.

Todd, at the very popular A Penny For... recently concluded a highly successful Brand Week, where the topic under consideration was the branding of products and services.

He plans another such themed week in June.

Another blogger, employing a similar technique is Michele Miller, at the fast rising to prominence WonderBranding: Marketing To Women.

This week, Michele is exploring the many facets of intuition.

By running a series of posts on intuition, Michele provides a powerful reason for her visitor traffic to return. She doesn't forget her regular blogging subject matter either. It continues as always.

The themed topic of intuition is similar to bonus material.

On your own blogs, you can consider the relative merits of holding some theme specific weeks as well. While they are not for everyone, they are well suited to many bloggers.

I would caution you on the overuse of themes, however. Once you saturate your blog with themes, you might risk losing your newly loyal audience.

Keep those themes as special occasions, not as weekly events.

Note that Todd is not running another special topic week until June. He understands the value of keeping the idea fresh, and not running it into the ground from overexposure.

By adding special weeks to your blog, you can increase your visitor traffic.

You also give your readers a strong reason to return for more.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

 

The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem

The other day, I wrote a column about sources of incoming link totals for your blog.

One of those sources, for finding which blogs link to your blog, is The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem.

The purpose of the The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem is to create a list of blogs, ranked by the number of their incoming links. The more incoming links, the higher a blog ranks on the Ecosystem.

In a take off on the evolutionary scale, the blogs begin their journey onward and upward on the evolutionary ladder.

The lowest level, for blogs with no incoming blog links is "Insignificant Microbes". Typically, these are brand new blogs who have not yet found their audience. As blogs begin to link to them, they begin to evolve into higher organisms.

There are sixteen stages in the The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem, with "Higher Beings" providing the ultimate level of blogs. That group is populated by the biggest names in the blogging community, or the well known "A List".

You will want to find your blog's level in the Ecosystem. For example, Blog Business World is called a "Marauding Marsupial".

I didn't make those category names up!

The Ecosystem scans all of the blogs, found within its blog database, each day. The crawl examines all mentions of a blog, whether within a blog posting, on a blogroll, or a blog's list of links.

Note that only the front page of a blog is scanned, so once a blog post that mentions a blog scrolls off into the archives, it is often no longer counted. Frequent mentions and inclusion on a blogroll pay added dividends in the Ecosystem.

To get your blog scanned, for inclusion in the index, go to the Add Your Weblog page. All that is required is your blog title and URL. That is a fairly basic, and not too onerous a task.

You can add a bit of code to your blog, provided by the Ecosystem, which automatically updates itself as your blog evolves higher in the food chain.

One of the major weaknesses of the The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem, is it doesn't include the entire blog population.

Its reach is far smaller than the better known Technorati. For that reason, your incoming blog count may appear to be smaller than that displayed in the Technorati results.

I would suggest helping The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem out a bit.

Here's what I do.

Whenever a new blog links to one of mine, I go to the Add Your Weblog page, and add their blog. Quite often, their blog will show up as not being included in the system.

By adding the new blog to the The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem, I accomplish a number of things.

I get another incoming link counted. That's obvious.

I help out the work done on behalf of bloggers by The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem. That's obvious too.

What is less obvious, is I am helping out the person who linked to my blog.

Because the Google PageRank of the The Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem is fairly high at PageRank 6, its links to blogs appear in the Google backlink display.

That extra incoming PR4 or higher link helps the blogger who linked to me get higher Google PageRank and better positioning in the search engine results for their most important keywords.

I consider my addition of a blog a help to that blogger.

It's one way of thanking them for linking to one or more of my blogs.






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Monday, April 12, 2004

 

Carnival of the Capitalists rolls into Chicago

The immensely popular Carnival of the Capitalists has pitched the big top at the insightful political blog Chicago Report.

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists features many interesting and highly informative posts.

Articles by some of the internet's finest political, economics, and business bloggers, cover the world of capitalism, from all directions.

In this corner we have business theory, and in the next corner, we have politics and culture. In a third corner we find the dreaded taxes. Technology is right around the next bend. The final corner pole is taken by energy and natural resources.

As an added bonus, Chicago Report has added a wonderfully entertaining graphic to the blog, commemorating the occasion.

That unique graphic alone is worth a visit to Chicago Report.

I have an entry included in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. You can read my post about "Finding visitors from offline sources". I hope you find it informative and helpful in getting your blog more visitor traffic.

Next week, the Carnival of the Capitalists makes a stop at Lynne Keisling's tremendous economics blog called Knowledge Problem.

To have an entry in the next, or any upcoming Carnival of the Capitalists, e-mail your column to capitalists -at- elhide.com and join the fun.




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Checking incoming links:Google and elsewhere

If you are like most bloggers, you want to know who is linking to your blog.

There are several blog tools that tell you which blogs have a link to your blog. The best known of these tools are Technorati and the Truth Laid Bear Blog Ecosystem.

Blogs do not live by blog links alone, however.

Your blog will also have links from tradtional websites, and surprisingly from your own blog itself. Did you know that your internal blog archive pages also count as backlinks? It's true.

That link popularity boost, from your archived posts alone, should encourage you to add posts to your blog. They increase your PageRank and your positioning in the search engine results for your keyword terms.

To find your overall blog incoming links, there are several places to look.

If you have the Google Toolbar installed, you can check your highest quality backlinks through it. Note that I say the highest quality ones. Google only reports incoming links from web pages of PageRank 4 or higher.

For more information on Google PageRank, check out this blog post on PageRank.

On the Google Toolbar, look for a little blue oval with a small letter "i" in it. Click on it. When the menu opens, click on Backwards Links.

What will appear on your computer screen are the many incoming PageRank 4 or higher blog, website, your forum posts, and directory pages where your blog is found. While only PageRank 4 or better pages are shown, Google takes all located links into account in its calculation of your PageRank and position in the search engine results.

To find even more Google links, that include your blog, try this.

In the search box, enter link: yourblogname.yourbloghost.com and more mentions of your blog will appear.

You can do the same thing for Yahoo, and get even more results.

Simply enter link: yourblogname.yourbloghost.com into the search box as before, and more links to your blog will appear.

One of the very best tools for checking links is the Marketleap Link Popularity Checker.

All you have to do is fill in the name of your blog, or blogs (since there are spaces to check more than one, you can), and the Marketleap Link Popularity Checker will display incoming links in Google/AOL, MSN, and Hotbot/Inktomi.

The first thing you will notice is the different totals. As you search through the links, you will also find that each search engine lists different links. Their spiders crawl different sites. Remember, the Google total displayed is only PageRank 4 or higher, and may even be outdated.

Have fun checking your incoming links.

Remember, there are more links to you than just other blogs.

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

 

Search engine optimization forums add blogs

Bloggers have long understood the benefits of a blog for search engine optimization.

We know that blogs perform extremely well in the various search engines. As people enter their keywords in the search boxes of Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, Teoma, and Google powered AOL Search, many blogs appear prominently in the results.

The generous linking policies of bloggers, who provide links as a service to their readers and to other bloggers, help blogs to score high in the search engine algorithm. That is the computer calculation of the relevance of a web page to the requested search.

The search engines find blogs to be very relevant.

The search engine robot spiders crawl blogs very frequently as well. Because blogs are updated so regularly and often, compared to many static websites, blogs are rewarded by the search engines as well.

Fresh content, as provided by blogs, scores very well in the search engines.

The search engine optimization (SEO) community is starting to take notice. Suddenly, the experts on getting high placements in the various search engines are paying attention to blogs.

Blogs do well in the search engines. It was only a matter of time before the SEO professionals caught the wave.

The popular Cre8asite Forums has just placed heavier emphasis on blogs. They have expanded their blog forum to Blogs, RSS, and Syndication.

They have even added a team blog called Crea8tive Flow, featuring some of the internet's leading search engine experts.

SEO Chat has its members discussing the benefits of blogs, under many of its topics. A number of the SEO Chat moderators and senior members have formed the very informative Search Engine Roundtable Weblog. Using a blog format, many powerful search engine concepts are discussed.

Jill Whelan's highly informative High Rankings Forum frequently features discussions about blogs. They appear under most topics, as one would expect.

The I Help You Forums also include many discussions involving the power of blogs in the search engines.

Top25web Forums has recently added a blog forum as well.

These are only a few, of the leading search engine optimization discussion boards, who are taking blogs very seriously.

While many more conservative members of the SEO community remain skeptical, and often hostile to blogs, the leading edge professionals are seeing the blog power first hand.

Blogs help any website rise higher in the various search engines, if a blog is incorporated into the site.

Blogs also stand well in the search engines on their own accord.

Start a blog to leap higher in the search engines.

The search engine optimization experts are beginning to find out what most of us already know.

Blogs mean business on the search engines.




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Finding vistors from offline sources

Everyone wants more visitor traffic.

You have already heard many ideas for gaining new readers through internet promotions. You can find many good visitors through offline sources as well.

Here are some ideas for you to try.

Press releases

Write a press release for distribution to the news media. If your business is doing anything that could be considered newsworthy, be sure to send a press release, to the appropriate media outlets. News releases could point out new executive additions or substantial increases in staffing, expansion plans, new products, or a business anniversary.

Be sure to write the press release as a news item, and not as an advertisement, if you want it published. Think like a news editor and offer stories that the publication would want to print.

Read the articles already printed there. What you send to them has to be in a similar style, and on topic, to what their site or publication is all about.

You don't send an article on automobile transmissions to a clothing site. It will simply be ignored at best, and deleted at worst. How you spent your vacation in Tahiti might be just what a travel site is looking for, but it's unlikely to be of interest to a Shakespeare editor.

Another bad idea is sending advertising copy, and promotional material for your business, thinly disguised as a news story. Experienced editors will simply hit the delete button on their e-mail program, and send your glorified advertisement to cyber oblivion. They might also keep your e-mail address on file, as a warning to never open your e-mails or letters again..

When you send the release, be certain to include all of your business details, about how you can be reached for an interview. Include your website URL on all of your press releases. As an added bonus, all of your releases can be archived on your site as added keyword rich content, for being found by the search engines.

Networking as a volunteer

Do some old fashioned face to face networking.Visit with as many groups in your community as you possibly can, prior to joining. Some groups are more educationally oriented, some are mainly in search of volunteers, and others are interested in facilitating business contacts.

Learn as much as you can about the group, its support for business networking, the quality of its leadership, and its general tone. That way, you can select the groups that are right for you, and your business.

Once you choose the groups you wish to join, become involved in their activities. Sign up as a volunteer on a few of their committees. If at all possible, select one that has some relation to your field of business.

Be seen as a helpful person and a strong business resource. If people view you as an expert, willing to share advice freely in your area of business, they will gravitate towards you for ideas and assistance. It also serves to keep your name and business visible to them.

Be certain that your website URL is included on all of your business cards, brochures, and other promotional materials. Visitors to your site will follow.

Offer internet only specials to offline customers

In addition to your offline business, should you have one, offer some internet only specials. Commonly used by the major airlines and hotels, internet only offers will keep visitor traffic returning to your website, in search of those online bargains.

If your site offers highly sought after products or services, bringing the specialized traffic to your site, can aid in cross selling and upselling to your customers.

Be sure to let your offline customers know that you offer internet only sales at regular intervals. That information can be provided at offline point of purchase, on your promotional materials, or on the website itself.

Use word of mouth advertising

Use a little word of mouth advertising. Simply tell everyone you know about your website. Give them incentive to tell others by doing a little viral marketing. Have something humorous or interesting, to send around the internet, via e-mail or instant messenger.

People love to spread the word, often to their entire mailing list. Make certain a link to your website is included as part of the marketing message. Use word of mouth marketing to your advantage.











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Friday, April 09, 2004

 

Blogs are growing in importance

There is a common misconception out there that blogs are still "personal diaries". While those "I had a cheese sandwich for lunch" type blogs are still out there, they are only part of the blogging landscape.

There are many political blogs that rival major newspapers for readership. They tend to cover news and issues that either the mainstream media ignore, or are afraid to touch.

There is a fast growing field of business blogs, in which I maintain a strong interest. Business blogs enable companies to create powerful personal relationships, with their customers and clients, present and future. Blogs also put a personal and human face on the business.

Many business blogs keep their readers up to date on industry news and happenings in their business sector. Business blogs cover industry news, ranging from the Oklahoma wine industry, to US real estate in general and Florida real estate in particular.

New product information, and news of its development reaches the important "early adopter" market segment through blogs. These technology savvy people want to be on the bleeding edge of technolgy. To find that edge, they turn to business bloggers for the inside scoop.

Microsoft has many employees writing blogs in their area of expertise. Microsoft bloggers definitely help the company, from a business and marketing standpoint, as blog readers get to know the people behind the business.

Adding a business blog to an existing static website will enhance your rankings in the search engines. Because search engines love fresh content and lots of incoming links, blogs and search engines are a marriage made in heaven.

The often daily blog posts attract the search engine spiders, leading blogs to be crawled often on a daily basis. The generous freely linking practices of bloggers, lends itself to powerful search engine results, for their most important keywords.

The total incoming links lead to powerful Google PageRanks. Many new blogs reach PR5 in two months or less.

Are you interested in business blogging now?

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

 

Google PageRank and Backlink Update

At the moment, Google is busily updating the Google PageRank and backlink totals for various websites. That update includes blogs as well.

For those who aren't sure about what Google Pagerank constitutes, it's Google's measure of the relative importance of a site on the internet. The scale runs from PR0 to PR10; with 10 being the highest.

To read your Google Pagerank, you need to download the Google Toolbar. Note that there is no Mac version of the toolbar.

Most blogs that possess any reasonable number of incoming links, whether from other blogs, regular websites, message forum posts, or internet directories, have from PR4 to PR6, which are good solid totals. A few blogs will have a PR7 or a PR8, but they have many incoming links.

By way of example, two of my blogs Blog Business World and Wayne's Derby World, each have a PageRank 6.

My newer comedy blog, Codswallop and Flapdoodle already has a PageRank 5.

Newer blogs will understandably have lower PageRanks. Their PageRank will increase as their number of incoming links grows in volume.

Note that backlink counts on Google only display PageRank 4 or higher pages. Pages with lower PR are definitely entered into your blog's calculation, they are simply not shown.

Don't worry if your blog has a lower PageRank, you can easily raise it.

Simply work on getting more incoming links.

How do you do that?

Well, there are several ways.

You can trade links with other blogs and static websites.

You can add your blog to the many internet directories. There are directories specifically for blogs, many of which are linked in my Resources section. There are also many regular internet directories that are open to both regular static websites and to blogs. Be sure to get into as many as possible.

You can write good interesting and informative content. You would be surprised how many people will simply link to your blog without you even asking them. If your content is good, people will link to your blog. After all, they want to return over and over again.

Post on message forums. When you post, be certain to create a signature file. That file should include a link back to your blog. The blog title is usually sufficient. Even better is a brief description of your blog on the clickable link.

There is some concern that trading links is a bad thing. That is not true.

I checked my incoming links. My links, which are heavily reciprocated with numerous other blogs, all appear. The legend of the loss of trading links is greatly exaggerated. Incoming blog and static website links are good.

By raising your Google Pagerank, you will help your blog rise higher in the search engine results, for your most important search terms.

For more information on Google PageRank, and how it is calculated, see my article at SEO Chat called Google PageRank Primer.

Raise those Google PageRanks!


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Brand Week at "A Penny For..."

Don't miss out on Brand Week at A Penny For....

Every day, Todd is asking a new question on brands, branding, and brand building. He invites your thoughts and insights on all things brand related.

I'm sure Todd take your thoughts on other topics too, if you want to offer them.

Surf on over the Brand Week at A Penny For... and give Todd an earful.

Don't tell him I sent you though.

Make him guess!

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

 

From comments to forums: The next step?

Blog comments are often the liveliest and most popular section of many blogs.

Some of the best thoughts are expressed by the blog's reading audience. Good comments will often help the blogger to expand on the ideas expressed in the post, or improve on them.

As you know, I recommend that all blogs have a comment section, to help your readers express their thoughts and opinions. That interaction between bloggers helps to build community.

By creating an ever widening circle of readers, the comments section helps retain those members. Many people who leave comments return to the blog to find out if they received any responses to their own ideas. Those responses could come from the blog owner or from other readers.

The next step in comments is the creation of a message forum on your blog.

While not for everyone, a forum can enlarge the reader and blogger interaction exponentially. By having many thread topics from which to choose, readers can post comments on those that interest them.

Unlike comments on blog postings, that scroll off the bottom of the page in only a few days, forum messages remain much longer. Sometimes popular threads will remain for months at a time, continually adding posts.

The popular and very eclectic Canadian blog The G Spot has just launched a brand new message board.

Thanks to Vicki at Just In From Cowtown for the link.

Always a popular blog for comments, bloggers Kim and Darin have decided to take the next step. By adding message board to their blog, they have decided that they and their readers should share even more interaction, on a wider range of topics.

Kim says about the forum, "It makes a nice addition to the G Spot blog to have a place to carry on longer conversations on some topics. It also provides a nice place for you the reader to share things with other G Spot visitors."

Registration is fairly simple and straighforward, so it's easy to become a member.

The success of the The G Spot in operating an ongoing message board may encourage other bloggers to expand their comments into a forum.

Time will tell.

Good luck to Kim and Darin of The G Spot on the launch and success of their new message board.




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Monday, April 05, 2004

 

Bestofme Symphony is playing right now

That well known tribute to older but still great blog posts, known as the Bestofme Symphony is now playing at my friend Trudy Schuett's WOLves blog.

The eclectic assortment of entries covers a very wide range of topic areas. To list the subjects would require a listing of all of the entry posts.

I have an entry included.

It's my post about my roller derby league proposal that had a fatal flaw. A bad partner.

Be sure to tune up your instruments and play some golden oldies at the Bestofme Symphony.

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Carnival of the Capitalists Up and Running

Once again Carnival of the Capitalists makes its weekly appearance.

This week the travelling road show of business and economics pitches its tent at the thought provoking political blog Crazy Pundit.

Under the big top this week are a wide variety of posts on outsourcing, business abroad, govenment regulation and law, technology, and a host of others.

I even have a post included this week.

My long winded (I prefer to think detailed) discussion on getting your blog included in the noted Yahoo! Directory made the cut. I think it had that length thing going for it.

If you can't run away to the circus, make sure you run away to the Carnival of the Capitalists.

Next week's Carnival makes a stop at the noted political blog The Chicago Report.

If you want to have an entry included in an upcoming Carnival, here is some information on what type of posts to submit.

Send your entries to capitalists-at-elhide.com.



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Sunday, April 04, 2004

 

Earning a living or that's my excuse

Blogging is an important part of my daily life.

I maintain three blogs, which when I'm busy seems like a lot of posting. Mostly, it is fun and not a problem.

Today, I was busily writing freelance articles. Many of you know that I write search engine marketing and optimization articles for the search engine optimization site SEO Chat.

In fact I write one every week. I currently have four articles on the front page of SEO Chat.

Writing them takes time. The good news is I am a very efficient freelance writer. (He said as he blushed from his self congratulation). I agree to write articles. I deliver them completed and on time.

Today was one of those days. I was busy with the SEO Chat and with some others as well. That cut seriously into my blogging time. (Talk about misplaced priorities, he joked).

Since my blogging is important to me, and I hope to my regular readers, I have columns up on all of my blogs. Plus, I have my freelance articles completed and shipped.

I often suggest to other bloggers to take a day off blogging, if they have other pressing concerns.

I never take my own advice in that regard.


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DMOZ Directory: Is your blog included?

I have written about a number of internet directories on this blog.

In fact, yesterday I recommended submitting your blog to the Yahoo! Directory.

The single most important internet directory is The Open Directory Project (ODP) , better known as DMOZ.

DMOZ has become even more blog friendly.

The ODP Weblog (via MediaTIC) reports that DMOZ is now accepting RSS feeds and Atom feeds as listings in the directory.

Quote:

"Alongside standard HTML web sites and PDF documents, we're now accepting RSS feeds as listings in the directory. There's no change in the submission process but in future categories will start showing 'XML' sections with links to related RSS feeds."

I have written about how to submit your blog to DMOZ on Blog Business World in the past.

I also have a more indepth article on DMOZ submissions on SEO Chat.

The significance of the advice I provide is that it works.

Blog Business World is right where it should be under "Weblogs/Resources".

The description used:

"Blogging about blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs"

...is almost identical to what I submitted. It is also very similar to the description of this blog:

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

By writing an impartial, unbiased description, I had almost no changes made at all. You should write the description of your blog the same way for all directory submissions.

Impartial and unbiased.

It took about three months for Blog Business World to appear in DMOZ under "Weblogs/Resources". That is about an average wait, as every blog and static website submission is examined carefully by a volunteer editor.

During my wait, I kept adding more daily posts, as you will during your wait.

I never contacted the editors at all. I realize they are very busy, and they are all dedicated volunteers. Giving them time to do their jobs is only common courtesy.

I also avoided committing the cardinal sin of resubmitting my blog, which only gets your blog moved to back of the line again.

Patience is a virtue with DMOZ. It also pays off for you.

If you follow my advice and suggestions, which are mainly about following the DMOZ submission guidelines to the letter, your blog will be included too.

Get your blog submitted to DMOZ today.

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Friday, April 02, 2004

 

Get Your Blog Into The Yahoo! Directory

Because of its possible importance for Google PageRank, as another incoming link, and for potential visitor traffic referrals, you may want to consider the Yahoo! Directory.

While the directory may not be suitable for all websites, blog owners may find a real benefit to being included in it.

Why is directory inclusion important?

Each of the major directories provide additional traffic to you your blog. They also provide valuable incoming links, that enhance your Google PageRank, and perhaps your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as well.

If your site isn’t listed in the various search engines, becoming listed in directories is a great way to get your website crawled by the Google spider. Other search engine spiders, including Yahoo! and MSN Search, crawl the major directories, on a regular basis as well.

The Yahoo! Directory is crawled on a regular basis by the search engine spiders, including the Google spider. The directory may offer a quick entry into the Google listings for many blogs.

How to get your blog into the Yahoo! Directory

Here are some basic hints to help your blog to qualify for the Yahoo! Directory. As with all directory submissions, you must follow their submission guidelines very carefully. They are not merely a suggestion. They are the rules for entry. If you want directory inclusion, follow them exactly.

Find the correct category for your blog submission. The Yahoo! Directory is organized by subject matter. When you have found, what you think is the suitable category for your website submission, click on the Suggest A Site button. You will be taken to an online form for completion.

Yahoo will require your website name, its URL, and a brief objective description. It is best to write the site description from an impartial third party approach. Your description should simply tell what the site is about in an objective factual manner. It’s no time for flowery sales language. Yahoo reserves the right to change your choice of description.

It’s far better to write your own blog description than to rely on the Yahoo staff person’s wording. Take your time. It’s easier to provide a good honest description than to get one changed. Changing your listing or your description requires another submission and another potentially very long wait as well.

Make sure your blog works properly

Make certain that your blog will load properly in a variety of browsers. Test your blog by trying it out in more than one browser. A site, written entirely in java, is unlikely to be accepted either.

Your website must provide its content in English. If the language of your blog is something other than English, you are strongly advised to have a translator available. While the translation service might not be enough to ensure inclusion, it certainly would help your cause.

Because your blog might be examined by Yahoo staff members very quickly, it is advisable to check all of your site’s links. Make certain they are all working properly.

Yahoo may decide not to include your blog, in the directory, if it’s packed full of dead links. Yahoo also expects your blog to be up and running around the clock, so make certain your site is using a reliable server. Most of the major blog hosting present no problems for Yahoo! Directory inclusion.

Be sure to have no pages “under construction”. The Yahoo! Directory doesn’t include sites that are still in the construction mode. If your site is still in the building process, it might be advisable to delay your application, until such time as your site is ready.

Another option for partially completed blogs, if speed of entry is important, is to remove all unfinished pages. They can always be added at a later date. That way, when the Yahoo staff drops by for a visit, no incomplete pages will greet their arrival.

Examples of unfinished pages are usually found on sites that add business blogs as subpages.

Free submission to the Yahoo! Directory

Free inclusion is similar in many ways to the Express (paid) entry to the Yahoo! Directory. It is much slower, however. Yahoo doesn’t guarantee a review of all free submission sites either. In fact, Yahoo may never get around to evaluating your non-commercial site for inclusion in the directory.

It is still very much worth your effort to submit your non- business site to the Yahoo! Directory, through the free submission process. It’s just that there are absolutely no assurances of success.

How to submit a blog for free

To begin your free submission, be sure to check if your website is already listed or not. Often, you will find your site is already included within the directory, by entering your URL or website title into the search box. If your site is already there, you can sit back and relax. You are already included.

Should your blog not be part of the directory, you will have to submit it by hand. Search through the available categories, digging deeper into the subcategories, for the right match for your website. Eventually, you will find the right spot for your website to be located.

The basic information page for free site submissions can be found here:

Suggest A Site

Be sure to write down the name of the category you have chosen, and the date of your submission. That information may be required later, should there be a problem with your inclusion.

As with all directory submissions, it is a good practice to maintain good records of when and where your site has been submitted. Yahoo is no exception.

When the appropriate category has been found, it’s time to submit your website. Click on the Suggest a Site button, located at the top right hand corner of the page.

You will be asked to provide the website title, its complete URL, as well as a brief description. As with any directory submission, your description should be as honest and objective as possible.

Blatantly keyword loaded descriptions are likely to be changed, or your blog rejected entirely. A reasonable and objective site description will almost certainly be approved.

Inclusion in the Yahoo! Directory is great for visitor traffic, and for your search engine results.

Your blog should be included in its listings.

Thanks to Todd at A Penny For.... He reminded me to write a post about the Yahoo! Directory.

We have both received fresh visitor traffic, and an important backlink, from inclusion in the Yahoo! Directory.

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Blog topics running low: Let your readers help

Have you ever experienced that brief moment of panic, when you thought you had nothing to write about?

You wanted to post, but no ideas would filter into your brain, to escape through your fingers. No topic time had arrived, and there was no way out.

The endlessly entertaining and creative Sugarmama has solved the problem.

By taking the obvious step of using "audience-driven blogging", Sugarmama has taken the obvious step of asking her readers what they want to see on her blog.

Consulting with your readership is simply good marketing.

In most progressive businesses, the management will survey its customer base, to discover what products and services they want to buy. In less customer oriented companies, management simply decides what products to offer, and attempts to create a market for them.

Often these attempts to create demand are futile and expensive failures. Customer needs are not met by the business, so the consumer votes with their feet and shops elsewhere. People will buy from businesses that are responsive to their needs and wants.

It works that way in blogging too.

Sugarmama has responded to the wishes of her readership. She asked them what they wanted to read and responded by providing it.

Blogs that fail to provide content, that is interesting to their readers, will soon find themselves without an audience.

By asking your readers what they want, you can solve two problems at once.

You solve the problem of not having any topics, as they are provided by your regular visitors.

You increase your returning visitor traffic as you are providing the posts that they want to read.

It's simply good marketing

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

 

Market other blogs to market your own

Marketing other people's blogs may sound counterproductive to many people.

Think about it for a second first, however, before dismissing the idea out of hand. I believe that helping other people achieve their goals, will help you with yours.

The ever imaginative David St. Lawrence at Ripplesl has now added publicizing some other blogs to his growing repetoire. David has so many great ideas, he should begin to export them, to help the balance of trade.

David's latest concept is called "Friends in Far Places". He will be highlighting some of his favourite blogs every week, in that special feature.

It is my belief that David's generosity, shown by his selfless desire to share other blogs, will return to benefit him as well.

You can do the same thing as David St. Lawrence. You can feature your favourite blogs too.

Tell others about your favourite stopping off spots.

You may be reading a blog that many of your current readership has overlooked.

Perhaps a new blog has caught your eye, that you would like others to read too.

Maybe you added a new blog to your list of blog links, on your links directory or blogroll.

Be generous in your linking to other blogs, and readers will find their way back to your blog too.


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