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Blog Business World

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

Saturday, July 31, 2004

 

Are you tired of blogging?

It's a thought that occurs to almost every blogger sometime in their blogging career.

It may not be during the first month, the first six months, or even the first year of maintaining a blog.

It can, however, strike at any time.

It's the almost irresistable urge to just give up blogging entirely. The thought of simply chucking the whole idea, and walking away from the blog, can become almost beyond control. You just want to get away from it for awhile.

Most bloggers feel that urge occasionally, but the idea is so hush hush, that no one wants to say it out loud. They rarely even want to admit it to themselves.

The first step to understanding those feelings is to admit that they exist.

The last thing you ever want to think is you are the only one who has ever felt the temptation tp click the Delete Blog button. The thought has occurred to many of the leading bloggers on the internet.

Don't feel badly or even worry about it.

The truth is many blogs are in fact abandoned. There are probably more deserted blogs out there than pages receiving regular posts.

You are not one of those people.

You have not failed your blog, or let down your regular readers.

You have made the committment and are sticking to it. That is all well and good, but don't become a slave to your blog either.

If you ever do feel the early signs of "blog out", and you just can't bring yourself to post, take a break.

Skip a few days or a week.

Get a special guest blogger to write a few posts for you while you are taking a rest. Both you and your guest writer will benefit. It even has the double value of keeping your blog going, while you are resting.

You can't beat that!

Leave a post for your readers and let them know how you feel and what is happening. They will understand. The same thoughts have gone through their own minds too. It's natural.

Let's face it. Daily posting to a blog is sometimes very hard work.

Other things in your life often intrude on your blogging activities. There are jobs and families that require attention. Sometimes you just want to get away from the computer monitor for awhile. Give all of those things their appropriate time too.

Blogging isn't everything.

If you need a break, take it.

Your blog will wait for you.



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Friday, July 30, 2004

 

Guest blogging

Guest blogging.

You know what I mean.

I'm talking about writing guest posts on other peoples' blogs.

You can even swap places with them and blog on one anothers' blogs. There is something that would be a surprise to many of the blog's regular readers. They would show up at Blog A and find Blogger B posted a column. Clicking over to Blog B, they find a post by Blogger A.

You have to admit, there is some humour value in the idea.

But seriously folks.

You can gain some tremendous exposure for your blog, and for your own writing and blogging style by guest blogging.

The special guest star posts are certain to bring some new readers to your blog. Your own regulars will often follow you over the hosting blog, and provide that blogger with some new readers as well. Many visitors will read a few other posts while browsing, and perhaps like what the see on a different blog.

Both the host blogger and the guest blogger will gain a few extra readers for their efforts. Many of those newcomers will remain as regular viewers.

I have had the privilege of guest blogging on Jeremy Wright's superlative Ensight blog.

Whether Jeremy gained much by it, I can't say for certain. I did pick up a number of Jeremy's large readership group for Blog Business World, however.

If you are considering the concept of guest blogging, contact your closest blogging friends first.

They are, without a doubt, the most likely bloggers to accept your posting.

You might also consider filling in for a vacationing blogger, as a special guest star.

Perhaps, if a blogger is ill, some guest posts might be in order.

There is certainly no limit, on the number of creative ways, that various bloggers can find to guest blog for one another.

Think of guesting or hosting today.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

 

Combination Team Super Blogging

I was mulling around the possibility of creating a super business blog, featuring a regular all star team of bloggers.

I know. I don't have a life.

I'm not talking about blogs that have posts from multiple bloggers, on a hit and miss basis.

I thinking in terms of a blog that features regular major posts from all members of the team.

One such blog is a group baseball blog called The Hardball Times. Among the featured bloggers are Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog (linked from Blog Business World) and and Robert Dudek and Craig Burley of Batter's Box. I read both of those baseball blogs daily.

The concept is already a major success among baseball bloggers. The idea should work with business bloggers as well.

Possibility: The group would be selected, and required to provide two to four major posts per week. All bloggers would be part owners of the super blog, while maintaining their own business or personal blogs as well.

I don't think it would be wise to include exclusively business bloggers either. Some personal bloggers and professional writers have much to contribute on writing style, personalization, and concise communication. Political and legal bloggers would provide welcome additions as well.

Business bloggers would make up the majority of the contributors, however.

Wach day would have several new high quality posts to attract readers. With some of the best bloggers as contributors, the calibre of posts would be very high indeed.

Such a blog would become a "must read" for everyone interested in blogging in general, and business blogging in particular.

Putting such a group together would take time, but the possibilities for spreading the concept of business blogging to a wider audience, would be unlimited.

I think such an idea would result in a highly successful team blog, that would enhance the contributing writers' own blogs too.

A team super blog could be an all star success.

 

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

 

Teaching old dogs some new tricks

I enjoy receiving questions about blogging from my readers.

I appreciate each and every one of you.

Amy Rico Faust of Business Best Practices Learning Center asked me about how to convince old school marketers about the benefits of blogs.

Amy says one of the main barriers, is the thought held by many people, that blogs remain merely as personal journals. While that may have been true of blogs a few years ago, that is certainly not the case now.

In fact, I doubt if blogs were ever completely in the domain of personal journals. I think that's a bad reputation that blogs have somehow received, in error. The reality of blogging, however, is many people simply have not kept up to the rapid changes in blogging and its practitioners.

Being somewhat out of the blogging loop is not entirely the fault of older school marketers. There is much to keep up with in the rapidly changing field of marketing. Blogs are now another important tool in the marketer's hands.

If you are developing new products, a blog is an idea way to develop a pre-launch buzz. When the new product is discussed by its potential early adopters, it's likely to be treated as already "owned" by them. The sale to those all important trend setters is already made.

As a communications vehicle, blogs are almost unmatched. A business gains a human face with the addition of a business blog to the website, or as a free standing linked site in its own right.

The daily writing of posts, and talking to your potential customers and clients, gives you and your business a friendly and approachable image. By cutting through the artificial walls and barriers between company and customers, a business develops a reputation of listening to and caring about its customers and clients.

The fact that blogs allow for interaction between the writer and the readers, through comments, provides for instant and honest feedback. If for no other reason than to avoid a potential product or service disaster, the line of communications should remain wide open.

Of course, there are many more positive reasons for open dialogue than negative ones. In any case, talking to your customers creates long term business relationships that can last for a lifetime. Those lifetime customers can also become your greatest brand evangelists, who will spread the positive word of mouth, on your company's behalf.

Media relations are much easier with a blog component to your website. Journalists can check the blog for business, personnel, and product news in an instant. With that ease of story creation, your company is much more likely to receive media coverage, than a non-blogging organization.

As a blogging company, your business is immediately moved from the mainstream to the cutting edge. Regardless of your industry, being seen as a business leader will only yield a positive response. Your business will be viewed more favourably by your prospects, your current customer base, the media, and the general public. Your open lines of communication, provided through your business blog, is the reason.

If you are in the business of developing a long term and lifetime customer base, there is no more effective technique than a business blog. The cost effectiveness alone makes a blog an important asset.

Blogs have power in the search engines, if your company depends on new prospects arriving through Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search.

Search engines love blogs. It's as if blogs were created with search engines in mind. Search engine algorithms (the computer programs that decide the search results) all favour fresh content. Blogs often feature daily postings, which is about as fresh as it gets.

The volume of incoming links, sported by almost every blog, enhance a site's search engine rankings. Even better, the inbound links often arrive from blogs written on a similar topic. The search algorithm is written to give more weight to links from sites sharing the same topic.

Search engine algorithms give more credit for themed inbound links. Bloggers writing on the same topic will quote and refer to one another on a regular basis. All of those referrals add more inbound links to both blogs. 

Bloggers are free and generous linkers. Website owners, from many business areas, are often astounded at the ease of link acquisition and exchanges involving blogs. If adding incoming links has ever been a problem for your website, a blog will definitely open your eyes on that score.

There are far more reason for adding a business blog than ignoring their value.

If a business is serious about marketing their product or service, then adding a business blog should be at the top of the list.

To not be blogging is to throw current and future customers away.

Can your business afford to not have a blog?


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Monday, July 26, 2004

 

Carnival of the Capitalists is up and ready to read

The travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists, has set up the event at Dana Carlson's excellent Business Opportunities Weblog.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists features some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include new technology, internet technology and marketing, legal issues, health care, the economy, and as you would expect from the Business Opportunities Weblog, there is entrepreneurship.

Like I always attempt to do, I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.My entry post this week is entitled "Optimization for MSN Search".

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to:

capitalists -at- elhide.com

If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog. The extra visitors can't sent to your blog won't hurt either!

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Jon Strande's great Business Evolutionist blog.

In the meantime, take a tour of this week's Business Opportunities Weblog hosted Carnival of the Capitalists.

You won't want to miss reading any of the tremendous entries.

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

 

Writing all day

I have been typing articles all day.

In fact, I have been typing freelance articles for two solid days.

My fingers are feeling it.

Or is that my brain exploding from writing various articles, and the need to think. I knew it was something difficult!

If you have been following this column, you know that I make my main living from freelance writing.

The great thing about my profession is the joy of writing. It is truly an addiction.

Have any of you found, as I have, that you write because you have to write?

The need to express oneself in written form is powerful and relentless.

It's a good thing I write for a living.

I wrote several articles today, for my regular contract, at search engine optimization and marketing website SEO Chat.

Self indulgence alert!

I am the top rated and most prolific author at SEO Chat.

Either that, or the most long winded! It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

You are blessed, or is it cursed, with many of those ideas on Blog Business World.

I provide information for your benefit, on marketing and search engine optimization, on a daily basis. My goal is to help all of you achieve your goals for your blogs.

I want all of your online and offline business ventures to be successful. I am only too happy to be of some help to you.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge of those topics with you, as a way of giving back to the blogging community.

I have made many wonderful friends as a result of blogging.

I hope I am providing all of you with a valuable gift for your own blogs.

After all, what are friends for?

Oh, my fingers are tired too.

Just so you know!


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Extra visitors: Finding them

There are few things that create more initial excitement, than the launch of your brand new blog.
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You have built the best blog you possibly can, and you’re waiting for the visitor traffic to start pouring right in.

You wait. And you wait. Something needs to be done to make those visitor counters start clicking, and soon.

Here are some ideas to get some visitors to your blog. While each one, in and of itself, may not bring the thousands of unique visitors you would like, taken together they can add up to some fairly nice totals. Every visitor helps.

Some online traffic building ideas

Place a link to your website on all of your outgoing e-mails. It sounds simple enough, yet very few people do it. In fact, your website URL should be featured prominently on every piece of paper, including letters, faxes and business cards, that leave your office. Many people will click on your website link, giving you some instant traffic.

One of my favorite promotional ideas, is participation at various message boards and forums, relating to your area of interest.  Be sure to be helpful and not blatantly pushing your product. Answer questions fully and politely, and freely provide solid information.

Develop a reputation for being knowledgeable and helpful, and you will be regarded as an expert in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to start discussions either. There are many other people who will be wanting that same question asked, but are often too shy to do so.

Don't forget to place a link back to your site, in your signature line, sometimes referred to as a sig line. Most forums encourage the use of signature lines. They often provide space, for some additional information on your site, as well. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many people will click on your sig line link.

Add some reciprocal links. Many people are concerned about theming (the practice of search engines downgrading links that are not part of your blog’s overall topic area) but if done correctly, there should only be benefits for you. One technique for link gathering is to find out who is linking to other similar blogs. 
  
More advanced online visitor finders

Offer a free download. Items that can be offered for free to visitors include e-books on your website’s area of expertise, or some helpful hints for using your products, or on selecting suitable vendors. Free reports on any topic, related to your website are very good at attracting visitors.

If you don’t have your own download available, or the time to write one yourself, there are many free ones on the internet that you can add to your blog. In the long run, however, it’s better to offer your own exclusive pdf or downloadable files, as they won’t be available anywhere else. If you use affiliate sites, for your downloads, they can be linked to your blog as well.

Write internet articles. Take every opportunity to write guest articles for other websites, newsletters, and blogs. Many bloggers, newsletter editors, and webmasters will happily offer the chance for you to be a guest columnist on their blogs, newsletters, or sites.

Simply offer to write a guest column, or an article for a few bloggers and webmasters. Start with a few people who you know. They are the most likely to agree to your offer. They will appreciate the added content, which will help them to gain more keyword strength, in the search engine rankings.

Everyone benefits.

Be sure to include a short biography of yourself, and your blog URL. Include a live clickable link back to your blog. You will receive a lot of visitors, as people will already be familiar with your advice and expertise, based on the article itself.

Get your blog included in as many free or low cost directories as possible. Along with the standard directories that include the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and Yahoo!, there is also JoeAnt and Skaffe. Don’t overlook the very small and specialized directories, related specifically to your field of business. There are also many free blog directories that are a must for all bloggers.

All of these directories are free. They may not provide a lot of traffic each, but collectively can create some welcome added visitors to your blog.

Don’t neglect finding visitors from offline sources

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.

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 blog 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.

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.

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

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 blog is included as part of the marketing message. Use word of mouth marketing to your advantage.

Watch your blog visitor counter explode with new visitors.

 




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Friday, July 23, 2004

 

Authority site: A goal for your blog

Your blog is in constant need of more fresh content.

That is a given.

The search engines tend to reward websites that update often, and have large numbers of web pages. Adding fresh content to your site can also help develop your blog into the much sought after "authority site" status.

A major problem faced by many bloggers, as they search for ways to add that new content to their sites, is where to find it. While most bloggers are aware of the need to upload additional web pages to their blogs, writing that content is often a difficult task.

To become an authority site requires strong content in your blog’s area of expertise. Gaining that cherished authority site status also requires many additional theme related incoming links.

Usually, natural links and strong content go hand in hand. The dilemma is creating that content in the first place.

Here’s some help for those seeking authority site status, but are at a loss for words.

What is an authority site?

An authority site is a large site that is recognized by the search engines as being the most important for its keywords.

Authority sites are built on large numbers of content pages and large numbers of incoming links. While that would appear to be obvious, there are several steps that are required to achieve authority site status.

All authority sites, which can almost always be found in the top ten search results for their most important keywords, contain large numbers of pages of content. With the larger sites, like amazon.com, for example, the total of indexed pages may run into the thousands.

For highly competitive keywords, your site will need to add literally hundreds of new content pages, to gain that coveted authority site status. For less competitive keyword searches, obviously not as many pages will be required.

Authority sites are built on content and links.

These two features are equally important and are closely entwined with one another. To get those important incoming links, to as many internal pages as possible, there needs to be powerful content to attract them. By adding content, you will draw links like a magnet.

Authority sites are not afraid to link exchange with others. The search engines will recognize the importance of your blog, if it has incoming links from other top ten search result websites and blogs. Those linking sites may indeed even be your business competitors.

While you might not want to advertise your competition’s business on your home page, a good resources or directory (avoid labelling any pages as links.xxx) page will suffice for the exchange.

Authority site linking procedures are beyond the scope of this article, however. What is of concern here is the addition of those all important extra content pages. Links will be turned naturally toward your blog, if you have strong content. Both links and content are needed to build an authority site.

Your blog needs freshly updated content to provide food for the hungry internet search engine spiders. As these constantly travelling computer robots find your site, they are hunting for new material to chew upon. That means new content.

The question then arises for the blogger, about where to find ideas for additional content pages, to feed those ravenous search engine spiders.

If you are having problems finding suitable ideas, to add fresh content to your site, you are certainly not alone. The problem of content creation has baffled many a blogger, and traditional website owner too.

A good way to start searching for fresh content ideas is to examine your own blog very carefully.

Look over every page and its most important keyword subject matter. You may see where some posts can be created by expanding upon some of the posts you already have printed.

For example, if you have a travel blog, you can provide articles on individual destination cities and countries. Each of those topics can be further subdivided into more posts of tourist attractions and accommodation in each location.

As your pages of informational posts multiply, so do your number of important keyword phrases. There are simply more ways that searchers can find and enter your specific blog.

Your competitors’ websites are also bountiful sources of additional content ideas. They may have entire sections of their websites devoted to topics, in your area of business, that you have not even considered. Because of that oversight, your competitors are gaining valuable new search engine traffic, in keywords that your blog does not include.

As you add new pages of content from expanding upon subject matter from your own blog, and from competitors’ sites, your number of archived post pages will increase. It is generally thought, by many search engine optimization professionals, that sites with a larger number of pages will generally rank higher in the search engine results.

While that is not a hard and fast rule, and many exceptions may be found, it is still a good idea to have more pages on your blog. If nothing else, each new page provides additional new keyword phrase entry points. That means more visitor traffic for you and your business.

If you have written any articles, for other publications or website where you have maintained the reprint rights and received permission, be certain to archive them as additional content. Post them to your blog, and provide credit to the previous hosting site or blog.

Make certain that the archived pages are properly title tagged and have good anchor text links from your site map and back to the home page. This may not be possible with some blogging systems, like Blogger, that do not allow for categories. Since the articles are already written, they can provide extra search engine content, at no extra work and no charge to you.

If you add photographs to your blog, they provide strong visitor oriented content. People like to look at pictures. Photos can often be enough to tip the balance, toward having a link pointed toward your site, especially if you are in a visually important industry like travel, clothing, or automobiles.

As always, be sure to mark all of photos with good search engine readable alt tags, to ensure their indexing. The search engines also include special photo indexes. You want to be included in them, as they will definitely help your blog status.

To create the important status of authority site for your most important keywords, you will need to increase both the size of your site, and the number of incoming links. The two are closely related, as one enhances the other.

To add fresh content pages to your blog, you will need to use every possible avenue available to you. Content can be self written, by you or your staff. It can also be provided by offering your blog to a guest blogger.

Grow your content to create an authority site from your blog. 

 

 

 



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Gardening today

I was out in the vegetable garden today.

I know you arrived here all prepared to learn more about the blogging experience.

Perhaps you were looking forward to the latest tips on search engine optimization.

Instead, I am telling you about pulling weeds.

Gardening isn't all about weeds, but instead about creating life. From the ground, mixed with a bit of rain, a few seeds turn into food for the table.

The tomatoes are forming some small fruit and they won't be long until they arrive on the table. Yes, the tomato is a fruit, and not a vegetable.

There will soon be cucumbers to slice, and potatoes to dig, as well. Even the pepper plants are getting into production mode. In our short and intense Canadian Prairie summer, the garden grows fast and furious.

Vegetables are no sooner planted, it seems, and they are almost ready for the table.

Today, I cut a head of fresh broccoli, and pulled some green onions for the dinner plate.

Many people turn up their noses at some vegetables, and considering the appearance of some of the canned abominations, I'm not surprised in the least. If you grew the veggie with your own hands, however, you will definitely enjoy them more.

Is there anything better than a carrot right out of the ground; or fresh from the garden salad ingredients?

Fresh produce from the home garden simply tastes better.

It tastes of love.


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Thursday, July 22, 2004

 

Blogs Mean Business in SEO Many Ways

You’ve probably seen them, and heard them discussed, all over the internet.

They are called blogs.

Short for weblogs, they are a phenomenon that is sweeping the online community. If you think they are all about navel gazing teenagers, and what the writer had for lunch, you haven’t been paying attention.

Blogs are much more than online journals.

Blogs mean business.

They also appear very highly placed on search engine results, and came through the Google "Florida" update with flying colors. Many blogs are sporting some very strong Google PageRanks as a result.

I’ll bet that caused you to sit up and take notice.

You might consider having your business become part of the blogging trend. You should think seriously about adding a business blog to your marketing program.

What can a business blog do for you?

A business blog will enable you to reach your current and prospective customers, in a new and personal way. As you write your blog entries (and for new blogs, daily postings are best to build a regular readership), you and your company will become more familiar to the general public.

There should be no shortage of material for you to write about in your postings.

Your article topics could include industry news, product information from a consumer standpoint, various "how-to’s" of using your products and selecting vendors, and regular updates about what is happening around your company. Linking to industry related news stories is another way to add additional content.

As you write new blog entries, people will feel they know you, and your business, on a more personal level. No longer just a faceless business entity, your business blog enables you to place a human face on the company

People generally prefer to purchase products and services from people they know. Thanks to your business blog, you already have that leg up on the competition.

Blogs and search engine optimization

From a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint, a blog is everything the search engines dreamed of in a website. Blogs have tons of fresh keyword rich content, and incoming links galore.

Bloggers (the people who write the blogs) update their weblogs on a very regular basis; often adding brand new posts every day. Because the content is so fresh, the internet spiders (the computer robots sent out by the search engines) crawl and index blog pages very frequently.

The search engines, including industry leader Google, devour fresh content. Weblogs deliver that tasty morsel by the plate full.

As your newly added content is indexed, into the search engine data bases, your blog will begin to appear on numerous web searches. Since your content is likely centered around your most targeted keywords, your blog will appear very highly in the search engine results.

It is not uncommon for blogs to appear in the top ten search results, for some very competitive keywords. As a result, more potential buyers, for your goods and services, will find you through your business blog.

Blogs attract lots of incoming links

A second aspect of blogs, that makes them ideally suited to search engines, is the blog’s high number of incoming links.

Bloggers are frequent and generous linkers; often obsessively so.

Bloggers link to other websites, numerous blog articles, and permanently to one another. Links to other blogs, are regularly added, without asking for a reciprocal link in return. If link exchanges have been a problem for your website in the past, you will be pleasantly surprised, by the linking practices of the blogging community.

The main concern, of most blog writers, is finding links to interesting articles and information of interest to their visitors. It’s not about chasing PageRank (Google’s measure of the importance of a web page based on the number and quality of incoming links), or even about search engine positioning. For most bloggers, those optimization concerns are merely a byproduct of their daily routine.

As a result of focussing the attention on the blog’s reading audience, the blog owner achieves the goals so diligently sought by many webmasters. By searching constantly for articles of interest to their visitors, bloggers create and retain very loyal readerships.

Concern for the needs and wants of the visitors is a strength of blogging. It’s simply a focus on the customer, done in a new and interesting way. Look after your customers needs, and your business will prosper. Bloggers seem to know that fact instinctively.

Because of the strong customer orientation of blogs, their incoming link totals are high. As a result, PageRanks for blogs are usually very strong. Many blog Pageranks were increased during the tumultuous "Florida" update. The heavy emphasis on fresh and interesting copywriting, boosted blogs to the top of many internet keyword searches as well.

Instead of suffering through the "Florida" update, most blogs prospered.

If you’ve never thought of adding a business blog to your internet presence, it’s time to reconsider that oversight.

Blogs mean business, in more ways than one. 

***Note***

This column first appeared as a special guest article in Jill Whelan's prestigious High Rankings Newsletter.
  



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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

 

Search engine optimization: Who needs it?

Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is often more popularly called, is a controversial topic in many internet circles.

There are supporters of search engine optimization, and there are people who believe SEO is some dreadful plot. They place it it the same conspiratorial basket, with concerns with flouride in drinking water, and alien experimentation on human subjects.

The truth, as in most things, is somewhere in the middle. It all depends.

SEO does indeed have some very dishonest practitioners, dispensing advice like a medicine show quack hands out sugar pills. Often the advice offered is at best worthless, and at worst so far against search engine guidelines, that your blog or website get banned from their listings.

Those unscrupulous techniques, for achieving high rankings, are usually very short lived. The search engines quickly discover the dishonest websites, and ban them from their search listing results.

I believe in only utilizing "best practices" for search engine optimization.

By that, I mean that I would never recommend that anyone use SEO "techniques", that violate the search engine webmaster guidelines. The leading search engine Google, has set out some very specific guidelines, about how to properly SEO your website.

Okay, you say. Fine.

What is search engine optimization anyway? And why should you care?

Search engine optimization, in the best sense of the term, is achieving high rankings in the search engines for you most important keyword searches. At the same time, and this is important, you maintain value for your blog visitors in the form of content.

You say you don't care if your blog is ranked highly. You say you care about writing what you feel is important, and you care about making your readers happy. That's fine.

In that case, I do have some very interesting news for you.

By being a blogger, you have already scored some built-in search engine optimization benefits. I'll bet you weren't even aware of that.

Blogs are updated, on a very regular basis, with fresh content. That is precisely what all search engines  like to see from any website.

Your daily posts are written about your favourite topics. Those same blog posts are packed with the search terms, called keywords, that are likely to find your blog. You may be interested to know that MSN Search and Yahoo Search value keywords very highly.

Your blog has many incoming links from other blogs. Many of those bloggers, with whom youshare links, write about the same topic as you. That gives you double link value. You get search engine credit for the incoming link, plus you get extra credit for your link partner sharing the same topic or theme as your blog. That theme aspect is very important to Google.

You may have a few links from some very important blogs in your subject area. Those major blogs may have already been accorded what Google calls Authority Site status. An Authoity Site is considered to be one of the most important sites for that particular topic. Having a link from and sending out a link to and Authority gives your blog extra link credit too.

You probably write titles for your posts. If those posts have keywords in them, you are likely to have them well indexed in keyword searches. Good titles will lead searchers to your blog too, as search engines rate them very highly as well.

All of those things, taken together, mean that you are a search engine optimizer and you didn't even know it.  As a blogger, you are already doing, what many website owners pay many thousands of dollars, to have an SEO professional do for them.

Blogging is very good SEO.

The next time someone tells you that SEO doesn't work. You can smile to yourself and nod, knowing that your blogging is a great search engine optimization technioque.

Better yet, it's all very well within the webmaster guidelines, provided by all of the search engines.

Blogging is considered "best practices" SEO, in the search engine optimization community. In fact, many of the better SEO professionals are now recommending blogging to their clients.

Did you know you are practicing good SEO, every time you post to your blog?

Now you do!

 



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Carnival of the Capitalists is up and running

The travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists has set up the event at The RFID Weblog.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists features some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include new technology, internet technology and marketing, legal issues, minimum wages, and the economy.

Like I always attempt to do, I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My entry post this week is entitled "Writing articles will enhance your blog".

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to:

capitalists -at- elhide.com

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Business Opportunities Weblog .

In the meantime, take a tour of this week's The RFID Weblog hosted Carnival of the Capitalists.

You won't want to miss reading any of the tremendous entries.

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Monday, July 19, 2004

 

Optimization for MSN Search

The giant Microsoft Corporation has made a renewed entry into the search engine fray with the launch of its new MSN search engine.
 
Microsoft has achieved rather limited success, up to this point, in its quest to compete with the dominant search engine Google. This new and revised MSN search vehicle may place Microsoft back in the race for the hearts and minds of the search public.

While many search engine optimization experts discount the relative importance of MSN Search, no one should ever forget the potential marketing power that the Microsoft Corporation can bring to the search engine business.
 
By bundling MSN Search into the home version of Windows XP and in the proposed Longhorn application, many new internet users will be searching via the MSN search engine option.

When developing your MSN Search optimization plan, consider placing heavy emphasis on using on page techniques. Like the Yahoo search engine algorithm, the MSN algorithm appears to favor on page optimization efforts.
 
On page content is truly king with MSN. The search engine algorithm examines your blog pages very carefully. The importance of keywords and keyword density, to MSN Search’s rankings, can not be stressed heavily enough. Keywords count for a major proportion of the MSN algorithm.

Other on page optimization techniques also score well with the MSN algorithm. Pay close attention to your choice of URLs, page titles, and blog description. All appear to be very important to achieving high search engine rankings with MSN.

As with most other search engine algorithms, including Google and Yahoo, you must pay close attention to your incoming link anchor text. Strong keyword rich anchor text provides a solid foundation for all search engine results. Taking care with your anchor text will pay off with all of the major search engines. 
 
With keywords being so vastly important to MSN, it’s essential to explore the many ways, that you can use judicious keyword placement techniques. The MSN algorithm rewards a heavier level of keyword density than does the Google search engine. .

In your written on page copy, you can make use of more frequent keyword placement than in Google. It is quite likely that MSN will reward up to triple the keyword density preferred by Google.
 
You have to be careful here, however, as you want to strike a balance between MSN and Yahoo, which elevate higher keyword density pages, and with the lower density levels preferred by Google. Fortunately, there are other ways to do well in MSN, without packing your page copy full of your most important keyword phrases.

 MSN likes keywords in your URL, but be careful not to overwork them. Judicious use of the most important search phrase, within your URL, could find real rewards from MSN’s algorithm.

It’s well known in the search engine community that Google’s algorithm gives only very minimal weight to meta tags. On the other hand, the Yahoo search engine seems to value them fairly well.
 
As with Yahoo, the MSN algorithm appears to place some solid weight on the use of meta tags. To take full advantage of meta tag use, be sure to have some unique meta tags for every page. Do not use the same meta tags for all of your web pages.

Be certain to have an accurate blog description in place. MSN appears to place importance on that factor. Be sure the meta description tags accurately reflect the content and are not simply keyword stuffing in disguise.
 
If all of your on page content, including copy, descriptions, post titles, and page headers match, your page will do well in MSN’s rankings. In other words, giving each page individual attention will pay off for you.

While the main focus of the MSN algorithm appears to be on page content, you shouldn’t forget to improve your off page content. Off page content includes mainly link anchor text for incoming links to your site. While not as link oriented as heavily as Google, MSN does stress some importance on properly created incoming links.

More important than the links to MSN, is the accompanying link anchor text. Make certain that the anchor text contains keyword phrases, that are theme related to the page, to which the link is pointed. By careful use of that page’s most important keywords, the receiving page gains in keyword usage, and even keyword density value.

MSN is a very content and keyword sensitive search engine. Your use of link anchor text should reflect that keyword preference. Because anchor text is the most difficult content factor for a webmaster to manipulate, the value of link text is high for all search engine algorithms. MSN is certainly no exception to that rule.

MSN Search formerly had an agreement with the Zeal/Looksmart internet directories to provide their results. While that formal agreement is no longer in place, MSN continues to maintain a less formal arrangement with the directories.
 
Instead of displaying the directory listings on a regular basis, MSN Search is able to utilize the directory listings at its discretion. In other words, the Zeal/Looksmart directory listings may be part of any search results; or they might not.

While that advantage has lessened, it has not disappeared entirely. There is still some solid benefit to being included in the Zeal/Looksmart directory.

Inclusion in the Zeal directory is free for non-profit websites and blogs, but requires some time effort for the site to become listed.

Optimization for the MSN search engine requires careful attention to both on page and off page factors.

On the page, MSN will reward the frequent use of your keywords. Be careful not to get too carried away, however, and risk reaching the level of spam.
 
MSN looks very closely at your web pages, so attention must be paid to your page titles, your meta tags, page descriptions, and keyword density. Even proper keyword usage in your page URLs are important points to consider.

Off page factors to consider are the use of keyword rich anchor text for your incoming links. MSN values link text very highly, as it is the least manipulable of the content factors.

Inclusion in the Zeal/Looksmart directories may have some value for your online business as well. Even if only for the link, and the potential boost in the search engine rankings, directory inclusion is worthy of consideration.

If you pay close attention to your keywords and content, MSN Search will reward your blog with strong search engine rankings. 

  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
 


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Saturday, July 17, 2004

 

Blogging the new Blogger

Blogger made a number of improvements to its control panel for posting.
 
I have been playing with some of the features.

I know. You say I need to get a life. Well...
 
I blog, therefore I...well...blog.
 
There is a change of text colours feature that seems interesting enough for those moments when crayons are a craving.
 
I can right justify the wording, into nice neat and tidy rows, for those days when only the straightest of ruler like efforts will suffice. As with most of the additional new goodies, they take a bit of getting into the Blogger mindset. Most of them require doing later, rather than at the same time.
 
It will block quote some quotes. I love redundancies like that one. It makes adding statements from other bloggers that much easier on the readers' eyes.
 
I'll let you know how Blogger's new features work for me or if I will have no option but to tear my hair out. The users of many of the other popular blogging systems have already had most of these options available. It's taken Blogger awhile to catch up to the competition.
 
Of course, I stuck with Blogger, simply for the challenge of the workarounds. Even then, I had to rely upon the generous assistance from Jeremy Wright of Ensight to help with my coding.
 
I have used the new Blogger toys in both Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 6. They don't work with Internet Explorer 5.
 
I checked!
 
Maybe some day, I'll upload a photo with the photo thingie.
 

 

 
 
 

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Take part in an MBA blogging survey

You can share your experiences as a blogger in general, and as a business blogger in particular by participating in an Master of Business Administration (MBA) survey on business blogging from Canada's University of New Brunswick.

I received the following forwarded e-mail from Rick Bruner of Business Blog Consulting.

The e-mail reads in part:

"My name is Matthew Lin, an MBA candidate at University of New Brunswick at Saint John, Canada. I am currently conducting a research on how weblogs are being used as business tools, and their particular implication for small and medium enterprises. I have designed a questionnaire in order to survey individuals who publish weblogs or can describe the reasoning behind their company’s weblog. The survey will be posted online for one month, starting next week. I am seeking your assistance to promote this survey to your readers, in hope of gathering a good cross-section of business weblogs. Please spread the word!"

Rick Bruner and I have both taken the survey to provide our assistance to this very worthwhile venture.

The information gained will be of assistance to businesses and business bloggers everywhere.

You can even request the final survey results. I did!

To complete the fully confidential survey, surf on over to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) survey on business blogging.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

 

My Smart Man interview on Lip-Sticking

Yvonne Divita, of Lip-Sticking, is one of the leading marketing bloggers writing on the internet today.

As a marketer, Yvonne has broken new ground, in the fast growing field of marketing online to women. Her insights into the many ways to make your website female friendly, and to market your products to women, are a must read for everyone.

Failure to understand how to market to women, can result in a loss of countless sales, for your online business. Yvonne offers practical and proven ways to prevent that problem from ever arising.

As a service to her her readers, Yvonne has instituted a regular interview series with various business and marketing bloggers. Each week she chooses either a "Smart Woman" or a "Smart Man" to answer some difficult but probing questions on blogging, business, and marketing.

I was given the distinct honour of being chosen to be interviewed for her Lip-Sticking "Smart Man" series.

In the interview, I discuss how I started blogging, getting high search engine rankings (SEO), and offering information freely for the benefit of others.

Following the e-mail interview, I was privileged to have Yvonne phone me. We discussed the same general topics, in a more indepth manner, via telephone.

If you haven't been reading the business and marketing advice offered by Yvonne Divita of Lip-Sticking, you have been missing a lot.

I would recommend reading Lip-Sticking on a daily basis.

I never miss a single day!


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Work overload and blogging

Did you ever have one of those days where you had so much work to do, by a certain date, that you felt you would never get it completed?

After that rather long and convoluted sentence (I like to write them once in awhile), perhaps bloggers should examine time management and overextending themselves.

Or not.

One of the joys of blogging is the feeling of accomplishment that you derive from writing. In fact, one of the major reasons given for starting a blog is to have the opportunity to write freely. That freedom can extend to writing a post about any topic you choose.

You don't have an impatient editor, who may know less than you do about the topic at hand, barking orders about how your masterpiece should unfold. You are writer and editor and publisher.

As a blogger, you get to wear all of the hats.

Unfortunately, other obligations in our lives don't always provide that level of choice and latitude. Instead, the work and writing assignments are often precisely that. Assignments.

One of the issues that arises with required writing is that of procrastination. Writing that article on the widget and how it grew just doesn't get your creative juices flowing. The other jobs in your life aren't much better options either.

Perhaps a little time management is needed.

Do the most important tasks first. It's always a relief to get those jobs completed. They are your bread and butter livelihood.

If a job isn't required, and is low priority, it is probably a good idea to reschedule it for a slower time in your life. As if.

In any case, no one will complain if you are forced by life's circumstances to skip a day or two of blogging. Simply go about your non-blogging life, and return to the page, when you are able to spare the time.

Be sure to take some time for yourself.

You have earned it.

And as a blogger, you deserve it!


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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

 

Global PR Blog Week a smash hit!

You've probably heard about it on many of the business, marketing, and public relations blogs that you visit on a regular basis.

It's Global PR Blog Week.

Featuring some of the leading business, public relations, and marketing bloggers on the internet, the event has attracted some tremendous articles.

The contributions cover a full range from public relations to corporate blogging.

Day One, Monday July 12: PR in the Age of Participatory Journalism

Day Two, Tuesday July 13: Corporate Blogging

Day Three, Wednesday July 14: Making PR Work: Creativity and Strategy

Day Four, Thursday July 15: Crisis Management

Day Five, Friday July 16: The State of the PR Profession

I was privileged to be a contributor to the Corporate Blogging day.

You are encouraged to surf on over to the Global PR Blog Week blog and add your thoughts and comments.

The various contributors have set up office hours where they can be reached via instant messenger for one on one discussions.

If you are interested in blogging for business, whether as a marketing or public relations vehicle, you would be well advised to read the great articles posted by the contributors.

It's certainly not every day that such an illustrious group of contributors is found in one blog.

I know I have learned more than I ever imagined from the many well written and informative posts.

Dont miss Global PR Blog Week.

You owe it to yourself and to your business.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

 

Carnival of the Capitalists up and running

The travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists has set up the event at The Outsourcing Weblog.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists features some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include emerging technology, internet technology, finance, taxation, health care, and the economy.

I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post entititled "Search engines: No need to submit" was included.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to:

capitalists -at- elhide.com

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at The RFID Weblog.

In the meantime, take a tour of this week's The Outsourcing Weblog hosted Carnival of the Capitalists.

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Writing articles will enhance your blog

Writing internet articles is a powerful way, to add visitor traffic to your blog. They provide tremendous personal and professional benefits as well.

Articles are in demand all over the internet. Many traditional websites want them for additional content, and will seek out the services of a good writer.

If you know your subject matter, you will have no shortage of takers for your writing efforts.

All you have to do is be on topic. In fact, if you want to write articles on almost any subject under the rainbow, all you have to do is contact several of the webmasters in your topic area. They will gladly place your articles prominently on their websites.

The great thing about the articles, is they are usually on subjects, that you write about all the time anyway. You don't need to do extra research, as you already have the knowledge required to a great job, right at your fingertips.

When a webmaster publishes your article on the website, be certain to get a live link back to your site. Most website owners will be more than happy to have you provide a brief biography of you, and information about your blog.

As you place a number of articles, on several websites, you will accomplish more than one goal.

You will obviously receive a few more visitors to your blog, as a result of your incoming link. The extra traffic will be from people who are already interested in your blog's subject matter.

You will establish yourself as an expert in your field, and other people will call upon your ideas and information. The recognition of others, who are interested in the same topics and site themes as yourself, could lead to some paying business in other ways.

The writing credits help to build a writing portfolio, that will serve you well, in the employment market. A series of published articles provides added power to your resume. In a highly competitive job market, the publication history could tip the balance in your favour.

Your blog will move higher in the search engine rankings. Google in particular, values theme and topic related incoming links. MSN Search and Yahoo also give high marks to incoming links, but to a slightly lesser degree than Google.

In any case, your blog will move higher in the search rankings for your most important keywords, as a result of those links. The end result of higher search engine placement is more visitor traffic for your blog.

Writing articles helps your blog in more ways than one.

It's time to add article writing to your list of accomplishments.

You and your blog will benefit greatly.


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Saturday, July 10, 2004

 

Collaborative blogging: Joining together

Most bloggers maintain their own blogs.

Whether the blog is a business blog, a political or legal blog, or a personal journal, the overwhelming majority are individual efforts.

That is one of the strengths of blogging. Many individual voices are utilizing their freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.

A new phenomenon has been added to the blogging scene.

It's the collaborative or group blog.

There have always been team and group blogs, from the very beginnings of blogging. More joint efforts are being added to the blogsposhere on a daily basis.

Australian blogger Darren Rowse, of Living Room has added a group blog to his growing list of blogging achievements.

His latest effort is the Athens Olympic Games Blog.

Darren invites bloggers to:

We’re looking for a limited number of contributing bloggers from around the globe who would like to contribute. In return for keeping an eye on your own local online news sources and posting them to the blog you’ll get a link in the side bar and a link on each post you submit back to your own blog.

To participate in the Athens Olympic Games Blog, simply:

E-mail Darren with your details – ie name, blog to be linked to, your country (we want to encourage people to focus on their own country as much as possible so we can be representative) and any interest you have in particular events. We’re looking for people who will contribute at least one post every day or two.

Darren Rowse can be reached at the following address:

darren -at- livingroom.org.au

Whether you get involved with Darren's Athens Olympic Games Blog or not, there are a growing number of group blogs out there for you to join.

Get into the collaborative blogging experience today.

Along with your own blog, you can be part of a blogging team.




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Search engines: No need to submit

Everyone wants their blog indexed by the major search engines. It’s a reasonable desire on the part of a blogger.

The most important search engines are Google, Yahoo Search, MSN Search, the new Amazon owned A9, AOL Search, Teoma, and Wisenut.

Without inclusion in the search engine listings, there is no chance of receiving any search related visitor traffic, for your most important keywords.

In fact, you will receive no search engine generated web traffic at all. For that reason, and many others, your blog must get indexed by the most important internet search engines.

You often hear people suggest, that you must either manually or electronically submit your website or blog, to the various search engines. Don’t listen to them. There is no need to submit your site to the search engines.

Ever.

The entire idea, of needing to submit a blog or website to the search engines, is simply a myth. A better idea is to let their spiders find and crawl your blog. They will index you.

The search engines make regular crawls of the internet. Their computer program robots, more popularly called spiders, are constantly crawling the world wide web searching for new websites. One of those sites will be yours.

All you need to provide for the spiders is an open path into your site. Once that pathway is opened, the little robot spiders will crawl your site.

All you need to do is make that visit, for the robot spiders, an easy and inviting one. The spiders will take care of the rest.

There is no good reason to submit to the search engines. Unlike internet directories, like the Open Directory Project (better known as DMOZ), he various free blog directories, or the Yahoo! Directory which require manual submissions, the search engines index sites without your ever submitting to them.

A website will be indexed, with as little as one link, from a site already indexed by the search engine. For example, if a blog that is included in the Google search engine links to your blog, the spiders will follow that link.

Once the spiders crawl your blog, it’s almost immediately part of the Google index. It’s that simple. Users of the Google Toolbar can also tell, they have been indexed, as their PageRank meter will turn from grey to white.

It is thought, by a number of search engine optimization professionals, that a site found by Google will rank higher than one that uses Google’s site submission process. There are also many people who believe, perhaps with some good evidence, that websites using Google’s submission page don’t get included by the search engine industry leader at all.

Other search engines, notably Teoma and Wisenut, are often difficult for some novice webmasters to even locate the submission page. Many search engines simply don’t have easily located free submission options. Of course, that is not always a bad thing, as search engine submissions, through their submission pages, are often very slow.

Their only method of inclusion, is often to have their spider crawl a link, from one of their indexed websites to your new site. While experienced web professionals usually have no difficulty in getting indexed, by all of the search engines, many novices find the process very difficult.

Once a blog is indexed by the search engines, it remains indexed. There is simply no need to keep submitting it. There is also a myth that each and every page of a site must be submitted separately for inclusion. That is simply not the case.

There is also no need to submit to the hundreds of minor search engines on the internet. Inclusion in the majors is usually enough for virtually all practical purposes.

The problem that arises then, for many new bloggers, is getting that first link from an already indexed blog or website. There are several good and proven techniques for getting a previously indexed link to your site.

One time proven method of getting a link, to your blog is to offer a link exchange to other bloggers, whose sites are already indexed. A friend or business associate is likely to swap links readily with you.

Out of a number of link exchange requests, you are certain to achieve at least one link into your blog. That is enough to get your site crawled by a spider.

Another technique for getting an incoming link, that also pays long term benefits, is submitting your site to an internet blog directory. There are many smaller directories that provide almost instant inclusion. Since the directories are often crawled on an almost daily basis, your site will be indexed in as little as one or two days.

Posting in message forums will get your site visited by a search engine spider. Many internet discussion forums allow for the use of a signature link back to your website. If they do, be certain to use one for your posts.

Like adding your site to a directory, joining a message forum can pay off with a link to your site getting you indexed now. It can also pay long term dividends by providing you with a solid reputation as an expert in your field. Don’t waste such a valuable opportunity foolishly by being an irresponsible poster.

Create top quality content for your blog. People will always link to a blog that has strong content that is useful and informative to their own visitors. By providing interesting and helpful poss, other website owners will link to your blog naturally. Those incoming links serve as natural entries for search engine spiders.

There is simply no need to submit your blog to the major search engines for inclusion. The search engine spiders will find your blog on their own.

There are many good ways to add those important incoming links, to serve as pathways for the spiders. Create an entry to your site and the spiders will crawl right in.

Let the search engine spiders find your blog. It’s the best way to be indexed by the search engines.






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Friday, July 09, 2004

 

Bloggers: Who are we anyway?

People often ask the question: Who and what are bloggers anyway?

I suppose the appropriate and slightly...okay...very flippant response would be that bloggers...well...blog.

Unfortunately, that answer doesn't fully answer the question.

Bloggers are indeed many different people doing and writing about many different things. With over three million active bloggers, there are really three million individual answers to that question.

Of course, that's a bit of a cop out too. By invoking everyone, the answer is no one. There has to be a better answer.

One thing all bloggers have in common is they write. Without writing, there is no blogging being created. Every post is written, with varying degrees of skill, by someone.

Writing is, however, only a tool. The purpose of writing, and of even the words themselves, is to communicate with others.

Bloggers wish to express their ideas, disseminate information, or even bare the deepest and most innermost aspects of their souls. There are blogs for all of these people.

Bloggers blog because they believe, in their hearts, that they have someting important to say to others. The blog provides the medium. The written words convey the message.

So after all of that, then, who and what are bloggers anyway?

Bloggers are believers in conveying thoughts and ideas in written form, to other people, on an individual basis.

It would be safe to say that bloggers are communicators of individual freedom of thought, speech, and the press. Along with that individual freedom is the right to agree or to disagree with others.

You might not always agree with the thoughts and ideas expressed by another blogger.

We should always, however, strive to defend their right to hold those views.

It's then your right, to use your freedom of expression, to change that blogger's opinions. Your blog is the vehicle to start that process of change.

Because of that exercise of their most basic freedom, bloggers are supporters of democracy in its purest sense.

It's therefore in everyone's best interest to defend the freedom to blog in their own individual way.



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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

 

Professional blogging in your future?

The always imaginative and creative Trudy Schuett of WOLves, and a multitude of other blogs, has decided to become a Professional Blogger.

As a career choice, blogging has yet to take off financially. That lack of hard cash is changing, however. Blogging will soon join other writing professions, and be rewarded monetarily.

More businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals including polticians, business leaders, and celebrities, and even government officials and departments are adding blogs to their communications and public relations efforts. As this phenomenon develops, opportunities for blogging professionals will begin to crop up overnight.

That means freelance, contract, and full time writing jobs for many bloggers.

It won't just mean writing opportunities for the biggest name bloggers either. While the best known bloggers will probably be the first to be skimmed off for other projects, that still leaves many lesser known bloggers to join the ranks of professional bloggers.

I expect the main objection to the professional blogger concept will be that the millions of bloggers will destroy the market. That supply number is misleading.

Not all of those millions of bloggers will be interested in writing blogs for other individuals and organizations. In fact, the number of blog writers applying for the new career will probably be very limited.

I am not concerned that supply will outstrip demand by a very large margin. As with all markets, there will be an eventual price equilibrium taking effect.

The rates for payment, to the new class of professional bloggers, will find a standard pricing range over time. As with any incomplete market information system, there is room for some over and underpayments as well. With that in mind, buyers and sellers of blogging services will have to do their pricing homework.

Even as a part time freelance project, professional blogging can add some handy ready cash to a blogger's pockets.

There are certain to be full time, as well as very part time and casual paid blogging positions.

As more businesses and higher profile individuals recognize the power of blogs for their public relations campaigns, more blogs will appear.

Today's individual bloggers may become tomorrow's well paid Professional Bloggers.

There are definitely some much worse employment options available than becoming a paid blogger. In the case of blogging, it's a matter of doing something you love, and getting paid to do it.

That sounds like a great idea to me.

As with most ideas blogging related, I expect Trudy Schuett to be leading the way.





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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

 

Carnival of the Capitalists is off and running

That weekly extravaganza of links to great blogging ideas, known far and wide as Carnival of the Capitalists, is open for business. It can be found at Peter Caputa's always interesting pc4media.

Peter's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists features some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Topics for discussion include government and business, blogging for business, technology news, and a link to a weblog movie.

There are a few new contributors joining the many familiar regulars this week, as the Carnival continues to grow in stature.

I have an entry this week as well.

Peter has included my post called "Google Backlink and PageRank Fever".

I would strongly recommend to everyone who blogs about business, law, technology, the economy, and government and business that they consider sending a post to Carnival of the Capitalists for inclusion.

As a promotional idea for your blog, Carnival of the Capitalists is very hard to beat. In fact, all of the various internet Carnivals provide a wider audience for your blog. You do want more visitors, don't you?

It's really easy to participate in an upcoming Carnival of the Capitalists. All you have to do is select a post, of which you are especially proud, and e-mail it to:

capitalists -at- elhide.com

Bloggers are encouraged to consider hosting a future Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

Being a Carnival of the Capitalists host really puts your blog on the blogoshere map. To become a host, contact Jay Solo at:

jaysolo -at- elhide.com

He will provide you with all of the details for hosting and upcoming event. I certainly enjoyed my own hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be found at The Outsourcing Weblog.

In the meantime, travel on over to Peter Caputa's pc4media hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

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Giving bloggers the business

Business blog writing leads to more business thinking.

At least, that's the case with me.

I wrote a post the other day about how bloggers can form business alliances and create new business ventures.

Being in an entrepreneurial state of mind most of the time, I was thinking about what sorts of businesses that blogging friends and associates could form. The opportunities, especially in services to business management, are immense.

Small startup businesses routinely require outsourced expertise. That's where a blogging team company can step right in and be of service. The blogging community has expertise in areas ranging from writing to public relations to marketing to search engine optimization. These are often the needs most in demand for smaller businesses.

Larger corporations are heavily outsourcing their jobs as well. Much of that work can be done very well by an alliance of bloggers. Working as a group, the blogging service company can take over the roles that corporations formerly performed in house. Blogging associates will be able to perform the jobs, on a contract basis, more cheaply and efficiently in many cases.

What ever the business area, a group of bloggers can do the job. By maintaining contact via telephone, instant messenger, e-mail, and even virtual meetings, the bloggers can maintain close contact with one another on a day to day basis. Being apart geographically is not the barrier it once was prior to the modern telecommunications revolution.

By pooling their talents and skills, a group of bloggers will be able to form a very viable and profitable internet based company. There are really no limits to what can be achieved.

Many bloggers are freelancing or facing limited employment options in the traditional job market. By forming business alliances with other bloggers, members of the blogosphere can create their own jobs.

A marketing blogger joins with a public relations blogger and a financial blogger and a business is formed. Blend in a customer service expert and a copywriter, and just like that, a sales and marketing company is formed.

Search engine optimization bloggers can join with internet marketers and computer programmers and website developers to form full service website companies.

Product based companies, can add marketers and an entire distribution system, from joining with other talented bloggers as well.

All that is required is to get together with other bloggers, and discuss the possibilities. The talks may lead nowhere, or they may lead in directions no one imagined at the outset.

No one really knows for sure until they open discussion channels with other members of the blogging community. Start out with bloggers who you know well, and who you feel you can trust. After all, trust is by far the most important element in a business partnership and alliance.

Get the details in writing so everyone fully understands their rights and responsibilities.

The spirit of entrepreneurship and independence will prevail.

All we need to do now is get those blogger formed businesses underway.

Considering the talent in the blogging community, the sky is the limit, as far as ideas are concerned.

Create some blogging business alliances today.

You may be starting a brand new business career.

All because of your blog!

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

 

Happy Independence Day!

Happy July Fourth to all of my American readers and friends.

Thanks for stopping by and supporting my daily business blog.

Now, get thee out to a barbeque, or away to the beach, and enjoy America's birthday party!

Don't miss a single moment of those great fireworks displays!

Spend some time with family and friends.

What could be better than that?

Happy Independence Day!

From:

Blog Business World

Wayne's Derby World

Codswallop and Flapdoodle


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Blogging the controversies

Controversies and criticisms.

They are part and parcel with blogging. Every day, we place a post out there on the great internet sea, for all to read.

Not everyone will agree with what we write. We don't expect them to take everything we publish as the gospel.

I wrote a blog post the other day, on my daily roller derby blog called Wayne's Derby World, that created a flurry of e-mail and even some message board attacks.

While I usually just ignore that sort of thing, as I'm sure all of you do as well, this time it was different. I know my critics and who they are, for one thing.

For another, they are trying to stifle my freedom of speech.

It was stated to me, in no uncertain terms, that I was not to quote anyone, whether a blogger or not, who I do not know personally. That is, of course, entirely ludicrous.

That criticism is despite giving full credit and linkage to the source. As we know, that is standard blogging procedure and good blogging etiquette. As it stands, I would have not received any nasty e-mails or message board trolls, had I failed in that proper display of good blogging manners.

That brings us to an issue that will arise for many of you over time. Many non-bloggers will not understand the rules of blogging. We have to tell them what is involved in good blogging etiquette.

We have to let people know who we can quote, how we can do it, and why. Should we fail to do so, we will find ourselves receiving much unwarranted criticism, and a lack of respect for our writing efforts.

What follows is the complete, exact, and unedited post response to my critics. It is precisely as it appears on my Wayne's Derby World blog.

Here it is, as is:

________________________________

Blogging etiquette 101

Warning: Today's roller derby column may contain uncomfortable issues for many readers.

Roller derby seems to thrive on controversy and division.

There has been some controversy over my recent column, where I quote Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

I have received e-mails on the quotation, and have seen message board posts on the same matter.

I quoted Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), simply because he holds the same opinion that I do regarding investors.

I am not seeking his approval. I don't know what he thinks about other issues, or if he knows me from Adam.

All Mark Cuban and I have in common, is we both write sports and business related blogs.

Nothing else.

Those who say they know the man personally, seem to care that I don't know Mark Cuban personally.

Big whoop. I don't care, and I seriously doubt if he does either.

Mark Cuban is not a personal hero of mine. I never watch basketball. I was merely pointing out a business concept, where I was not the only person saying it.

I guess I can't hold the same opinions as he does on any topic because I don't know him.

I never met the late William Shakespeare, and neither has any other of the other six billion plus people alive today. That doesn't mean we can't quote his plays. Talk about illogical!

I guess that is not acceptable to those who make a point of claiming to know Mark Cuban personally. Well, good for you.

You can talk personalities.

I am talking business.

What I was discussing was the lack of value that investors and venture capitalists hold for startup roller derby leagues.

In an earlier column on the topic of investors, I quoted management and entrepreneurial consultant and professor Jeff Cornwall, of The Entrepreneurial Mind blog, who shares my opinion regarding venture capitalist and funding.

I also quoted, in that same column, management consultant and first class business blogger Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends who provides ample evidence that investors and venture capitalists are not going to save roller derby; or any other business for that matter.

I happen to know both Jeff Cornwall and Anita Campbell personally. They have both quoted my business opinions, from my flagship Blog Business World blog, on numerous occasions.

They share mine, and also it seems, Mark Cuban's opinion on investors and venture capitalists for startup businesses. That is the sum total of the issue.

Maybe my critics will write to Jeff Cornwall and Anita Campbell, and find fault with them, for sharing ideas held by Mark Cuban!

Let me say this.

In blogging, it is considered proper blogging etiquette, to link to and give full credit to any other blogger's ideas.

Note that I have done that; to a fault even. It's not "name dropping". It's giving full credit to a source.

Obviously, that simple and universally known and accepted fact, within the blogging community, was lost on my critics.

I fully expect to be blasted by my critics for this column.

I don't really care.

I write this daily column to support the sport of roller derby.

I am not doing this to get rich, or famous, or any of those things.

I care about the game, and I want to see it become a mainstream success once again. If I tramp on a few tender toes to do it, well, I guess it has to be that way.

I don't expect everyone to agree with what I write. That is not my intention. My goal is to help the sport, and occasionally, that will upset a few people.

Well, too bad.

Roller derby has needed to be shaken up.

A lot!

If it were not for kind words I receive for maintaining this daily column, from skaters, fans, referees, league owners and management, I might have stopped writing long ago.

It's for the people who truly care about the sport of roller derby, that I write these daily columns.

Thank you for reading and for your support.











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Saturday, July 03, 2004

 

Blogging the writers

Vikk Simmons, at the always interesting and very well written Down The Writer's Path, has just concluded a seven part interview with writer, speaker, and publisher Kimberly Morris.

From the very first installment, Kimberly Morris provides practical advice for both writers and publishers.

As an author of more than 50 books, Kimberly has been deeply involved in the industry as a writer and publisher. Her advice to writers, and that includes bloggers, is to take every opportunity to write that's offered.

From Kimberly Morris's interview:

My advice for writers who are interested in writing as a business is to develop your technique. This will give you the confidence to say YES to every single opportunity. When somebody offers you work – TAKE IT! Don’t choke. Don’t get worried that you can’t do it because you haven’t done it before.

Vikk Simmons takes the time to ask Kimberly some good questions, including discussing trends in the publishing industry, marketing and publicity, and learning writing techniques.

Don't miss this interesting and informative interview series, between two very successful writers.

Get that keyboard tapping over to Down The Writer's Path.






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Friday, July 02, 2004

 

Blogging friends can form business alliances

If you're like most bloggers, you have made some new friends.

As you write your posts, and receive feedback through comments and e-mails, you get to know other bloggers. Often, you become good friends with other bloggers.

Occasionally, bloggers become business associates and develop partnerships and joint ventures. Since friendships tend to emerge with people who share common interests, it's to be expected that some business arrangements can also develop.

Many business bloggers have similar business goals. Because of that fact, business relationships are easily formed, to the benefit of all concerned.

Every blogger brings slightly different business skills to the table.

Some bloggers have their strenght in marketing, while others are oriented toward public relations, or perhaps customer service. Because blogging is internet based, some bloggers have strong computer programming skills, while others have expertise with search engine marketing and search engine optimization.

One thing that most business bloggers have in common is a love and a talent for writing interesting and informative copy. The regular writing of blog posts sharpens a person's expressive skills, often beyond any level they had previously achieved. As you write more, you write better.

Very soon, we'll see bloggers hosting joint seminars, forming multi-person internet businesses, and offering different business services under the same general business umbrella.

As friendships and business arrangements form between one or more bloggers, the potential for some very profitable business is created.

Talk to your blogger friends.

Discuss possible joint business ventures, often created with little or no money, as they will be service related. The business capital is in the form of the bloggers talent and expertise.

I see a future where many blogging friends form large numbers of blog initiated business alliances.

Your future business partners and collegues may already be waiting for you, in your e-mail address book, and on your blogroll.

All it takes is a little imagination and a whole lot of talent.

Fortunately, bloggers excel in those areas.

Form some blogging friends business alliances today!


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