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Blog Business World

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

Friday, September 30, 2005

 

Rock band promotion: Blogs as viral marketing

Rock band promotion and blogging are a definite hit.

My good friend Heather Burke of West Coast Rockers is uniting rock music and blogs in a very successful way.

As part of a promotions and publicity company for music acts, Heather recognizes that the target music audience consists of many bloggers and blog readers. As a result, the company is stepping up its blogging efforts. One place to start is making certain that all of the bands are bloggers.

Already using a blog on MySpace as a marketing tool, West Coast Rockers sets up a MySpace blog for each of its client bands.

What attracted Heather Burke to emphasising blogging as a promotional and marketing tool for bands was the interaction with the fans and the musicians. A blog was seen as the natural means for making those important and lasting connections.

Heather says, "I feel that our MySpace blog is a great way to comunicate with our bands as well as our fans."

Blogging builds word of mouth advertsing and grassroots support for up and coming music acts. Along with enhancing CD and concert ticket sales, blogging turns contests and other promotions into viral marketing success stories. The easy updating of the blog makes concert dates and other announcements simple and effective.

With the growing popularity of blogs among music fans, it was only a matter of time before blogs became a standard marketing and promotional tool for bands. Heather Burke of West Coast Rockers is already playing the blogging tune to a very receptive audience.

For blogging musicians everywhere, this is music to their ears.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

 

Carnival of the Vanities at Expatriots United




The 158th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities, moves to the political blog known as Expatriots United.

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, culture, comedy, and sports.

I have an entry in this edition of Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My entry is titled "Blog topic ideas: Staying inspired" where I discuss how you can keep inspired and create exciting new topic ideas, to keep your blog posts fresh and interesting, for your readers.

To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.

Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the host of the week.

That's what I usually do.

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at the highly eclectic blog known as Technogypsy.

In the meantime, head on over to the Expatriots United hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

Lifelong learning: A posting series

Blog posting series.

My good friend Rosa Say of the wonderful Talking Story blog has developed the concept of blog posting series to a fine art. Not only does Rosa feature her own thoughts on a specific topic for each month, but she has guest bloggers contribute their ideas on the subject as well.

It's often stated that blogging series are great builders of blog visitor traffic readerships. That is true of course, as a well planned, developed, and marketed poting series will result in a jump in the blog's visitor traffic numbers.

What is often neglected in the discussion is the value of the posts themselves. The information and knowledge contained in the series is what draws the readers. This fact is not lost on Rosa Say, who values high quality postings above mere traffic reports.

This month's special blogging series at Talking Story is all about lifelong learning. As we all know, and some of us painfully so, we are learning and discovering new information and ideas each and every day of our lives. Not only is that knowledge about external concepts but very often about ourselves as well.

As you read the many powerful personal posts in the Talking Story lifelong learning series, you will inderstand the importance of gaining new knowledge of the world around us and the one within.

I have the privilege of a guest post in the Talking Story series as well. My essay is entitled "Lifelong Learning: Stop The Cliches" where I take some conventional wisdom and turn it on its head.

Be sure to click on over to the Talking Story lifelong learning series, and continue your journey to knowledge and wisdom that lasts a lifetime.

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Carnival of the Capitalists at AnyLetter



This week sees a substitute hosting approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes an unscheduled visit to Andrew Hughes' technology and economics blog known as AnyLetter.

Our thanks to Andrew who is filling in as host at the last moment. His efforts to keep the Carnival rolling are greatly appreciated.

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

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from AnyLetter, there are many discussions of technology, eclectic ideas, and economics.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

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

My post is titled "Google Hub Sites: A blog goal" where I discuss how you can turn your blog into the Google favoured status of hub site, based on links into and out of your blog.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.

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

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

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!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at J.D.'s well known business blog known as Drakeview.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the AnyLetter hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer you exonomical technology ideas. (groan)

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

 

Free teleseminar: Conversations with experts - Jerrold Jenkins







Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.

Books are Marketing Tools

Wednesday, September 28, 2005, 8:30 p.m. ET

Guest Expert: Jerrold Jenkins, Chairman and CEO, Jenkins Group, Inc.

Once upon a time books were the primary source for sharing and storing information. Valued for their ability to entertain, educate, inspire and persuade, books were considered timeless references for an ever-changing society. Though times have changed, books continue to hold intrinsic values and much more.

Today, books are a key marketing tool that reaches targeted groups of people with information relevant to their needs, interests, and lifestyles. Leading marketers are turning to books as a unique and enduring medium to deliver messages in a way that communicates value and brand relevance.

In this Conversation, learn how publishing a book can creating branding opportunities, customer loyalty, consumer education and product sales. Learn how book marketing creates publicity and credibility for you.

Jerrold Jenkins founded Jenkins Group in 1988 as Publisher's Design Service and Publisher's Distribution Service. In 1994, he sold his interest in Publisher's Distribution Service, retaining his interest and position as owner and president of Publisher's Design Service. In 1995, the corporate name became Jenkins Group, Inc. adding new staff and purchasing SmallPress magazine, now known as Independent Publisher Online.

He also began two publishing imprints, Rhodes and Easton--under which he co-authored and published Publish to Win! and Inside the Bestsellers -- and Sage Creek Press. It was the work with these imprints that gave rise to Custom Book Publishing. Much of his time today is dedicated to working with corporate and special markets clients. Jerry continues to work as a consultant to many publishers and speaks throughout the country on the art of independent publishing and the marketing opportunities that abound. It has been this work that has shaped the company for the future.

To meet the needs of the many publishers he has spoken with, Mr. Jenkins created the Special Markets Division, which has led to affordable services for any publisher. A graduate of Alma College, Jenkins worked as a financial and investment management group account executive, prior to his publishing career.

Registration for this special conversation with Jerrold Jenkins:

http://www.ConversationsWithExperts.com

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

 

Blog message boards: A blog traffic builder

Everyone is searching for ways to promote and market their blogs. I’m sure you are no exception.

Simply building a blog, and placing out there on the internet, doesn’t guarantee success in internet marketing. In fact, by failing to publicize and market your blog or any other website, it is almost certainly doomed to failure.

The old idea of “if you build it, they will come” might work for a movie script writer. It won’t likely work in the real world. You need to find simple, low cost ways to promote your blog to potential readers. For a business blog writer, those readers are also potential customers and clients.

One proven technique, that is well known and practiced by the internet marketing pros, is posting on internet message boards and forums. By posting on the message forums, savvy marketing people gain visitors, establish themselves as experts in their field, and multiply their success many times over. You can too.

All you have to do, is start to think like a marketing professional. The internet discussion boards, and even some of their other members, will do much of the marketing on your behalf.

Internet message and discussion forums are everywhere. Their many members discuss topics ranging from baseball to photography to crafts to search engine optimization. Whatever your business or hobby, there are numerous internet message forums awaiting your membership.

There are also some very good and active blog specific message boards. You will want to make a point of joining and participating on them.

Blogger Talk

Blogger Forum

Forum4Bloggers

Yahoo Blogging Community Free membership required

About.com Weblog Forum

To join most message boards, you will have to register as a member. The membership process usually requires you to provide a user name. You may use your real name, or if you prefer, you can create a fictional pen name, called a “handle”. You will be required to provide a valid e-mail address for communications.

Some forums require some additional personal information, to protect the message board, from those who might wish to destroy their online community. Your information is almost universally protected by a password. Once you have that information in place, and had your membership approved and confirmed, you are almost ready to post.

You are not quite ready yet, however. You still have a few things to do, in order to have your message board postings help market and promote your business and your blog.

In order to gain new visitor traffic, develop a solid reputation, and gain search engine optimization benefits, you must create what is known as a signature file, or “sig line”. Not all forums allow one, so be sure to check in advance of creation.

What a signature file does, is create a live link back to your website, from the message forum itself. That link into your website is very important.

The signature file for your link should not simply be your website’s URL. If at all possible, avoid that type of signature as it doesn’t describe your business. It also provides less than the desired level of search engine optimization. Using your blog title is better, but still is not what you want to use.

Use a your targeted keyword phrase as your signature. If you can use the keywords, right in the live link, that is the best possible signature. It provides a keyword inbound link to your website. Note, however, not all forum links have search engine benefits, as they are sent through redirects. The search engines themselves may not be giving them any weight any longer either. Use signature file keywords with that possibility in mind.

Many message forums permit the use of additional descriptions, brief offers to visitors, phone numbers, and even physical and e-mail addresses. Take advantage of these free promotional vehicles.

By targeting your most important keyword phrases, you accomplish several important goals at one time. You successfully describe your blog or business, and possibly what your blog offers for anyone clicking on the link.

Armed with a message board membership and a signature file, you are now ready to begin posting on the forum. When you post, you want to be polite. Ask good questions seeking any information that you require. There are no foolish questions. Everyone was a first time poster at some point, so don’t be shy.

If you are able to answer other members’ questions, feel free to do so. By providing good informative answers that seek to help others, you will develop a reputation as being an expert in your field. That will go far in enhancing your business reputation as well.

As you develop a reputation for providing informative and helpful postings, your opinions and posts will almost always be read by other members. Since the members of the message board are also interested in the same subjects as you, they are all potential readers for your blog. Their families, friends, and business associates are, by extension, also your potential blog readers.

By becoming well known to the board membership, your reputation and that of your business will grow. People usually prefer to do business with people whom they know. That would be you, if you have been writing good thoughtful and informative posts.

They will click on your signature line and check out your blog, your business, your products, and your services. Many will become customers and some will even recommend you to others as well.

Most blog message forums are search engine spider friendly. It is important to note, however, that not all message boards are crawled regularly by search engine robots; but most are. Make certain that you check the search engine friendliness of the board prior to joining.

As you post on a regular basis, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry, you will find a number of other members linking their site to yours.

These natural links are a tremendous boost to both your site’s Google PageRank and to your search engine placements for your keywords. Remember those keywords with little SEO value? Now they can have some real potent effect in natural links from other blogs and websites/

The potential for additional natural incoming links, makes posting on a message boards a powerful technique, for increasing your backlink total. You will also find theme related blog owners who will want to engage in traditional link swaps as well. These exchanged links are still helpful to your blog. They are especially beneficial if they are from sites that are theme related to your own blog topics.

Seeking out a number of message boards, related to your area of interest, is a powerful way to market your blog.

Your marketing efforts will be greatly enhanced through your participation, as an active contributor, to your various discussion boards. Members of those forums will see you as an expert in your field, making it much more likely that they will become your customers and clients in the future.

Join those internet message boards today and start posting your way to success.

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Posting ideas: Past posts to present posts

Post ideas often present a major challenge to many new and experienced bloggers. It always seems like the number of ideas for postings is limited and new topics are often elusive at best.

I discussed the need for inspiration in yesterday's posting. Many bloggers wrote very favourable comments, on the theme of posting ideas, and what gets you inspired to write on a regular basis. It appears that almost every blogger experiences that feeling of scraping the bottom of the topic barrel from time to time.

Even me. I just turn the lack of things to write about into a posting idea. Talk about scavenging or what!

One area of very fertile blog posting ideas is within your own blog archives. As you know, once a post scrolls off the home page, it enters into the dark and rarely explored realm of posts past. Like decorations still up from the holiday just past, previous posts often look forlorn and irrelevant to your thoughts of today.

Keep in mind that not all posting ideas are topical to any one particular time and place. Many previous posts have thoughts and concepts that can be reworked into brand new posts. I'm not talking about outright reposting a previous column as if it were a fresh one. What I am suggesting is taking an older idea and updating it, or giving it a follow up treatment. After all, your reading audience often wants to know how an intriguing older situation turned out for everyone involved.

By taking a tour of your own blog archives, you will discover a wealth of posting ideas that had simply slipped your mind. Just because you wrote about a topic in the past doesn't preclude it from being discussed again. In fact, if it's a follow up column, to a previously written item, link back to that post. The link to the past posting enables your readers to discover the background to the current post.

Not only does following up on previous writing provide blog continuity, but you gain an important internal link to aid your blog's SEO efforts. The inter-linked posts might rank higher in the search engines as a result. Most new readers arrive from searches or links from other blogs or websites. This is a golden opportunity to gain some search engine traffic with little effort. I know you like that thought.

Being a newer blog is not a problem either. Older posts can be turned into a series on a similar topic and theme. After all, not everyone has read your brand new blog. You may as well give the new visitors the appearance of long term stability with your continuing and indepth discussion of a particular issue. It will keep them coming back for more.

Look to past posts for great posts for the present.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

 

Blog topic ideas: Staying inspired

Blogs require constant updates. That means writing what we hope are regular interesting and infomative posts. All of that thinking and writing 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 of mainly 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. To keep up your interest and that of your readers, regular posts must keep appearing on your blog. Unfortunately, magical elves rarely appear to write the words. That is always your task at hand.

Failing that, and your blog will join those millions that have already fallen by the wayside. As you know, along with the record number of new blog that begin on a daily basis, an almost equal number of blogs disappear. Their ideas, goals, and inspiration are gone.

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. Your RSS feeds will also provide the number of subscribers who read your blog via their feed reader. Your reading public often anxiously awaits your next post. You hope, anyway.

What inspires you to write your blog posts is always an individual thing. I write to offer advice to others, and to help other businesses and bloggers achieve their personal and business goals. I could also add that I like to write for its own sake, but that sounds a bit too canned. I also write to enhance my own SEO and online marketing businesses. That is when I'm feeling a slight bit more practical.

I hope you have found your own personal blogging inspiration.

If you have, let me know what keeps you inspired to write a blog post on an almost daily basis.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Carnival of the Vanities at The Skwib




The 157th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities, moves to Mark Rayner's eclectic blog known as The Skwib.

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, culture, comedy, and sports.

I have an entry in this edition of Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My entry is titled "Website and blog visitor traffic: Finding offline sources" where I discuss some old school ideas for getting more visitor traffic to your blog or online business website.

To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.

Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the host of the week.

That's what I usually do.

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at the political blog known as Expatriots United.

In the meantime, head on over to the The Skwib hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Global PR Blog Week 2.0 goes live

Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is live and features a veritable who's who of public relations bloggers. The event runs from September 19 to September 23, 2005. That's all this week in case your calendar is hiding on you.

Each particpant has entered at least one article relating in some way to the public relations profession, online communications including wikis and podcasting, and blogging in general.

The event is described officially this way:

The Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is an online event that will engage public relations, marketing and business professionals from around the globe in a discussion about how new communications technologies are changing public relations and business communication.

The event will be held online, on this weblog, from September 19 to September 23, 2005.

During this year's five-day forum, participants from Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States will publish 70 case studies, articles and podcast interviews on new communications technologies.

The event is free and open to everybody — for asking questions, making comments and participating in the discussion through the event's weblog.

The event's program

The list of authors

The planning of Global PR Blog Week was done mostly on the internet, by using a public Yahoo! Groups discussions list, and the NewPR Wiki, a collaboration space for professionals interested in the practice of public relations.

The first edition of Global PR Blog Week 1.0 was held in July 2004. During one week, 35 practioners published more than 60 articles and interviews on the impact of personal publishing on Public Relations. The archives of the event are available online.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jeremy Pepper - 480.467.4457, jeremy@poppr.com
John Cass - 781.899.4050/ ext. 210, john@backbonemedia.com.

Press releases on PR Newswire:

September 12, 2005: PR Professionals and Blogging Experts Team to Participate in the Second Annual Global PR Blog Week

September 20, 2005: PR Professionals and Blogging Experts Host Second Annual Global PR Blog Week


I have an entry on blog SEO for your reading enjoyment. It's called "Blog SEO: Beyond Counting Links" where I provide some handy advice for boosting your blog ever higher in the search engine rankings.

All of the participating public relations bloggers invite your comments on their entries. The articles presented are well written and thought provoking and easily well worth your time to read them all. Or at least most of them.

Be sure to drop by Global PR Blog Week 2.0 and read some of the very best in public relations blogging.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Charity auction for Hurricane Katrina relief

A charity auction on eBay with proceeds going to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina awaits your bids.

Up for auction are autographed photographs of stars of television, movies, and music. Many other valuable items including printers are entered as well.

My good friend Susan Getgood of Marketing Roadmaps has all the details on how you can get involved in the bidding process.

Susan is also running her blog charity auction postings as an experiment in blog viral marketing. Since the blogging community is one of the most powerful ways to spread the word in a low tech word of mouth way, Susan is on the right track. Viral marketing works.

In the meantime, check out Susan's post on the auction, and get your bids entered today, and help those who suffered from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.

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Carnival of the Capitalists at WILLisms



This week sees a creative thinking approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Will Franklin's eclectic and markets blog known as WILLisms.

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

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from WILLisms there are many discussions of business, markets, eclectic ideas, and marketing.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.

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

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

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!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at the group business and technology blog known as The CIO Weblog.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the WILLisms hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer you some marketable ideas. (groan)

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

 

Free teleseminar: Conversations with experts - Suzanne Falter-Barns







Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.


What You Need to Attract National Publicity & Major Publishers – The Inside Scoop

Wednesday, September 21, 2005, 8:30 p.m. ET

Guest: Suzanne Falter-Barns, Get Known Now

These days, if you want to book national TV, get quoted in magazines, and make megabucks on major-publisher book deals … or even if simply attract more business ... you need platform. That’s media-speak for your position in the marketplace, and how many people know about you.

Join best selling author Suzanne Falter-Barns as she takes you on a platform tour of the Web, and explains the inside scoop on what you really need to get known now. (To get the most out of this class, you’ll want to have ready access to the Net during the call.)

You’ll learn
- What all branded websites must have
- The key to creating a successful brand for yourself
- What media and publishers expect to see on your site
- A free Web tool that gives you major inside information
- Why blogs matter to the media
- How to get started building platform right now

For nearly twenty years, Suzanne Falter-Barns was a copywriter, marketing consultant and freelance writer in New York. Her articles and essays have appeared in More, Fitness, Self, The New York Times, Prevention and Writer’s Digest. Her consulting clients have included Hearst, Conde Nast, and The New York Times Company.

Suzanne is also the author of two self help books, including How Much Joy Can You Stand?, a One Spirit Book Club Main Selection featured in more than 100 radio and TV shows. Suzanne’s website, Get Known Now teaches anyone how to build platform effectively and establish themselves as a recognized expert in their field.

Registration for this special conversation with Suzanne Falter-Barns:

http://www.ConversationsWithExperts.com

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Google Hub Sites: A blog goal

Turn your blog into a high powered Google Hub Site.

Building your blog into what is called a Hub Site is not something that occurs to many bloggers. Achieving Hub Site status will propel your site to the top of the Google search engine rankings. A hub site is based on having large numbers of incoming and outgoing links.

To start on the road to constructing a hub, it’s best to start thinking in terms of linking. Forgetting any preconceived ideas, about gain and loss of Google PageRank (Google's numerical measure of the relative importance of a site on the internet), is a good place to begin.

Hub sites are based almost exclusively on their linking factors. As we will see, the linking out from your blog hub site is equally as important as adding incoming links.

A hub should be seen as almost as an internet train station, with incoming and outgoing tracks. Those link tracks can lead just as easily to a direct competitor to your business, as to a web page with a similar theme.

In many ways, the internet directories, like the Open Directory Project or the Yahoo! Directory, are almost the ultimate hub sites. Both feature numerous incoming and outgoing links making them terminal stations and hub sites.

You should seriously consider turning your existing blog into a hub site. The additional boost to your Google search ranking will be enormous. Your blog will rise much higher in the search rankings than other related and similarly themed sites and blogs. They will lack your blog’s abundance of incoming and outgoing thematic links.

Your blog’s staying power, through possible algorithm changes, should be infinitely stronger as well. Once the hub status is accorded to your blog by Google, the accompanying high search rankings are less likely to be removed. That is the power and the attraction of achieving hub site status.

To be a hub you have to think links.

Becoming a hub site is first and foremost about linking. That link thought must extend beyond the ordinary thoughts of simply collecting inbound links. The hub site mode of thought extends much farther. It includes linking out to a huge number of theme related sites as well.

For many webmasters, the idea of linking out to large numbers of sites is often the opposite of their ingrained ways of thinking about links. When most people think in terms of linking, they have visions of an unlimited number of incoming one way links, pouring traffic and Google PageRank into their sites. Fortunately, that's not a problem for bloggers, for whom linking out to interesting and informative blogs and websites is a part of maintaining a blog.

A hub site is designated by having numerous outbound links to other related sites. In that sense, developing a hub site runs counter to conventional thinking. A hub site blogger thinks outside that box.

A major problem facing a webmaster seeking to create a hub site is to find and attract incoming theme related links. To achieve that goal, a website owner must provide high quality content, that is both interesting and informative, to attract unsolicited inbound links.

Incoming links are required to build up PageRank, and to gain link popularity to move up the search engine rankings. The incoming links difficulty can be solved the old fashioned way. The solution is always to add as much informative and useful content as possible.

Hubs are distinguished by their willingness to link out to other sites whose contents are based on similar themes. Google appears to have already given its blessing to hub sites. That endorsement by Google can be readily seen with blogs.

For blogs, linking out has not proven to be the drain on PageRank, that many people would ordinarily expect. In fact, for many blogs, linking out has helped to enhance their search engine rankings.

Linking out may have turned a number of leading blogs into hub sites for their theme area. The reason for that blog linking out success in the search engines is similar to the power of the hub site. It’s based on linking out to other blogs that are written on similar topics and themes.

All website owners and bloggers can use that empirical data to their own benefit. There are enough blogs linking out, while maintaining strong PageRanks and search rankings to back up that concept.

If you link out to other sites and web pages, that are similar in topic to yours, you will not be held down by Google. Any drain on PageRank will be minimal at worst. In the Google algorithm that determines position in the search results for your targeted keywords, Google may even be giving benefit for outbound links. If that is indeed the case, then linking out boosts your blog's search ranking. That concept makes sense in the context of develiping a hub site.

It’s thought as well, that Google is not kind to sites that attempt to hoard PageRank. If that is true, then seeking hub site status is a wise goal. In any case, even if there is a minute loss of PageRank, the overall rise in the search engine results pages (SERPs) makes that more than a fair tradeoff.

Turn your blog into a hub site, for your topic area, and reap the benefits in Google and possibly the other search engines as well.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

 

Blog and website visitor traffic: Finding offline sources

Everyone wants more website blog visitor traffic.

You have probably already tried many ideas for gaining new readers through internet promotions, including higher search engine rankings through SEO, publishing internet articles, and posting blog comments and message board post.

You can find many new 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.

By means of creative offline promotions, your blog or website will find many new visitors. If your online business depends on obtaining new customers and clients, offline sources are a powerful new pool of potential visitors.

Think offline today and watch your blog or website visitor traffic grow.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

 

Marketing plan: Online business success tool

Marketing and promotional plans for your blog or website.

Every website needs a promotional plan to ensure that the goals and objectives of a business’s website are achieved.

In the make believe world of they movies, they may be able say, “if you build it, they will come”. In the real life of business, however, a much more pro-active approach to marketing and promotions is required. In fact, I have always believed that the magical arrival movie line dis more harm than good as many online marketers and website owners took it seriously.

They built, but no one came.

Your site needs a promotional plan to reach its goals. In order to formulate a strong promotional plan, you need to know what those goals are for you, and your website.

Your website needs a goal and a purpose. What you have to do is to decide what your site is supposed to be doing for you and your business. For many people the website is a tool to gain added business for an offline company. In effect, the site operates as an online brochure.

For others, the website may be the entire venture in itself. Products and services are sold directly from the site, and without proper marketing and promotions, not many of them will move at all. Still other websites may be designed as purely informational sites, so targeted and qualified traffic is not a concern. Instead, the sharing of information with a widely diversified traffic base is the goal.

A good promotional plan needs to consider these factors.

You must know who constitutes the target market for your business. If you are going to use your website as a vehicle, to convert those potential prospects into paying customers and clients, you need to identify who they are first. Some preliminary market research will be required to answer that question.

Another need is to decide, where and how you are going to communicate your promotional and marketing message, to your identified target audience. There are virtually unlimited methods to reach your potential customers. You must select the avenues that are right for you, your business, and your promotional budget.

Once you have answered these basic questions, you are ready to begin developing a promotional plan, for your own website. A major part of any website promotional plan involves setting the goals your website is trying to achieve.

Without previously decided upon goals in place, your promotional and marketing program can drift aimlessly from one idea to the next. A lack of focus will mean greatly diminished results.

The major categories of website goals include sending traffic to an offline bricks and mortar business, direct product sales from the website itself, and as a purely informational site.

All websites usually employ some combination of any two or three of these purposes. For promotional purposes, a more focussed campaign is best. Failing to target the efforts could result in a dilution of the desired results.

Before you decide on the means, you have to select the goal of your website. If your goal is building offline traffic, you will want to develop a strategy that emphasises the product line and qualifying potential customers and clients.

Since the product and service offered requires qualified prospective buyers, the promotional technique will have to be chosen for the website traffic to self select. Your site will benefit from a strategy that funnels qualified buyers in your direction.

Following that preselection process, your site will then help convince the visitor to choose your company’s products and services. The promotional methods employed should flow naturally into that marketing process, as a logical next step.

Your site should attract the buyer to select your product, if comparison shopping. If your product offering is what is desired by the purchaser, then your offline business should be the point of sale. If the purpose of your website is the actual end sales point, your promotional goal should be to bring as many prospects as possible to your site.

Selecting promotional strategies, that maximize traffic, will work well for this type of site. Simply target the marketing efforts where potential customers can be found, to improve the level of conversions.

An informational website will benefit most from a less targeted wide ranging marketing and promotional campaign. You want as much visitor traffic as possible to gain maximum exposure for your website.

When you select your various promotional and marketing campaigns, be certain to keep your website’s overall goals in mind. If you are seeking preselected prospects, your methods should be highly targeted to the most effective areas.

For websites seeking a more general readership, with the goal of onsite sales, your marketing strategy should be to gain a wide range of qualified visitor traffic, keeping a high level of conversions in mind.

For informational websites, the best marketing and promotional plan should be to gain the maximum number of visitors possible and to offer ideas through as many dissemination channels as possible.

In any case, your blog or website requires a promotional and marketing plan. Goals for the site need to be established, so the actual purpose of the site is firmly entrenched in your plan. It's said that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Maybe that's the real message of expecting them to come, simply by building it.

Create a site promotional and marketing plan today.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

Carnival of the Vanities Third Blogiversary Edition



The 156th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities, returns home to Silflay Hraka, the birthplace of Carnival of the Vanities for its third blogiversary.

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, culture, comedy, and sports.

I have an entry in this special anniversay edition of Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My entry is titled "Landing pages: Targeted sales makers" where I discuss how the page where a visitor arrives at your site can make a huge impact on your overall sales results.

To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.

Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the host of the week.

That's what I usually do.

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at Mark Rayner's eclectic blog known as The Skwib.



In the meantime, head on over to the Silflay Hraka hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Free teleseminar: Conversations with experts - Philippe Matthews







Manifesting Success, Wealth and Happiness

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 8:30 p.m. ET

Guest expert: Philippe Matthews of The Philippe Matthews
Show


Philippe Matthews, the host of The Philippe Matthews podCAST & vCAST Show and author of several books and coaching programs on producing quantum achievement, will discuss TheSHOCKphilosophy™ and The Shock Wealth System™ -- spiritual technologies and transformational methodologies that identify and neutralize deep-seated, unconscious beliefs and behaviors that stifle or sabotage success.

You will learn how to break through the invisible comfort zone that keeps you from reaching the next level of wealth, achievement and success in life regardless of how many books you read and seminars you attend.

Philippe Matthews is the Founder/Creator of The SHOCKphilosophy™ Institute of Manifestation; which teaches individuals how to succeed beyond any and all past points of failure and disappointment to create a new reality of wealth, success and achievement! This is taught through the four processes of 1) The SHOCKphilosophy™, 2) The Quantum SHOCKprocess, 3) The Shock Wealth System™, and 4) The SHOCKdebt Process™.

You can register for the Conversation with Philippe Matthews at:

http://www.customizednewsletters.com/CE/cesched.htm

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Carnival of the Capitalists at Crossroads Dispatches



This week sees a creative thinking approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Evelyn Rodriguez's innovation, leadership, creative thinking, and business blog known as Crossroads Dispatches.

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

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from Crossroads Dispatches, there are many discussions of business, leadership, innovative ideas, and markeing.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.

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

My entry post this week is titled "Blog business connections: Growing small enterprises" where I discuss how the relationships developed and nurtured through blogging can grow into potentially profitable businesses.

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

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

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!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Will Franklin's eclectic and markets blog known as WILLisms.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the Crossroads Dispatches hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer you some creative thoughts. (groan)

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Monday, September 12, 2005

 

Free teleseminar: John Jantsch - Duct Tape Marketing



My good friend John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing presents a free teleseminar on September 21 titled: "The 7 Steps to Creating the Ultimate Small Business Marketing System".

The hour long session will be held Wednesday, September 21 at 12:00 Noon
Central (10:00 am Pacific, 11:00 am Mountain, 1:00 pm Eastern, GMT-6 hours)

About the free teleseminar, John says:

This session is a gift to my Duct Tape Marketing readers and promises to be jammed packed with some of my most important small business marketing strategies.

* Locating the ideal target market

* Understanding the power of a unique core message

* Creating educational marketing materials

* Using a permission based lead generation foundation

* Tapping the power of public relations and referral marketing

* Publishing web sites and web content that sells

* Harnessing real small business Internet marketing


Registration for this special teleseminar is free and easy to do.




John Jantsch is the creator and author of the popular and highly effective Referral Flood system to help grow your customer base faster than you ever dreamed possible.






John is also the developer of his blogging instruction program called Blog Lightning where he guides new and experienced bloggers through establishing and building a successful blog.



Don't delay, register for this free teleseminar today.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

 

SEO tips for blogs hosted on Blogger

Blogs are the fastest growing class of websites on the internet. No longer the sole domain of teenagers and the love lorn, blogs are now an established form of internet communication.

The online business community has recently discovered the power of blogging, and as such are faced with raising the blog site’s ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). As a direct result of some of the blog characteristics, high search rankings are readily available for the careful blog writer.

Like any other website, blogs have techniques for search engine optimization (SEO), many of them the same as for traditional static websites, and many of them unique to blogs. Among the issues faced by some bloggers is the abundance of free blog hosting sites.

Not requiring any initial cash outlay, the free blog hosts have literally millions of blogs on their books. One of the most popular is the Google owned blog host Blogger.

Note that in this article, the capitalized word Blogger refers to the blog hosting company, while the lower case generic term blogger indicates the blog writer. Confusion between the two words will be avoided as much as possible.

Like all free web hosts, Blogger hosted blogs face unique optimization challenges. Unlike sites where the domain name is owned by the webmaster, free blog hosts maintain ownership of the blog. In fact, the blog name is a sub-domain of the blog host, making value from the blog URL a less powerful optimization tool.

Despite the limitations faced by a blog hosted by Google owned Blogger, there are many very powerful optimization techniques available to the blogger. As we will see, blogs have some optimization methods, that are only available to blogs in general, regardless of host.

When considering the optimization techniques to apply to blogs, the basics of fresh keyword rich content, theme relevance, incoming links, and link anchor text all apply to blogs. In that sense optimization for blogs is no different from other websites.

On the other hand, some additional methods and some restrictions in the choice of techniques are involved as well. The various restrictions are often a direct result of the placement of the blog on the free host.

In this case study, the free host is Blogger. These shortcomings must always be kept in mind, when considering the best course, to fully optimize your blog.

Free Blogger hosting for your blog

Blogger enables you to host your blog on their server for free. As a very simple use interface system, even a novice with absolutely no programming or blogging experience of any kind, can be fully operational in a matter of minutes. The procedure for starting a blog is very simple, and takes only minutes to complete.

The Blogger server offers the choice of having a free standing blog as a separate website, or the option of writing your daily posts on the Blogger interface, and file transfer them to your existing website via the built in FTP feature.

Blogger provides a choice of pre-written templates for the blog layout, but all of them are changeable to include different color combinations and page formats.

Blogger freely permits the use of third party add on features, including commenting systems, track back, visitor counters, RSS site feeds, and most scripts often seen incorporated into traditional websites.

Note that Blogger offers all of those necessary blogging functions, including a site feed through Atom, with the exception of track back, in its blogging service package. Other third party feeds can be freely added to the Blogger template. I use several on my blogs.

The user is under no obligation to use the Blogger supplied versions, however. The company agreement does require that the Blogger logo icon remain on all of the pages, however.

When choosing a URL for the blog, it will appear as http://yourblogname.blogspot.com or if you prefer, as http://www.yourblogname.blogspot.com making the blog URL a sub-domain of the Blogger system.

The main domain is indicated by the “blogspot.com portion of the URL. With being a sub-domain, there are some unique, but not insurmountable challenges to optimization, as we shall see.

A Blogger user is not restricted in the choice of blog titles, and careful title and URL selection can help greatly in the optimization process. Many blogs suffer from having very poorly selected titles, that contain no relevance to the overall blog theme. Keep that in mind when selecting a title.

Keywords within the blog title and URL are very powerful in ranking well, with a blog component, especially as a sub-domain from the Blogger host.

After creating a blog title, and selecting a blog template to be customized later, the Blogger registration process is completed. A new blog writer is ready to begin writing blog columns, which are referred to as posts.

Optimization and SEO power of blogs

Contrary to what many people believe, Google does not give preference to blogs hosted on Blogger, despite Google’s ownership of the popular blog service.

As a result, bloggers using the Blogger hosting system are on even footing with bloggers using other free or paid blog hosting services, and with blogs hosted under an owned domain name, or as part of an owned domain website. The playing field for optimization is as level as possible for bloggers using a sub-domain of Blogger, and for other bloggers as well.

Blogs rank well in the search engines by their very nature. They are regularly updated with keyword rich content. Most blog writers stick to a main theme for their blogs making relevance easy. Because of the blog’s versatility, the blogger can add more themes to the blog and tie them together, enabling a blog to maintain several strong themes.

Blogs are also link magnets, mainly from other similarly themed blogs. It is not unusual for a blog to receive a Google PageRank 4 or 5 after being live on the internet for only one month. The theme relevant links are often placed right in blog posts, and contain powerful link anchor text.

One way inbound links to blogs are freely given by other bloggers as many blog writers are not concerned about search engine rankings. As a result, the competitive level of the sought after keywords is not as strong as its overall potential, based on sheer numbers of blogs.

Bloggers maintain large link lists, called blogrolls, that usually sit on the blog’s home page. The weakness of the blog link lists is their volume, providing less than optimal PageRank and link popularity passage, as it’s divided among large numbers of receiving blogs and websites.

What the blog link popularity lacks in amount of what is passed along, is made up for in theme relevance and quantity. Blog links are literally a volume business. Note that reciprocal blog links don’t appear to suffer any downgrading, as is often the case for static sites. Incoming links, including reciprocal links, are effective for blogs.

On page blog optimization techniques

Blogs are optimized using the same techniques as static websites. Keep in mind that a blog is simply another website. What works in the search engines for other sites will also work for optimizing a blog.

Blogger assists the blog writer by building in many optimization features, that enable a blog to compete in less competitive searches, even if no other optimization techniques are applied.

The blog title is important, and should be chosen carefully to reflect the topics and themes of the blog. Many blog titles are frivolous, and provide little search engine value. Including at least one important keyword in the title is recommended.

The title is important as it forms part of the URL sub-domain. Combining a keyword enriched title with the blog URL is often enough to compete for non-competitive searches.

As the regular posts are added to the blog, each one generates a unique page with its own URL. Since the blog title forms part of that URL, it’s important that it contain some keyword, as the blog title is at the front of the URL.

The individual page URL contains all of a short blog post headline, and most of some longer ones. For that reason, place the targeted keywords early in a blog post headline to ensure their conclusion. Blogger publishes the page URLs, with the headline words separated by dashes, in accordance with the Google preference for dashes over underscores.

The blog title tags are readily and easily changed in Blogger, to reflect any targeted keywords and phrases. Because the blog itself is a website sub-domain, altering the title tag is a very powerful option for any blogger to utilize.

The Blogger supplied templates are pre-written with h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 tags. The headings are placed in the heading tags automatically, providing an instant search engine advantage for the blog. The templates are fully CSS compatible and welcome both additional CSS and html coding.

Blogs are well crawled by the major and lesser known search engine spiders. Because the posts are so frequent, the spiders return to reindex the blog, on at least a daily basis.

By pinging the blog, which is notifying the specialized blog search engines and RSS aggregators of an update, the blog reaches a huge audience including media outlets. A good one stop multiple site pinger is Ping-O-Matic.

Three very powerful optimization tools are missing from Blogger templates, and would be very helpful in improving searches for Blogger hosted blogs.

One missing item is categories. Blogger users can't place their posts into theme related categories. The ability of other blog hosts to provide categories gives those blogs a bit of a theme related SEO advantage. That is to say nothing of the benefit to the blog readers of neatly organized categories for related links.

Blogger doesn't provide a related links feature that lets readers find additional posts on the same blog topic. Another benefit to readers, and to the search engines due to the loss of an internal link, is missed by Blogger.

A third issue is the lack of internal "tag" coding. Blogger users are required to write their own tag code for Technorati and other users of post tags for search. As embedded linked keywords, tags are also very powerful for creating themes in search engines.

There appears to be little, if any discrimination against Blogger and other free hosted blogs among the members of the media, and other blog RSS feed subscribers.

Link power of blogs

Much of the search engine optimization power of blogs is through their extensive linking networks. Blog owners are free and generous linkers. They link to other blogs permanently, usually from the high PageRank home page, and freely link to what they consider interesting blog posts.

Not only are posts linked frequently by other bloggers, but the on page link is often from a post to a post. As a bonus, the link is usually dripping with important keywords and phrases.

Links from other blogs tend to be very theme relevant in content, as bloggers link to articles, blog posts, and other blogs that are of interest to themselves and to their readership. One way incoming links are a very frequent event for bloggers.

Reciprocal blog links don’t appear to be discounted by Google or the other major search engines, as the exchanges are usually between theme related blogs. Blog owners should, however, exert some level of caution, regarding link exchanges with non-theme relevant blogs, as those incoming links might not receive full value.

Linking to and from Blogger is easy, and the template provides an unlimited sidebar area for the inclusion of html links, to other blogs and traditional websites. Links can also be coded within the posts themselves, right at the time of post composition, using simple embedded html conversions.

The Blogger posts are archived after a chosen time period of usually one week, into one month long archive sections. Those time frames are changeable in the Blogger settings, for longer or shorter durations.

The internal linking of the pages is precoded by Blogger, enabling PageRank link popularity, and link anchor text to pass freely from one page to another. The pre-written code can also be altered should the blogger prefer a different internal linking structure.

Conclusion

Hosting a blog on a free host like Google owned Blogger need not be a disadvantage to achieving high search engine rankings. Simply apply recommended standard SEO optimization techniques and the blog will do very well in the SERPs.

The Blogger supplied, and readily alterable templates contain many powerful optimization features by default, including h1 tags, CSS, and strong internal page linkage, to name just a few.

Be sure to keep in mind that the blog URL shows a sub-domain. Because of that limitation, care should be taken with the blog title, title tags, and the headlines given to the regular blog posts.

The power of the many keyword rich anchor text incoming links, from theme related blogs and websites, will go far towards reaching the top of the rankings.

The links are to be expected because of the regular posting of theme relevant content. Other bloggers will link naturally to the blog, with the highly potent one way link.

Be sure to add your own tag code for using those powerful search tools.

The blog combination of fresh keyword rich content and relevant incoming links will propel the blog, and a related website, to the top of the SERPs.

While it’s always a better policy to own your own blog domain, don’t be afraid of a free blog host, if you are short of cash.

Even a free hosted blog is highly powered in the search engines.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

 

Blog links: Looking internally for connections

When website owners and bloggers think of linking, they are usually referring to inbound links from external websites and blogs.

While adding more incoming links from pages in external sites is very important, it’s very easy to forget the internal linkage factors at work in your own blog.

The blog’s incoming links provide Google PageRank to the receiving web page. The inbound links boost both the page itself, and help the blog overall, receive additional link popularity boost. The links received from external sources are only part of the overall linking program for a website or blog.

Some very important link popularity increases will arise directly from a website’s internal linkage system. In fact, some improvements in the site linking and navigation can give a site a major boost in the search engines. This very important optimization technique is often ignored by link seeking website owners.

Think inside the box, and check over how the internal linking of the site is working, or not working, on your website’s behalf. It’s not a complicated procedure, but is one that can pay large dividends in better search engine rankings and stronger sales of products and services.

The revenue increase will result, from the site becoming easier to navigate, for to the benefit of the site’s visitor traffic. If a site is difficult to move around, the potential customer will simply leave, and seek out a site that is provides better usability.

Several factors require examination for improving a website’s internal linking system. As a starting point, every website needs a good, easy to navigate site map.

The site should also have easy to read, understand, and use menus, to enable the visitor to get to where she wants to travel within the site. If flash menu buttons are used, additional html links should be included as a precaution against possible search engine spider omissions.

Footer links, while not the most powerful of navigational tools, will help provide additional links to the site’s pages. The various clickable links should contain keyword link anchor text relevant to the receiving web page, to emphasise the page’s theme for the search engines.

By setting up a solid easy to use internal linking system, with proper use of keyword anchor text, a site will gain higher placements in the search engines. The improved usability will result in much stronger online sales because of the ease of site navigation for the potential customers and clients.

Setting your sights on a site map

Having a good easy to understand site map is an essential element of any good website. Not only does the site map help boost a site’s search engine rankings, but helps the visitor traffic find the information they seek while clicking around the site’s pages.

Surprisingly, not every website has a site map as part of the overall design. Those website owners should be rectifying that situation as soon as possible.

As with any linking structure, the first consideration for the site map should be the website users. If they can’t find the information required, they will simply leave the site, and give their money to a competitor. Fortunately, that scenerio doesn’t have to happen to your site. The site map remedies part of that problem with one fell swoop.

When setting up the site map, group the various internal directories into overall themes. Put related topics together, to reinforce one another’s theme relevance. By doing so, you are helping the search engine spider recognize the overall themes and topics of the website.

A well developed site map also enables the spiders to crawl deeper into a site’s directories by providing entries to those deeper web pages.

The close interconnection of themes means better rankings in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search. Site themes are a very important part of the search algorithms of all major search engines.

A well designed site map also means easier usability for your potential paying customers. More convenient site navigation means your visitors can more easily purchase products and services from your site. Talk about getting good bang for the buck.

When setting up the site map, make certain that each link to the receiving page contains link anchor text specific to that page. For example, if the receiving page is about blue widgets, place the keyword phrase blue widgets in the site map link. The additional anchor text, pointing to the desired page, targets that page for that search term.

The added link anchor text reinforces the theme of the receiving page for the search engines, providing an added boost in the search rankings. The keywords also aid the site user by providing direct information about the content of the page being linked.

Ordering off the site menu

Every page of the website should contain an easily located and simple to use page menu. Without a menu, of course, no visitor could ever find their way around the website. A well designed menu should also be helpful to the search engine spiders as they crawl around the site.

Like the related site map, the more pathways available to the spiders, the more deeply and completely a site will be crawled and indexed. Having more pages indexed, on a regular basis, assists in search engine rankings as well.

When designing menu buttons for a site, the best ones use simple html coding to reach the other site pages. Often, a site designer will use flash buttons to create a more exciting look to the site. While perhaps appealing to the eye, the flash button menu might not be the choice of the search engine spiders.

While it’s believed that the various spiders can and will crawl flash links, they will find it more difficult. It’s far easier to provide html links, even as a backup system.

Making life easier for the spiders pays off in the search engine results pages (SERPs). As with all links, make certain that descriptive keyword anchor text is part of all page connecting links, to reinforce theme relevance.

Using footer links to get an extra kick

Footer links are almost standard at the bottom of every web page. They are placed there for a reason. Should the spiders not be able to fully crawl a site, or the visitor not be able to easily navigate the site, the footer links ensure that movement around the site is facilitated.

As an opportunity to use good keyword rich link anchor text, footer links are a real boon to the site optimization efforts. In fact, the anchor text choice can enhance even the often neglected Home and About Us pages. At the very least, the anchor text for Home should be Business Name Home. The anchor text for About Us should read, at minimum, About Company Name.

While more powerful link anchor text than the site title would be a better choice, at least use of the company name points those pages out in a clearer fashion, for the site visitor.

If the company or blog name includes a targeted keyword, some added search engine benefit is derived as well. In any case, the better link anchor text will assist in maintaining the overall site theme. Note that the footer anchor text places some extra keyword density on the page.

Link anchor text ties the blog themes together

When creating internal site links, the single most important thing to remember is to always use keywords in the anchor text, that reflect the theme of the receiving page. The use of keyword relevant link anchor text is especially important to link obsessed Google, but is also valuable for higher rankings in Yahoo and MSN Search.

The choice of wording for clickable links on the site map, the site menus, and the page footers should reflect the targeted keywords for the linked to page.

The link anchor text tells the search engines what is the important theme for the page being reached by the link. If the receiving page is targeted and optimized for red widgets, the link anchor text should reflect that goal.

Link text for blue widgets would only be half as effective, and should be reserved for linking to the blue widget page. Don’t use the link text of red widgets for the clickable link to any pages other than the red widget page.

Diluting the anchor text drops the total value to the receiving page by sending what amounts to mixed messages to the search engines. Keep the anchor text relevance clean and concentrated to the targeted page only.

The link anchor text is even more effective, if the page receiving the link has the anchor text in its title tags, and even in the page unique URL. Of course, the on page content should include the keyword phrase at the appropriate density. The overall benefit is derived from the concentration of theme relevance.

Conclusion

While gaining benefits from the search engines, a properly linked site aids the users of the site as well. Better site navigation helps visitors find the desired information, resulting in longer website stays. As a result, more opportunities for conversion from visitor to paying customer are created.

A proper internal blog link structure assists a site or blog in both the search engine rankings and in overall website based sales.

It’s time to redesign your blog’s internal linking structure and improve the existing link anchor text to better target your most important keyword phrases for each linked page.

It pays dividends in more ways than one.

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