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Blog Business World

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

Blogging as fun: Stop being so serious



Blogs are many things. They are sources of interesting and informative posts, updated on a regular basis. They are conversation starters and communications builders that can lead to lasting relationships.

Blogs are SEO powerhouses that score highly in the search engine rankings, mainly as a result of keyword rich content and abundant theme relevant inbound links. Blogs can be a means of personal expression of ideas, opinion, or one's general outlook on life. Blogs are all of these things, and many more besides.

Blogs are also a lot of fun.

That's right. Blogs can be a source of enjoyment and entertainment, even for those who don't have to get out more. Developing posting ideas, writing the post for publishing on the blog, adding links to other blogs, and capping it all off with a photo or three is fun. The act of creation is indeed a source of joy.



Of course, we don't always stop to think in terms of amusement when we discuss the relative merits of starting and maintaining a blog. Oh no. We are deadly serious as we advise our clients as to how a blog will help their businesses succeed. We may as well be describing the merits of a new heavy duty power tool or a multi-function printer.

The person hearing the gospel of blog, gets the very distinct impression, that their shiny new business blog is going to represent a ton of work. Not only hard labour, but outright mind numbing drudgery, appears the most likely result. Adding a blog component loses its appeal rather quickly. Who in even partially their right mind wants that on their conscience?

Along with the well known tangible benefits of blogging, we need to add the sheer joy that blog writing brings to a person. That sounds a bit corny, I know, but it's true. Knowing that you can sit down at your keyboard, and write anything you want, and anytime that you want, is a great feeling. Knowing that you can be serious sometimes, and a bit playful at other times, makes the entire concept of blog posting much more enjoyable. Your readers will appreciate the occasional lighter moments too.



While it's possible to turn a well balanced business blog into a comedic parody of itself, keep in mind the concept of moderation. Part of the fun is slipping in the occasional less serious post as a treat for your readers. I can see the smile on your faces already as you contemplate a lighter tone to your postings once in awhile.

Blogging is much more enjoyable when you rediscover the fun.

You will like blogging more than ever. Your readers will appreciate discovering another less serious side to your personality. Your clients will be much more likely to take your blogging recommendation more seriously as well.

Now, isn't that ironic?

Have some blogging fun today.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Ideologic LLC



This week sees a dual approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Harish Keshwani's business and blog outsourcing process information blog known as Ideologic LLC.

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 Ideologic LLC there are many discussions of business, marketing, and economics issues.

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.



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

My post is titled "Business at a crossroads: Growth or status quo" where I discuss how there are many creative solutions to the funding, staffing, and production problems associated with business growth.

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.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



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 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 personal finance blog known as Free Money Finance.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the Ideologic LLC 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 some web designing business ideas. (groan)

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Blogs and connections: Process and goal setting



Blogs are about creating and nurturing conversations, that lead to making connections, that in turn lead to business or personal relationships. While not all bloggers are able to make those connections, let alone build relationships with their readers, the potential for doing so exists. Perhaps the difficulty lies in developing the overall goals for the blog.

To start out on your blogging adventure, it is important to have some idea of where your blog journey will lead. While the actual end result might be a rapidly moving target, that constantly changes in time and space, the route to that goal requires some planning. After all, even a traveller who is heading in the general direction of Europe needs some plan for reaching that general location. While the specific choice of European countries to visit might change upon arrival, the traveller can't simply arrive in Europe by magical means.

Many bloggers, however, seem to believe that some magic potion exists to get their newly born business blog to its appointed destination. It just won't work that way. A plan of action is required or the business blog is destined to fail. A blog plan involves a number of steps. They must all be taken if the blog is to succeed.

First of all, the new business blogger must ask what the blog is expected to achieve in the way of goals. For some blog writers, like me, the goal is to share information with others with whom I hope to make a connection, and to help them achieve success in reaching their business and personal goals. Through my blogs, I try to establish lasting friendships with my readers and to help them in any way in reaching their many and varied goals. This blog is part of that ongoing process.



For other business and marketing bloggers, the goal is to market and sell their products and services. Public relations bloggers aim their blog toward enhanced media relations and understanding of their company by the general public. The blog purpose for other businesses might be to gain better search engine rankings, through the SEO blog power of links, and link bait of fresh interesting and informative blog content. Other bloggers will seek to achieve entirely different goals, based on their content and their expected blog readership's interests.

Once a blog goal is established, a roadmap is necessary to get to that target location. A process must be set out to write timely and informative posts, determine the number of posts written per week, find new and interesting content ideas, build a readership audience through increased visitor traffic, and develop interaction and connections with the readers, other bloggers, current and potential customers and clients, and the internet population as a whole. Don't forget to include having fun with the blog too. All of that work takes some planning. I never said the process would be easy; just that it's necessary.

The process of blogging is not as easy as waking up one morning and saying, "I think I will start a blog today and get millions of new customers." If it were that easy, everyone would own a blog, and every blog would be successful beyond anyone's wildest imagination. The fact is that writing and maintaining a blog takes work and dedication. That is what makes them so valuable.



Building connections and long term relationships doesn't happen overnight. Nothing in life worth anything happens immediately. You don't just meet someone one day and marry them that night. Well, maybe a few overly inebriated people in Las Vegas might do that, but they are the extremely rare exception.

Building business relationships takes time as well. The prospective customer, client, or business partner has to get to know you and trust you. That process takes time, just like any other relationship in life. While a few people are able to make almost immediate connections, for most people the time frame is much longer.

To create a successful blog, and develop long term connections and relationships, the blog must have its goals determined. The goals must be flexible enough, within a reasonable range, to allow for changes in the economy and society in general, and the blogger's business plans in particular. A process must be established for achieving those goals. Then the work begins.

Trust the blogging process and keep a positive outlook.

You will develop interpersonal connections and lasting relationships on all levels.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

 

Fan letters: Are they for bloggers too?



Authors, newspaper and magazine writers, and columnists of all types receive fan mail. Many readers admire the creative and journalistic talents of the writers and want to praise the published works. As writers, bloggers might be a new group of fan mail recipients.

My friend Vikk Simmons (pictured above left) of Down The Writer's Path provides some thoughts on fan mail for book authors. Vikk considers fan letters to be something that brightens a writer's day like little else.

Vikk Simmons writes:

There are days when it's downright nice to be an author and today was one of them. When I finally powered up the laptop and checked my email after almost two weeks absence, I found a wonderful note...




Notice Vikk's joy at receiving some positive feedback about her books and her blog. The recognition of the writer's craft, in the form offan letters to authors is appreciated. Often writers toil away at their creative work, not hearing anything about the quality of their finished product. For everyone who puts pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, it's nice to be noticed. In this case, the appreciation was for Vikk's young adult novel Divided Loyalties (shown left).

Bloggers appreciate feedback for their work as well. Thanks to the wonder of blog commenting systems, thoughts on various blog posts are fast and easy to provide. When visiting your favourite blogs, it's nice to leave a few comments; at least once in awhile. Let the blog owner know that you have paid a visit, read the post, and found it thought provoking enough to require a comment. From little things like comments, blogging relationships can be formed.

E-mail provides another way to express your thoughts on a blogger's work. Like Vikk Simmons' delightful e-mail, a fan letter to a blogger can work wonders for everyone. The sender has expressed appreciation for the time and effort taken by the writer to provide an interesting an informative post. The blogger is pleased to discover that the work of posting has helped, informed, or entertained someone else.

Linking to favourite posts, on your regular blog reads, is another way to share your appreciation of the blogger and the resulting blog. Not only does the linked blogger discover that postings are being read, they are also being shared with others. More readers exchanged between two or more bloggers helps everyone; bloggers and readers alike.

Send a blogger a fan letter today.

Brighten a writer's day with your words of appreciation.

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Business blogs: Fad or long term communications tool



Business blogs are often referred to as being a fad. You know the line. It usually includes terms like "fad", "personal diary", "self important", and of course "waste of time and resources".

Variations on those themes appear all of the time in print, online, and broadcast media. You will also hear them quite frequently in personal or daily business conversations. Can a blog really be compared to that very famous fad, the hula hoop?

The questions usually revolve around the blogging content, the blog value in the near and long term, and the overall staying power of blogs. These are legitimate questions, and indeed, they deserve answers. If we business bloggers are serious about speading the word about the value of blogs to companies of all sizes, we must consider the objections.

First of all, business blogs as a marketing and public relations communications tool are still in their relative infancy. The number of blogging businesses is still very small. The number is so low that a new corporate blog still makes the news for its alleged innovative aspect. If that's the case, then blogs still have a long way to go to entirely permeate mainstream business and media thinking.



My good friend John Jantsch (pictured left) of Duct Tape Marketing considers the possibility that while blogs may have had a "fad" period, that time has already passed into history.

John Jantsch says this about business blogging as a fad:

Blogging as a business fad seems to be passing - and that's a good thing.

Now maybe people will settle down and look at a blog, at using a blog for business, for what it is. Just another, albeit powerful, marketing tool.

Yes, every business needs a blog, not so they can say they have one, so they can finally say something because they have one. Now I'm not saying that you can't have open and transparent conversations with your clients and prospects through other means, I'm just saying that people don't.


As John says, blogs are being recognized for their value as marketing and public relations tools. As a communications medium for sharing the company's ideas and vision, a blog is a very powerful tool. Along with company specific data and facts, a blog also provides general information on the industry, other knowledge sources, and product use assistance. The concepts provided by a business blog are limited only by the writer's imagination.



Blogs definitely have the potential to grow as a information sharing tool. They are informal in tone, introduce a real person instead of the cliche of the faceless corporation, and are timely in their presentation. The flexibility offered by blogging is one reason that blogs will last in the business tool box.

The blog's purpose and presentation can be changed over time to reflect new business goals and realities. The very nature of blogs is to evolve to fit new conditions. Unlike the blog, a fad item is fixed at a certain time and place, and lacks the built-in flexibility to develop new uses. The fad never changes from its original purpose, and so it disappears with time.

The next time you are faced with someone stating that a blog is merely some new fad, you can provide an alternative picture. Perhaps you will create a new convert to the field of blogging.

As a blog evangelist, you will have achieved your goal.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

 

Blogs and relationship building: Myth or fact?



Over time, it has become accepted blogging dogma, that blogs build relationships, between the blog writer and the blog readership. The concept of blog relationship building has been promoted and marketed as one of the most powerful reasons for starting a blog; especially business blogs.

I have been a strong advocate of the relationship building aspects of blogging myself. Perhaps I have been promoting a myth of blogging power. Maybe I have been suggesting the right idea that blogs can change lives. A third possibility could be that blogging might build strong relationships between blogger and reader under the right circumstances; and fail miserably in others.

Leading author and business blogger Susannah Gardner (pictured above) of Buzz Marketing With Blogs has stepped forward and taken the blogs as relationship builders concept to task. Susannah believes that the entire relationship idea is a myth, and one that is being perpetuated without any basis in reality.

Susannah says:

So, really, I wonder about the phrase I’ve used a million times: “Blogs are about building relationships.” Are they really? Don’t most relationships grow, change, deepen? Is there really a chance for that with a blog, or does it just feel like it?


Like me, Susannah has discussed the relationship building aspect of blogging as an accepted truism. The idea is quite probably oversold by we evangelists of the blogging cause. On the other hand, there is indeed some truth in the concept as well. Under the proper circumstances, and used correctly, blogs can build relationships. The connections made are not automatic and must be nurtured and helped to grow over time. A blog alone is not the mythical magic bullet for success.

A blog is simply a tool. As with any tool, if used correctly and in the right circumstances, a blog can be very powerful. Employed poorly and without skill, and used for the wrong reasons, a blog will be very ineffective at achieving its goals. The blog is dependent upon the writing skill, motivation, personality, and type of information provided by the author.



It's probably safe to say that an interesting, informative, well written blog that reflects it's writer's personality, will be more effective than a blog that fails in those key areaas. It's also safe to say that some blog readers will not connect with a blog owner under any circumstances. On the other hand, many blog visitors will want to develop a deeper and more permanent connection with the blogger. Most readers are somewhere in the middle.

There's the rub.

A blog can only do so much on its own. In many ways, it represents a letter of introduction from the writer to the reader. The blog offers to start a conversation. Not everyone is going to respond to that offer; although some readers will do so. On the other hand, it's also up to the blogger to help develop those potential relationships from the blogging end.

Blog comments and e-mail exchanges, internet messenger and telephone conversations between people introduced by way of the blog, and live offline meetings between people are all forms of blog created personal interaction. Some of these newly formed acquaintances will grow and prosper, while others might not last past the handshake phase.



Susannah Gardner is correct about one thing. The idea that blogs build relationships can mislead people into granting the blog a power it doesn't possess. The blog is not some all powerful mythical being, able to create clients, customers, friends, and interpersonal relationships by waving a magic wand. As author of the successful and excellent book Buzz Marketing With Blogs (shown left), her opinion resulted from extensive research into blogging.

All developing relationships of any type, whether business, friendship, or romantic require some effort on the part of everyone involved. Blogs are no different in that regard.

Blogs are simply one of many starting points for relation building. Used properly, and wisely, a blog can definitely start, nurture, and develop relationships between the blogger and the reader. It's not really an all one or all of the other type situation. The blog will be successful in many cases, and create many powerful connections. The blog will fail to strike a chord in other readers entirely.

Permanent relationships just aren't going to happen on their own. The blog is not some magic entity that can create interpersonal connections out of thin air. It's simply another tool; and no tool is perfect.

Not even the blog.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

Rivers of Revenue: Income ideas start flowing



Rivers of Revenue

Author: Kristin Zhivago

What do you do if your job disappears?

Where do you turn if your business fails?

You need a way out of the nightmare, and author Kristin Zhivago provides the roadmap. Her book Rivers of Revenue is a step by step plan to get the income flowing your way once again.

Bringing over 35 years of hands on experience in helping businesses reach their goals, Kristin Zhivago offers the reader the same advice that has worked so well for others. Written in a conversational style, like that of a patient and supportive friend, Rivers of Revenue reads more like a blog posting series than a business book.

The secret to getting your business, your career, and your life back on track is to stop trying to sell to people. Whether it’s ideas, your products and services, or yourself, no one wants to feel like they are getting a sales pitch. Instead, everyone wants you to support them and their buying process.

In turn, they will support you.



Kristin Zhivago (pictured left) suggests that life should be a pleasure, and not simply hard work and drudgery. By taking the time to find out what people really want, you can work with your clients and customers in a winning relationship for all concerned.

She teaches you to avoid time wasting wild goose chases, and how to find and develop concepts that help everyone to achieve their needs and goals. You will benefit right along with your customers, who will stay with you permanently, because of that caring approach.



For those climbing the corporate ladder of employment, Kristin shows you how to earn and keep the respect of your peers, and to gain the attention of those at the top rung of the corporation. Instead of office politics, your career will blossom from achieving the company’s goals.

Take away:

Kristin Zhivago teaches, in easy to understand step by step lessons, how to find what your customers want and need in the way of products, services, and customer support. By taking that time on their behalf, your customers will enjoy buying from you, as a person who supports them in their goals. As a result, the Rivers of Revenue will flow freely for everyone.

Rivers of Revenue by Kristin Zhivago is highly recommended for business owners, corporate managers, and sales and marketing professionals. Your success in business and life will be achieved, by helping others reach their goals too.

Rivers of Revenue: What to Do When the Money Stops Flowing



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Carnival of the Vanities at A DC Birding Blog



The 179th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at John's tribute to nature and our feathered friends blog known as A DC Birding Blog.






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, and culture.






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

My post is titled "Information sharing: Helping others succeed" where I discuss how helping others achieve their goals and to succeed in business helps everyone in the end. Helping others is the ultimate win win idea as everyone needs assistance at some time in their lives. Thanks to John for making this post an Editor's Pick.



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 new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

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 The Cigar Intelligence Agency.

In the meantime, head on over to the A DC Birding Blog 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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Blog posting errors: Correct them or not



Blog posting errors are rarely discussed in blogging circles. They are a bit of a dirty little secret, you might say.

You know the errors that creep into your blog posts. We all make them at one time or another. Minor blog posting mistakes may be spelling errors; incorrect or misleading photographs; wrong names of people or blogs; links that are missing, don't work, or go to the wrong blog; or simply neglected pings.

More important blog post problems involve knowingly posting incorrect information; predictions or opinions that turned out differently than claimed or expected; failure to cite and link references to blogs or static websites; or claiming someone else's ideas as your own in the form of plagiarism. These, of course, are only a few examples of the errors that can creep into your blog postings.

The question then arises as to what to do about the mistake. The all too obvious answer is to return to the problematic post and change history. Sometimes correcting a blog error is acceptable, and even the proper thing to do. For example, any non-working or misdirected links can and should be repaired as a service to the linked blog. If an intended link was overlooked, and missed in the posting, it's good to return to the post and create the missed link. The cited blogger's traffic and SEO linking benefits shouldn't be reduced because someone messed up a link to their blog.



Spelling errors are the source of some controversy among bloggers. While some bloggers believe that spelling errors and typos should be left intact, I see no problem with going back and fixing those proofreading problems. This is especially important if the typo is a misspelling of someone's name. There is one provision on this recommendation, however. Only the typo can be corrected. No other changes can be made to the post that might change its meaning or intention.

For more serious errors, including incorrect information, the original post must not be altered to change history. Instead, the blogger has a two choices. One option is to make the correction, apology, or retraction in the blog comments section for that post. A second option is to write another post that retracts, corrects, or apologizes for the previous error. The new post should, however, quote the problem area of the previous post, and also link back to the previous post. The link back to the old post is essential.



Posting without crediting sources, or claiming their work as your own, is not acceptable blogging practice. While some would argue that "other bloggers do it", that is no excuse. Maintaining good blogging technique helps everyone in the blogging community. If bloggers want their writing to receive respect, then proper credit must be given to others. Linking to, and properly citing your sources, is simply good blogging practice. It should be practiced by everyone.

In most cases of blog posting errors, common sense will dictate the proper course of action. If fixing a post or link helps another blogger, then it's an acceptable blogging practice.

The best idea, of course, is to always proofread your posts before clicking the Publish button.

Not making the error in the first place means it doesn't have to be corrected.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Free teleseminar: Conversations with experts - Rick Raddatz







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.

An End to Embarrassing, Underperforming Websites

Wednesday, February 22, 2006, 8:30 p.m. ET - Free

Guest Expert: Rick Raddatz, Marketing MakeOver Generator

Let's face it: The vast majority of websites out there an embarrassment to their owners -- and I'm not talking about how the website looks. I'm talking about how much (or little) your website contributes to your bottom line. It's time to give your website an "Extreme Marketing Makeover". Join us as we interview Marketing Consultant Rick Raddatz, a 12-year veteran of Microsoft, to discover his secrets to high performing websites, and to learn how Rick used the internet leads he collected to sell over $200,000 worth of services in a single hour -- twice.



Rick Raddatz (pictured left) is the co-founder of a suite of successful marketing tools including AudioGenerator, InstantVideoGenerator, and MarketingMakeoverGenerator. Prior to life as an internet marketing pioneer, Rick worked at Microsoft over a twelve year period, from 1988 until 2000. Rick has a wife and 2 1/2 children. (Child #3 is due March 15th).

Register for this conversation with Rick Raddatz:

ConversationsWithExperts.com

If you missed any Conversations With Experts, you can become a monthly member of a private blog. As a member, you gain access to the entire Conversation With Experts audio series of guest experts, past and present.

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

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Carnival of the Capitalists at The Stalwart



This week sees a Presidents Day approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Joseph Weisenthal's markets, business, and economics blog known as The Stalwart.

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 The Stalwart there are many discussions of business, marketing, and economics issues.

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.



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

My post is titled "Business ideas: Does your company live in the past?" where I discuss how many unfounded, but often repeated company legends stand in the way of creative new ideas and solutions to problems. It's necessary for a company to look to the future, and not live on past glories, real or imagined.

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.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



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 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 Harish Keshwani's business and blog outsourcing process information blog known as Ideologic LLC.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the The Stalwart 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 some stlwart business ideas. (groan)

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Blog evolution: Managing change in blog focus



Blogs evolve over time. They change even when we aren't thinking they are changing in any way. The movement toward a different blog focus may also take place by design. In either case, the focus of your blog may be entirely different from its initial goals. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Let's examine some possible examples of blog evolution and the possible reasons for the changes.

A business blog may have begun as a sales and marketing tool for the company. The early posts on the blog may have been simply to call attention to the industry in general, and the blogging company's products and services in particular. The goal was to sell the company's products and services through the blog.

Over time, the blogger may have noticed that the overall readership was low. The blo owner understood that the posts were not providing what the visitors sought. Over time, the writer began to add posts providing advice and information related to the industry. Instead of continuing along with the failed business blog, the company blogger made some very conscious changes in the posted material presented to the visitors.

The blogger reviewed books, films, and products pertaining to the general industry and its current and potential customer and client base. The blogger started a conversation with the readers that developed into longer term relationships. The company blog became a success.



Not all blog changes are quite so obvious, however. Some changes are more subtle and are often not noticed at all.

The blogger may have started a business blog to enhance their internet search engine optimzation efforts. They had heard correctly that blogs have tremendous SEO power. With an eye to boosting their blog's search engine rankings, and those of its accompanying company website, links were sought aggressively, and keywords placed everywhere and anywhere throughout the posts. While some improvement in the search engine rankings did take place, the overall SEO results were weaker than expected.

The blog owner grew tired of seeking link exchanges with other blogs. Many of the blogs linked provided little or no visitor traffic, and often shared no related topics with the company blog at all. Along with losing interest in the aggressive link seeking strategy, the urge to place keywords here, there, and everywhere on the blog also declined. No conscious effort was made to change the blog's focus. The changes happened because none of the anticipated benefits ever took place.

The blogger simply wrote posts that were interesting for herself and her readership. After all, she thought, the SEO value of the blog was obviously exaggerated completely. Links and keywords all of that other SEO jargon was pointless, it seemed. Posts that were more personal, interesting, and informative began to appear on the company blog.

As if by some magical spell or potion, the blog's readership also increased. Links to specific posts were arriving to the blog, as if from thin air. As a surprising bonus, the blog rose in the search engine rankings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search. The blog focus had indeed changed for the better. Interesting and informative posts attract natural inbound links from theme relevant blogs and websites. Search engines give those theme related links the most weight in their ranking calculations. Less focus on the rankings can indeed improve a blog's SEO power.



Blog evolution is a natural part of blogging. Over time, a blog's focus can and does change. Blog changes are more frequent than most bloggers think, or even consider ever taking place. You might notice changes on other people's blogs. As with your own blog's evolution, the alteration of focus might have been intentional, or it may have been the result of unplanned circumstances.

Part of the true power of having a blog is its flexibility. The blog's ability to grow, adapt to changing needs, and to reflect an entirely new focus is a strength of blogging. As with all change, it's inevitable. We can either let the changes roll over us, or we can put the altered times to work for us.

Blog evolution is a prime example of how change can often work to enhance the blogger's goals and reputation.

Embrace the change.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

 

Business at a crossroads: Growth or status quo



Mary found her successful business at a major crossroads.

Her already lengthy client list had grown substantially, resulting in more contracts than she could handle. She had already sub-contracted with two smaller independent contractors to handle the day to day routine aspects of the agreements. The backlog of uncompleted and overlooked work continued to grow, and was forming a stack on her already crowded desk.

To complicate matters, her mail order and internet sales of her CDs, DVDs, ebooks, and other informational products had grown dramatically as well. Mary no longer had the time to write her blog posts or prepare her always popular newsletter. Unfortunately, the growth didn't generate enough cash flow to hire full time staff or increase the number of sub-contractors. The inflow of cash was too large for the current business size, but not large enough to justify a major expansion, without taking out a substantial loan.

Mary was at a loss as to what to do next. Perhaps your business has experienced a similar dilemma to Mary's company. Caught between too much work for one or two people, but still not large enough for expansion to the next level, many business people choose to cut back their client contracts, or stay the course, hoping things sort themselves out for the better. It doesn't have to be that way.



It happens to every company at some point in its evolution, so you definitely aren't alone. Perhaps there is a middle way that will solve most of the problems, while maintaining cashflow and the client base. If the goal is to avoid debt, then the business cash flow must be self sustaining. A loan is an option to consider, however.

One obvious solution to the problem is to sub-contract all of the routine office duties to a virtual assistant. Invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, and other office necessities consume large amounts of time and energy. The question is do they justify adding a virtual assistant to the team. Let's say your productive time returns $75.00 an hour. Obviously, spending your valuable time on tasks valued at far less than that amount is inefficient time management. Get the assistant and concentrate your time on productive activities.

Perhaps the growth that appeared overwhelming to one or two people is not a burden at all for three to six people. While it might take a leap of faith, it might be best for your business to increase your marketing efforts and add even more clients to the fold. Along with the increased business revenues, additional staff or sub-contractors can handle the load. Remember, you did sub-contract your routine office duties to free up your time.

Many business people are often too busy working in their business to spend time working on growing the business. Additonal marketing and a strong pro-active public relations program can readily add new customers and clients. The extra cash flow will go far in solving the problems created by growth.



Time formerly spent blogging and writing newsletters can filled by professional bloggers and freelance writers. All sales orders can be automated, as can everything involving the newsletter. Always keep in mind the real value of your time. Anything that can be hired or contracted, for less than the true worth of your time, should be considered for delegation. While it's often hard to let go of a job, out of fear of lower quality, it's essential that you do so. Give your staff and contractors a chance to shine. They will probably surprise you in a good way.

A loan is always a possibility, for maintaining cash flow. Your own financial status, collateral level, and revenue will determine if that's the course to take. Keep in mind that money borrowed for a productive purpose pays dividends in the form of higher company revenue. Don't mistake a business loan for the more familiar and unproductive credit card debt.

If your business is at a crossroads, don't panic. There are many more creative solutions than the ones presented here. A bit of thought will generate many new and exciting problem solving ideas. They will help your company, those of your clients and sub-contractors, to grow and prosper.

Everyone wins in the end.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

 

Link bait: SEO with linky love




Does your blog provide link bait?

You may have heard the term link bait discussed in search engine optimization circles. In SEO speak, link bait is content that attracts natural incoming links from other blogs and websites. Link bait is content that people want to link to, and share with their own readers.

It all starts with your blog content. If you are serious about getting more links to your blog to gain more visitor traffic, and higher search engine rankings, it takes great posts. There is no other alternative as powerful for receiving inbound links than interesting and informative original content. Simply put, if no one finds your posts of value, no one is going to link to them. Of course, that's not you.

The question then becomes one of developing and writing great posts to attract those one way incoming links. The best course of action on your part is to stick to your main blogging niche. If your blog theme is crochet, then write about crochet topics for the vast majority of your postings. As a result, other craft blogs and sites in general, and crochet themed blogs and sites in particular, will link to many of your posts. Write material that no other bloggers provide, and your blog becomes an important information source.

Sidebar: I mention crochet blogs in the example because they are my Mom's favourite craft blog. She is a life long crochet practitioner.



Targeting your blog to the desired reading audience is the best course of action if you want to develop link bait. Along with the links to individual posts, your blog stands a very good chance of also being added to the blogger's blogroll, providing a permanent link to your blog. For SEO rankings, long term links from theme related are especially good value, as the search engines consider web pages receiving permanent links to be important sites for that theme. Staying power has its advantages.

If you are serious about receiving some linky love in the form of incoming links, it's essential that you create great posts. This is especially important if you are a new blogger who lacks a long term network of blogging friends and associates. The way to establish your reputation, as a good blogger within your blogging niche, is through your writing. Natural one way links to your blog won't happen any other way.

Great posts are link bait for other bloggers to find and follow.

Write a great post today, and some linky love is sure to follow.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

 

Blog endings: Leaving the blog behind



Blogs aren't forever. At least blogs aren't a permanent part of everyone's life plans. I know, many bloggers would find that fact hard to believe. It's true. Many bloggers end their blog's life, and move on to other things.

The former blogger might take the pledge and kick the blogging habit for good. The blogger might leave the old familiar site, and move to a new blog. At other times, the reformed blogger might backslide eventually, and start a new blog on an entirely different topic.

In any case, like many things, blogs don't always last for a lifetime.

Every day, we find blogs abandoned on the shoulders of the blogging highway. Like derelict vehicles, they once were full of hopes and dreams. Today, they are nothing but ubiquitous 404 messages, signifying their tombstones.

All is not bleak in the blog loss category, however, as many bloggers leave one blog to start another. Some blog writers take a short break and return with an even better blog than their previous internet incarnation. It's all part of the evolution of the internet as a whole, and the subset of the blogosphere in particular. Times change. So do blogs.



My friend Martin Neumann recently signed off his final post on his small business oriented Home Office Voice blog. In his farewell message, Martin stated the passion no longer burned for the blog:




Basically, I have simply lost the passion for blogging at HOV - and no … no blog depression or blog crackup, but facing the hard truth.

And when passion dies then it’s best to move on - why go on beating a dead horse!

What the …

Blogging in my niche has become totally unproductive. It’s eating up too much of my productivity and when you’re self-employed that, my friends, is just not good business.


Continue reading reading Martin's final post titled "I'm Moving On..."

Looking to the future in electronic publishing, and of course more blogging, Martin has entered the world of publishing at ePublishingDaily.com.

In the end, it's not the end of a blog, when someone leaves to start a new venture. The change may be in the blog address, or simply in the focus of the business toward less things blog related.



The closing of a blog is not necessarily a funeral of sorts. It may also represent a rebirth, and a new idea may rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the old. The new communications vehicle could take many forms from podcasting, to video blogging, to a static traditional website, to...well...another blog.

Time marches on. The evolution of the blogosphere continues unabated as well. We just don't always notice the changes, as they may be too small for us to detect. Instead, we often require a jolt, as in Martin's final post, to recognize the subtle adaptation taking place in the blogosphere. Change is healthy. Anyone or anything that refuses to accept and adapt to the altered circumstances of life, is doomed to failure.

Embrace the ever evolving internet and the constant renewal of the blogging community. After all, it was the introduction of the brand new blogosphere that began the blogging revolution in the first place.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities at A Financial Revolution



The 178th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at Jeremy's business and finance blog known as A Financial Revolution.






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, and culture.








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

My post is titled "Lifelong learning: Personal empowerment is yours" where I discuss the value and benefits of learning and studying new skills and ideas for your entire life. The end is result is personal empowerment and control over your own life and destiny.



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 new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

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 tribute to nature and our feathered friends blog known as A DC Birding Blog.

In the meantime, head on over to the A Financial Revolution 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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Blog post ideas: The link roundup



Blog posting ideas present an ongoing challenge for even the most experienced and creative bloggers. For blog owners who post on at least a daily basis, the need to generate new blog posting topics is endless. At times, the blogger is faced with nothing at all about which to write. The dream is a post that presents itself on a regular ongoing basis.

Enter the blog link roundup post.

For one posting day a week, a blogger can devote the blog space to linking to some interesting and perhaps overlooked posts. The link roundup provides a mini-carnival type post that offers some real value to the blog's readership. By selecting and commenting upon some posts the writer found interesting and informative, two needs are satisfied. The blogger has a post idea and the readers have a pre-selected group of theme related posts to read.

Blog link roundups often appear on Friday. Bloggers who have made the link extravaganza part of their weekly routine appear to place it later in the week. Earlier in the week marks the arrival of blog carnivals. Later in the week, link sharing offers readers something to fill up their weekend blog reading activities. The avoidance of theme related blog carnivals is important to the success of the link roundup posting concept.

When writing a link roundup, try to limit the number of links provided in the post. Five to ten links seems an appropriate number, offering variety, while preventing link overload. Each post presented should include at least one or two lines of comment and introduction. Bare links with no other information are rarely clicked. As a result, the link roundup offers the reader little value. Think of helping your readers find information and the post works best.



Regular visitors to your blog will appreciate your finding and selecting posts that might be of interest to them. The time saving aspect of your post, for your readership, shouldn't be overlooked. You invested your time, so they can save their blog reading moments. That has value for everyone.

Bloggers receiving your roundup link will appreciate the gesture, and the extra SEO value resulting from the additional inbound link. Along with the SEO benefit for the linked blogger, there is some evidence that linking out to theme relevant blogs and websites will provide a search engine rankings boost to your own blog as well. Linking out to other blogs often results in links being returned to your blog, creating another win win situation for everyone.

Should you ever become bogged down with no idea as to what to post. Don't neglect the possibility of devoting one day per week to a link roundup. Simply select a group of your favourite posts from the week, and send your readers to them for information. Your efforts on your visitors' behalf will not go unnoticed.

It might be roundup time at your blog this week.

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