Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere, 184 million people in the world have started a blog. With that many people engaging in regular posting, blogs have become a standard way of discussing topics of interest. Regularly commenting on blogs can be a valuable tool for building relationships and gaining SEO links in the major search engines.
How do comments build relationships?
When you regularly read and comment on the same blog, that blog’s owner is likely to take notice. In many cases, this can establish a relationship between you and the blog owner, almost in the same way that having regular discussions with a coworker might. This connection can be established in as little as a few weeks, and can lead to offline discussions and networking opportunities for each of you. If there is a person you want to make a business connection with, but they are a stranger, seeking out the person’s blog and regularly posting comments is an excellent way to open the door.
How can comments build SEO Links?
The more links you have to your website, the higher your page rank is going to be. Comment on blogs is a great way to increase your link count.
When commenting on blogs, you don’t have to use your real name when you post. Instead, using your name followed by a keyword will help gain some search engine indexing (for example: Bonnie the Web Designer). Most blogs will give you the option of linking back to a web site when you leave a comment. Be sure to take advantage of this option by entering your URL. It even better to link to a specific page in your site that you’re trying to get indexed using the keyword you’ve chosen.
How do I find blogs to comment on?
- Word of Mouth
- Blog directories
- Following people on Twitter
- Using keywords in search engines
Does the topic of the blog matter?
It is going to be considered a more relevant link if the topic of the blog relates to your business. But even blogs that are unrelated give you a link back to your site. So if you’ve chosen to comment on a blog for your hobby, let’s say, still use the strategy of your name + keyword to gain a link back to your site.
Aren’t Blogs No-Follow Links?
It’s true that the default for some blog platforms (like WordPress), is to have no-follow links. But serious bloggers often override the default and switch to do-follow links. They do this to encourage commenting since they know people are more likely to comment if it has a positive effect on SEO. Serious bloggers will say if their comments are do-follow are not. Simple Web Toolbox is a do-follow link blog.
The business blog is unlike almost any other kind of blog. This is a specialist audience, and it wants information. Opinions, this audience can take or leave, but information quality is critical. If you’ve ever seen induction software, with its painstaking attention to basic detail, that’s the sort of quality you need.
Business blog basics
Structure is important. A business blog should be laid out clearly, preferably in a format where the information is easy to find and with headers. The basic structure is:
Headline: Topic named, with basic info
First paragraph: Set up the topic, explaining the subject issues.
Second paragraph: This should be in narrative form, creating a logical sequence of events. It’s best to have clear continuity, so readers aren’t left wondering what happened in the intermediate steps. This doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it does have to be clear.
Third and subsequent paragraphs: This is the discussion zone, with additional information, again set out with clear continuity.
Graphics: If you’ve got a good source, use graphics as illustrators and space savers for text. Do not use over complex materials which may not work well as thumbnails. Captions should be simple and topical.
Links: Hyperlinks are valuable, but don’t think of them as de facto supporters of your blog information. Not everyone goes through every link, and too many links can be counterproductive.
Writing a business blog
Bloggers are often considered simultaneously arrogant, opinionated, and ignorant. That’s not where you need to be, if you want a readership. The business blog has some rules for writers:
Do not assume anything about your readership. One of the greatest possible mistakes in a business blog is to “write down” to the reader. The readership for business blogs includes the world’s top business people. Giving them “the cat sat on the mat” as information isn’t likely to go down too well. People can get away with that in political and entertainment blogs, but not in business.
Get your facts straight. Double check your information to make sure you’re not providing information which can easily be proven wrong. Be careful that your own text isn’t ambiguous or easy to misinterpret. (This happens with a sort of hideous normality, even for experienced business writers. A few words can throw your whole article off track.) Business readers won’t just blithely accept information which is inaccurate, or logic which is off the mark.
Don’t bore the readers. Select material which is interesting, contains depth and scope for thought, and is literally worth reading. Avoid turgid or too-detailed content like a train wreck.
Make sure your information is current and forward looking. An article which relates to the future is more likely to be interesting than a post-mortem on one of the market disasters. Don’t go nuts with predictions, but qualify what you have to say with information from reputable sources.
A business blog is a bit like a learning management system. It includes a structured approach to creation of information. When you get your structure right, you’ll have a beautiful business blog, and plenty of readers who are reading because they want what you have to offer.
Blogging has become a mainstream method for reaching out to potential customers. But many small businesses do not have the time to invest in a regular blogging routine. So how do you capture the opportunities it has to offer if you don’t have the time to participate?
Find complimentary colleagues
Look within your industry and put together a group of 3-5 complimentary colleagues. They should offer services that compliment your own but do not compete. As a group you should be able to offer a complete package to your potential customers.
For example, I participate in the Possibilities Unlimited blog, which is comprised of a consortium of businesses coaches. Their blog pulls together knowledge from:
All four of us are entrepreneurs, and we have extensive experience with sales growth and business management. Together we have created a blog that allows us to share our expertise without having to write articles every day.
Who should manage the blog?
As the creator, you should be in charge of the blog. You should be responsible for inviting writers, which also means you have the right to let a writer know when it’s not working out. Style and publishing calendar would be under your control, so you will be able to optimize it for your business message.
At the same time, you would be responsible for technical upkeep. If you pay a developer to assist with this, it is fair to ask the contributing bloggers to pay a portion of the upkeep.
How should I brand the blog?
It’s not a bad thing to brand the blog separate from yourself. Simple Web Toolbox was created by Landau Design, but we have branded it as its own entity so that people who do not work for us can also write for us.
Choose a name for your blog that fits the umbrella theme. For example, the Possibilities Unlimited team has a marketing message about “winning in the game of business“. Their blog is called “Consulting2Win“.
How do I invite writers?
Before you begin to invite writers, it’s a good idea to put together some guidelines for participation. These guidelines should include:
- Description of the blog theme and the topics it will include.
- How often they are expected to write.
- Meetings or conference calls they will be expected to participate in.
- The topics you want them to cover.
- The length of articles you expect.
- Any formatting or graphics you will require.
- The submission process (do they input it themselves or send it to you and you will input it).
- The promotional activities they are expected to provide (i.e. Twitter, facebook, email newsletter promotion, etc.).
- Links expected from their website.
- Explanation of what the distribution would be if money is made.
What if it doesn’t work out?
Just like any business, you will have to manage this group like employees. Having guidelines gives them an understanding of expectations. If they do not fulfill the requirements for participation, you need guidelines for what should happen next.
For example, if somebody misses their copy deadline more than 2 times, will they be asked to leave? Or would that be an indication they cannot write so frequently so you would reduce their articles per month and bring in a new writer? It’s up to you to determine the guidelines that will keep everything running smoothly.
Do you already have a collaborative blog?
We’d love to hear your ideas on what works in a group blogging situation and what you have done to make it a success. Please share your ideas in the comments.
I first came across the work of Mike CJ (@mikecj) while perusing Twitter for blogging information. He and Nathan Hangen (@nhangen) collaborated on a brilliant idea – Beyond Blogging. In this book they interview 15 six-figure bloggers who share their detailed secrets of blogging success.
So it was no surprise to me when I heard that in one year Mike had helped his wife Julie create Lanzarote Information, a successful blog about the island they live it. It also didn’t surprise me when I heard he’d written a case study about their success, because he’s clearly a successful writer. What truly did surprise me, and pleased me, is that he shared all this great information for FREE in his case study: The blog that went from zero to full time income in one year.
Many of our clients ask us questions about blogging:
- How much time does it take?
- How much effort do I have to put in?
- What should I write about?
- Can I make money off my blog?
- How can I make money?
- How do I get people to read my blog?
Reading Mike’s case study is a real-life example that answers all these questions. I was amazed at the level of detail he shared, including the specific amount of monthly income they achieved. One of the most interesting parts of the case study is when he shares the creative advertising program they developed, and how they were approached by multi-national corporations for advertising space on the blog.
But I think the best thing about Mike’s case study is the example it provides for the patience and perseverance that are required to have a successful blog. He talks about the specific steps they took each month, and the quantity of content generated from Julie’s dedicated efforts. People want their new blog to be successful in a heartbeat, but that is not the reality in the blogosphere. Mike has shown that anybody can do it, if you are willing to work through the challenging days and wait it out until success flows in.
In writing a review I often believe I should look at both the good and not-so-good. But I really couldn’t find anything to be critical about. If you are serious about blogging, I strongly suggest you read Mike’s e-book, The blog that went from zero to full time income in one year. It will give you a very realistic picture of what you will need to do in order to succeed. He’s giving it away for free, so what have you got to lose?
Blog contests are gaining more popularity as bloggers begin to see the benefits that a simple contest or giveaway can bring.
Why Run a Contest?
Running a contest can double the amount of traffic coming through your site. Making sure you advertise your contest will drive more people to your blog to see and enter. Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and ask your followers on Twitter to retweet your contest information and they’ll gain an entry to the contest. Word of mouth is key, and who doesn’t like free stuff?
You can also list your contest at sites like these:
New Traffic means new readers as well. People who stop by to enter themselves in your contest might also find themselves enjoying the content of the rest of your blog, and come back for more.
Giving away the right prize for your readers can produce a sense of loyalty and an eagerness to come back. Make sure you’re giving away things that are of interest to your particular group of followers, and things that somehow pertain to your particular expertise. Books, CD’s and gift certificates are popular giveaways.
Relationships with Marketers
When your blog generates enough comments and traffic, marketers will be interested in teaming up with you to promote their products, and often this means they will provide you with free products to use as prizes in your contests. This means free advertising for them, and no out of pocket expense for you to run your contest.
Running a successful contest can take time and practice, but judging from the success of other bloggers, blog contests can be a real way to help your blog become successful and popular.
We found some blogs that are currently having their own contests, check them out!
We want to hear from you! Have you run a contest on your blog? What were the results, and what did you learn for next time?