Rules in Setting Up A Blog

Step 1: Define Your Niche

Before you create a blog, it is important to decide on the theme or subject area your blog will cover.1 Two main factors should be considered when picking a topic to blog about, your audience and what you are passionate about, be it work or pleasure.

Determine Your Audience

Who your audience is will determine which type of blog host you use, the content of your blog, whether or not you publicize your blog and what

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What the heck is SEO?

This is a great question for those of you who have no idea or are a bit confused on what SEO really means.

SEO simply means search engine optimization or search engine optimizer. You might be saying okay now I know what those letter stand for but how the heck does it work?

I’ts the process of increasing the amount of visitors to your website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP-Short for search engine results). The higher a website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that your site will be visited by a user. It is common practice for Internet users to not click through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic toward your site. SEO helps to ensure that your site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine.

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Why you NEED to have your own Self-Hosted Blog

Every so often, I get an email from someone asking me to check out there blog that they are using to promote a business they are trying to grow, and give them feedback. Maybe they’ve heard of blogging and how it can help generate traffic because of the Search Engine benefits of having a blog. I can testify to that fact because ever since I started this blog, I started getting MUCH MORE traffic than I ever had before at my other static websites.

Many times, when I receive those requests, the blogs that are shown to me are either on Blogger.com or WordPress.com – Free blog hosting websites. Usually, when I receive these requests, my response is the same – get away from those sites and start your OWN hosted blog, one that you control and are free to do whatever you want with. This is advice that I received from one of my Mentors when I was getting ready to start my blog. In this article, I want to address why this should be done, however, lets first talk about these Free Services.

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A Little about WordPress and Blogger.

Blogger and WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) are amazing systems. They make it extremely EASY for anyone to sign up for an account, and start a blog, even without any significant technical expertise. Blogger, owned by google, has a very simple three step process to setting up a blog. You create and account, name your blog and then choose a template – That’s it! Your blog is up and running. WordPress is very similar to Blogger, and also allows for anyone to set up a free account and start blogging.

These blogging solutions are considered externally-hosted blogs because they are not hosted by YOU. The benefit is that they take care of providing the blogging software automatically. They also have some additional benefits of helping to drive traffic. However, there are some downfalls to using services like these.

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Why you should host your own blog

Free is good! However, Free is not always best. The problem with using blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress is that you do not own your blog. They are owned by Blogger and WordPress and they have the power to shut down your blog, whether you like it or not. When I first thought about getting into blogging, one of my mentors told me about a guy that did a lot of work with a blogger blog to grow his business to where he was making around $2,000 per month. Now, that’s $2000 extra dollars that can come in handy.

One day, he woke up to his blog being shut down by google, and never got a full reason why it was done. Because of that, his income dropped from $2000 to $0 overnight, and there was NOTHING he could do about it. Well, I guess he could’ve decided to start all over and grow it again to that point, but trust me . . . that can be a long a painful process. This is the biggest reason why I recommend for everyone to get their own self-hosted blog, but there’s more.

When you own your blog, you have the ability to do a lot more customization – something that comes in handy as your business grows. The possibilities are limitless and it provides you with much more space to grow. Owning your own blog is like having your own piece of virtual real estate. If you are serious about building an online business, this is essential.

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WordPress’ Self-hosted option

I spoke earlier about WordPress.com, but there’s another side to WordPress, and that is WordPress.org. This is THE industry standard for self-hosted blogs and is also a free script that you can install on your own hosting account. This is the route that I’ve chosen and is the preferred option among bloggers today. One of the great features of wordpress is that it’s a system where anyone can develop plugins to work with wordpress, which gives you a significant amount of options to what you can get your wordpress Blog to do. If you have an idea of something to add to your blog, chances are, there’s a plugin for it, and if not, one can be developed.

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The cost of owning your own blog

One of the great things about having an online business, is that it does NOT take a lot of money to get started. In the past, if you wanted to start a business that is to be successful, you needed to have a significant amount of startup capital, and in many cases, you needed to rent a physical building, and the costs just kept adding up. Fortunately, in this digital age we are living in, it’s quite affordable to have your own online Real Estate. Typical hosting accounts start around $5 per month (much less than renting a building for your business). For a few dollars more (around $8), you can host an unlimited amount of domains. In other words, you can have as many websites as you want.

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What are plugins for?

Plugins are add-ons to your wordpress blog. They extend the functionality of your site. There are thousands of plugins for wordpress, they are free and most of them are upgraded regularly. They can also be easily switched off. This makes wordpress very convenient, flexible and easy-to-customize software.

Plugins are software scripts. Plugin is usually a number of files compressed into archive that can be downloaded to your hard disk from plugin directories or from the site of the plugin. This is the official plugin directory: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ You don’t need to have programming skills when using most of the plugins but you have to read carefully the instructions given by the plugin author and follow them. If something is wrong with the plugin you should consult the plugin author. When selecting a plugin you should see to compatibility of the plugin with the version of your wordpress blog. Very often it is written in the description of the plugin. It is strongly recommended to make backup of your site in case something go wrong, before installing a plugin.

Here are some cool plugins you should look to add….

  • W3 Total Cache – This WordPress plugin is great for two reasons. First, it makes your pages load way faster. Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
  • HeadSpace: WordPress SEO Made Simple- Move over All in one SEO. There’s a new guy in town. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.
  • WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
  • Thank Me Later – This plugin is great. It sends an email to all first-time visitors. You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally. I do both.
  • SEO Smart Links – Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.

Have Fun!!!

Blogging-Why not?

The word “blog” is one of the most popular words on the internet today. This buzz word is one of the most popularly searched terms on the net because increasing numbers of people are trying to figure out what blogging is all about. A blog is a web log, or an online public diary or journal that is written for others to read. You can create blogs for personal reasons, educational and informational reasons, business and corporate reasons or a multitude of other uses and purposes depending on what suits your fancy.

As a marketing tool, blogs are full of all kinds of potential. Blogs have some truly unique characteristics as a marketing tool. First of all, they are much easier than newsletters when it comes to getting your idea across. They can be added to, and they can be updated at any time and from virtually anywhere. Blogs also have long lasting shelf lives, as they exist on the internet until you decide to remove them. This contrasts well to newsletters which have extremely short shelf lives, because once you send it out, it’s sent, then trashed, and gone. Unless you are just posting marketing materials that are deglossed, most blogs offer a large amount of credibility. Whether your blog is a personal blog or a business blog, viewers come to blogs expecting to find frank and personal perspectives on a topic that you are passionate about.

If you maintain your viewers and you respect the idea that you should be passionate about the content of your blog, then your credibility will go up, and this is what blogging is truly all about. Blogs are easy to syndicate, meaning that you can get your information and opinions out there, and can allow them to spread like wildfire. If you have an opinion to share, a product to sell, a brand to market or something else to say on the internet, and you think that people are going to want to read what it is that you have to say, then blogging is an excellent option for you to consider.

If you do not already have a blog that is associated with your business or your website, then now may very well be an excellent time for you to start blogging. You should not think that blogging is unnecessary simply because you are employing other strategies for marketing or communicating online. There are completely different dynamics when it comes to e-mail communication and blogging. Nothing facilitates conversation, communication and community the way that blogging does. There is no confusion about blogging being spam the way e-mails can be looked at as spam. Blogs have a long shelf life, meaning they last longer than e-mail correspondence and blogs work very well in conjunction with other forms of communication and methods of marketing as well.