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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Domains vs Free Blogs

There are many people who like to use free blogs not just for the enjoyment and personal satisfaction of writing down their thoughts and publishing them on the web, but also for Internet Marketing purposes in the pursuit of making money. Likewise, there are many people who prefer to buy their own domains and host them on a professional server, for much the same purpose.

So is one really better than the other?

As this is an Internet Marketing flavored blog, we’ll leave the bloggers who blog for enjoyments sake to their own and take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the two options open to those that want to use these different outlets as vehicles for making money.

First up, lets take initial startup and running costs of the two sides of this debate.

A free blog will cost you zero dollars to acquire, zero dollars to set up and zero dollars to run. Ok, that’s pretty convincing for anyone without much cash to start their own online enterprise.

A hosted domain will cost you the price of buying and registering the domain, currently you can buy and register a .com for around $10 – $15. Then there’s the cost of hosting, although currently you can get good hosting for as little as $4.95 a month, although you might want to pay a little more and get a package with more features. Either way, you can easily find very good professional hosting for less than $10 a month. The only other running cost is the annual registration of the domain. So for an outlay in your first year of around $100 or so you can have all the benefits and control that a hosted account will give you. Even if you are short of cash, that is one expense that is easy enough to cover as the hosting part isn’t paid all in one go, but spread over 12 monthly payments.

So far so good. Now, lets look at the fringe benefits.

Free blogs have some pretty good, easy to use templates and are the simplest things set up and start writing. Ads are easy to include with Blogger blogs, although some platforms, notably WordPress won’t let you put any ads up at all.

A self hosted blog is also fairly straightforward to set up, with a huge selection of very high quality free templates and a lot of amazing premium themes. There is no problem over displaying ads – its your site so you can put up whatever you want.

Now lets look at the stickier point of control and ownership.

I’ve heard using free blogs as opposed to self hosted domains likened to the difference between renting an apartment and owning your own home. Nice comparison and it fits very well.

With a free blog, you’re only renting the space. If the owner (Blogger, for instance) decides they don’t like your face, they can at their discretion, suspend or even delete your blog. The content on that free blog may be yours in principle, but when it comes to what the search engines see, that content belongs to Blogger.

With a self hosted domain, you own that piece of cyberspace like its a piece of real estate. No one can take it away from you and the content is yours. If you’ve worked real hard on your site and gained a lot of authority, just like a home that you own you can sell that site with the domain for a hefty profit down the line.

With a free blog, as with a rented apartment, no matter how hard you work on it and how much authority and value it gets, you can never sell it.

There are other advantages and disadvantages to both, such as guaranteed uptime, storage space and bandwidth limits that self hosted beats free hosted hands down, but the main advantage of self hosted over free hosted has to be the real estate value, which, just as with the argument for renting or buying a property, you have to ask yourself this question. Do you want to control it as well as have the option to sell it down the line and profit from it?

I prefer to own my own home rather than rent. Likewise, I prefer to own my own cyber real estate too.

Video Is Bigger Than I Thought

I have to admit it, I miscalculated. I knew video marketing was growing, but I had no idea it was THIS big. I’m going to give you some examples of what I’m talking about in a second. But trust me on this, if you’re not using video in some way to promote your business, you’re missing out big time.

Okay, now for the examples:

First let me start off by saying that I usually get most of my traffic and sales from article marketing and blogging simply because I do write a lot and I am good at it. Problem is, it’s a time consuming process. Sure, there are voice to text technologies that can make it go a little faster, but it still takes time to compose an article or blog post.

Well, not to long ago, I started getting into videos. I began with one that was simply for fun. It was a video of me teaching my (mythical) “son” about article marketing.

But then I started getting into more serious videos and I started a series called the “Real Truth About Making Money Online.” This series has gotten quite a few visitors with very little promotion. It really doesn’t take a lot to get videos seen because YouTube is so big these days. Basically just putting up a video and doing just a little promotion is going to get you views. And if your videos get picked up by other sites, well, that’s just a bonus.

I also made a video of me playing the guitar and I’ve actually gotten some pretty cool feedback on that one.

Point is, by doing all these videos (I think I’ve done about 20 so far) I am beginning to make a name for myself as a video marketer, which in my opinion is just another name for an internet marketer who does videos. Now, if you do videos that are good quality, well, you’ve got it made because these are gold.

But why? Why are videos gold, especially if you’re physically in them?

The reason is recognition and credibility. See, when somebody can actually see who you are, they’re more likely to trust what you have to say. Let’s face it, the internet can be a scary place and it’s hard to tell who you can trust and who you have to stay away from. Video makes this process a little easier for the prospect, especially if you come across as genuine and sincere, and actually give some value in your videos. On top of that, you can put a link to your website in the description for the added bonus of more traffic and sales.

So, if you really want to increase your online earnings, get into video marketing and start creating videos around the topics your business is about.

7 Ideas for Newsletter Content

You have a very nice growing list of subscribers to your newsletter. Sometimes it’s hard to find new ideas to add or if you’re new at this, what type of content you want. If you display your newsletter for visitors to read, then your goal is keep them interested and eventually become subscribers and of course, you want to keep your subscribers subscribed.

Here are seven ideas for newsletter content:

1. Newsletters are great for informing and keeping your subscribers/readers up-to-date on current happenings or upcoming events. Make announcements about online workshops, web conferencing or new project ideas. For something extra, you may want to publish special holiday editions during the holiday season.

2. Ask the expert or have a Q&A/poll section. This is a great way to generate feedback, encourage participation and readers’ interest.

3. Product or ebook reviews. This is a benefit for you. By doing product or ebook reviews, it’s a great way to increase sales. You know the saying; people will buy from people they know and trust. Of course, you will be offering something of value and you both win.

4. Offer a freebie. Who doesn’t like freebies? It could be anything really. If they subscribe to your newsletter, you can give them a sneak preview by allowing them to download a chapter or two of your ebook. If they are interested, they can purchase the ebook at a discounted price. Or give them a free report on something relevant in the industry. The sky’s the limit when it comes to freebies.

5. Profile subscribers. This is a nice way of getting to know your subscribers and to show them your appreciation. Don’t you think they may have something to offer and share with the group that would be beneficial?

6. Helpful tips. You don’t need to have a full-fledged article to be considered informative and resourceful. Simple, easy to remember tips can go a long way.

7. Mix it up and offer a joke of the day, smile of the week, inspirational quotes or even a brain teaser. All work and no fun can become a stressful day. A quick pick-me-up can do the trick for early starters and late workers who need just a bit more energy before they call it a day.

Your newsletter doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to have useful content so you will get more subscribers and keep your current ones excited for your next update.

Where to Find Article Writing Ideas

OMG, it’s one of those days! My area of expertise is in work at home and I have loads of knowledge on the topic, so how come I can’t think of anything to write? You’d think there is a huge array of topics to write about, right? I also have a health blog and several other blogs that I shouldn’t ever run of things to write about, but you know I sometimes do. It happens. It’s not so much that I run out of things to write, it’s what I want to write about.

Here are some sources that have helped me find topics to pursue and research. They may help you as well if you ever get the dreaded writers block.

1. Forums. These are an excellent place to get ideas for article writing. An active forum with a lot of inquiring minds can easily jumpstart a topic.

2. Television or radio. Often times there is something that have caught my attention or a tidbit that I found interesting. Off I go to do some research on it.

3. Magazines, newsletters, newspapers. Same reason as #2. There are many great topics in print that are interesting, thought provoking, controversial and opinionated.

4. Google Alerts. You can receive the latest news on your choice of query. They are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search term. A great way to find topics according to your interests.

5. Social Media. Look at what people are talking about today or questions they are asking, and see if there’s anything related to your blog niche that you can write about.

6. Article Directories. Check out the popular articles in whatever section your niche is in and see if there are any good ideas that you can put your own spin on to write a blog post.

7. Other Blogs. There’s a ton of writing inspiration to be found by reading through your competitors (or friends) blogs. You can easily find topics that you can expand on or rewrite in your own views and experiences on the subject.

Like creative ideas, topics can come about in many different and sometimes unexpected ways. With that in mind, try keeping a notepad and pen with you or close to you. Keep your eyes and ears open because everything can be a topic starter; it just depends if it fits in with the content of your blog(s) and whether you want to write about it or not.

Send Your Blog Traffic Skywards With This Blog Boosting Ballyhoo!

Being an avid blogger with a perpetually growing menagerie of websites, blogs, web 2.0 sites, and other online properties; I know full well the importance of promoting those windows onto the various rooms in my creative writer’s mind. There are several methods of getting the word out to the general content hungry public and I’ll cover a few of my favorite here in this post.

Let’s start with “commenting your way to the top” as I like to call it.

So, what do I mean by that? I’m glad you asked. Let me explain…

Blogs are very special content medium, in that they allow a two way interaction between blogger and reader in the form of comments. If a visitor to a blog likes what they are reading, they may feel moved to comment on a particular post. If the blogger is enthusiastic about what he does, he’ll reply to the comment. Other readers may also get involved in the conversation and what you end up with is a social meeting place of like minded people who are all able, thanks to the beauty of the comment box, to exchange thoughts, ideas and information.

So a blog can also become a social networking platform if sorts.

So far, so good. How does a blogger (like me) take advantage of this?

By getting into the blogosphere and visiting lots of other blogs that inhabit the same niche, a blogger can not only get a good deal of inspiration and alternative viewpoints on a variety of subjects, but he can comment on other bloggers’ posts.

That has a severalfold positive effect.

  • He becomes known to the blog owner he just commented in – more so if he comments regularly
  • He becomes known to the regular readers of the blog
  • Those readers may well click his link back to his own blog out of interest
  • If the blog is a “Do Follow” supporter, he gets a free, one-way back-link to his blog

Let’s analyze these points a little.

Points 1 and 2 are obvious – networking gets you known and raises your online profile and that of your blogs/sites.

Point 3 is a major benefit, because it means more targeted traffic to your blog. If you write well and your posts are interesting and entertaining enough those people may well become regular readers of your blog too.

Point 4 can be a killer benefit. There are a lot of “Do Follow” supporters and a good number of high authority blogs are in on the movement.

Note: For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, “Do Follow” is a plugin or coding that cancels out the hard-coded “rel=nofollow” in the HTML of most blogs which effectively blocks the search engines from accrediting you with the backlink from your comments. In other words, “Do Follow” blogs give you real backlinks from your comments.

This means that newer bloggers have an incredible chance to not only get indexed by the search engines fast by commenting on these higher PR blogs, but they also boost their chances of a higher authority and rankings for their own blogs by creating enough of them from lots of different sources.

These points makes it so worthwhile writing and hosting an excellently written blog and making friends with other bloggers by writing good, relevant, creative and thought provoking comments in their blogs. Because don’t forget, real bloggers strictly moderate their comments and simply won’t approve any old rubbish. Spammers don’t get a look in!

So, as you can see, commenting is a great way to promote yourself and your blog(s)!

Okay, now, let’s continue one to another powerful method of attracting visitors to your website/blog…

Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube, Stumbleupon, or any of the MANY others out there – you can make a name for yourself while also promoting your blog to a high number of potential visitors.

The great value of belonging to these social networking sites is that you can relatively easily build up a new readership and get a flood of traffic to your blog quite quickly in some cases. This boils down to the fact that once they get to know you, they’ll be beating a path to your door as long as what you’ve got to offer is what they want.

And what do most people want?

They want to know how to make money online of course. Even the ones who vehemently shake their heads when you mention earning a few bucks for their trouble won’t turn down some easy money if you tell them how to get it. So for internet marketers who run their own “make money” blogs, such as this one, this is an excellent way to attract a large number of curious people to your own information stockpile.

But you better be ready to give away some juicy secrets and money making techniques that really work, or they will soon get bored and go someplace else. The trick is to have some really top quality articles ready and waiting for their inquisitive eyes to soak up. If they like what you’ve got and you show them that you are following up regularly with quality posts, then they will keep coming back for more and hey presto – your site visitor stats go way up, which likely means your earnings will too.

I’ll bring you some more inspiring insights into the fascinating world of social networking and the eternal quest for more quality traffic in future posts.

Continuing on to the next strategy…

In order to escalate the exposure and ultimately the popularity of your own blog, you need to use all the best free promotional techniques at your disposal to spread the word as widely and quickly as possible around the internet. Here is another great, zero cost method of exposing your blog to a greater number of readers.

It’s called Guest Blogging.

Yep, writing as a guest blogger in other people’s blogs is a surefire way to get yourself and your blog(s) known to a much wider circle of blog readers and fellow bloggers. It works beautifully because the concept is so simple.

You write in your usual style and standard so that your guest blogging posts are every bit as good as what you would write in your own blogs. The readers of the blog you are guest blogging in will naturally see and read your posts. Assuming they like what they see then natural human curiosity takes over and they will most likely click on your link at the end of your post and visit your own blog to see what else you’re writing about.

If you author several blogs of your own, you can make this great method work for you by doing this intelligently. Simply by changing the links in your sign-off paragraph to point to a different blog for every post you make and you’ll spread the word around about all of your blogs.

Of course you need to be sensible about this and don’t go spamming lots of links in a single post as that will likely get you banned from further posting in someone else’s blog and greatly diminish the impact gained from the links anyway.

Perhaps you don’t want to keep changing links for every guest post you make, especially if you have a lot of other blogs. The simple solution to getting all of your blogs seen is to only link to your main blog and from your guest posts, then make sure you have prominent links to all your other blogs from there.

You don’t need to go crazy, but it’s a good idea to do one or two guest blogging spots per week in different blogs if you can. That way you spread yourself around enough so that lots of different people will see your posts and you are getting a lot of exposure to your content.

Well, there you have it, 3 very powerful (and free) ways to skyrocket your blog traffic and earnings! Try them. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.