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13 Steps to Successful Blogging

Blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable tool if used correctly. Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing the attention of an audience and not doing any actual salesmen selling. In this article you will learn the 13 most essential steps to successful blogging.

1) Where to start?

You should begin your weblog with a free weblog hosting service such as Journal Home or Blogger. Starting with a free weblog hosting service allows you to begin blogging instantly without having any advance knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. It allows you to focus on your content and not the internal maintenance of the weblog . The best benefit of starting with a free service is, in the case your weblog doesn't become successful you do not lose any money or are you left holding the bill. The great thing about a weblog is that they are organized in chronological order, your latest entry is displayed first. When your weblog traffic grows greatly and you are ready to upgrade to your own domain then you can simply make your last weblog entry the announcement of your "move". Simply add a last entry stating that your weblog has "moved" and type the new weblog URL address. Which directs visitors to your new weblog site, keeping your following, without a major inconvenience to anyone. Upgrade as you need to...but only when you need to!

2) Niche

A niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. You should first decide on a product, service, or topic which interest you. Choose an area which you can enthusiastically write about on a daily basis. You can use keyword research services like Google Zeitgeist or Yahoo! Buzz Index to find popular searched topics. It does NOT matter if your topic is popular as long as there is a audience for your topic and the topic is precisely focused then your weblog should be successful. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience no matter how large or how small the audience is. A weblog about your cat can be a niche or a weblog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market, if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family...you can even choose to build your audience for a market which an audience does not exist, but first you must build your weblog .

3) Update Daily (nothing less)

This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your weblog daily not only keeps your weblog more interesting to readers, but it also gives your weblog fresh content on a day to day making it more appealing to search engines. Not updating your weblog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most, but missing days at a time or weeks is unacceptable and will most likely result in your weblog being unsuccessful. To keep your weblog traffic and retain your visitors interest it is a must to update your weblog daily with multiple entries. You should try to update your weblog everyday with at least 3 or more daily entries. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your weblog and adding new entries. It may even be wise to schedule a set time which you dedicate to your weblog each day. Give yourself work hours and treat your weblog as a job, what happens if you don't come to work for days or weeks...you lose money or worse you get fired! Same applies here...if you don't update your weblog for days or weeks you'll lose visitors.

4) Traffic

It's no secret. You must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are numerous ways to build traffic. Paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth. You should always use your weblog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your weblog URL address to search engines and weblog directories. You should submit your RSS/XML URL feed to weblog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger. You should confidently share your weblog with family, friends, co-workers, associates, and business professionals when it relates. Many blogs can be considered as a collection of articles, for this purpose you should submit your weblog entries (those that are valuable and lengthy articles) to content syndicators like GoArticles.com or ArticleCity.com. Once submitted your articles can be picked up and published by others. The trick is to make sure you include your Blog URL address in the "About the Author" passage. What this does is create link popularity and backlinks for your weblog , when someone picks up your article from the syndication then publish the article on their web site the "About the Author" passage is included with each publication and the link you included is followed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. Imagine if your article is popular enough or controversial enough to produce 10,000 publications across the web. The search engines is bound to find your site in no time with that many publications and credit you a authority on the topic, in return increasing your rank on search engines. The small effort of writing a well written article is rewarding. You should try to write at least 1 full length article every week for syndication and submit your article to at least 10 article syndicators.

5) Track Your Blog

How do you know if your weblog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn't mean your weblog isn't growing. Many visitors do not leave comments but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy but with blogs people are more interested in what "you" have to say! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all, but are active daily visitors.

Tracking your weblog does not have to be overly sophisticated usually a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com or Active Meter will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the html of your weblog template and start tracking your visitors. Its better to use a service which gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking information, referral information, and search engine information. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.

6) Listen to Your Audience

When using the proper page counter you should begin to see how others are finding your weblog and if through search engines then which keywords are being used to find your weblog . If constantly your weblog is being found by 1 or more keywords then focus your weblog around those keywords to make it even more powerful. When writing entry titles and entries use the keywords as often as possible while keeping the weblog legible and interesting.

7) Multiple blogs

Use multiple blogging accounts to attract more people. This means you should have a weblog with JournalHome.com, Blogger.com, LiveJournal.com, Blog-City.com, tBlogs.com, etc. The more weblog accounts the better. You can copy/paste from 1 weblog to all others. Having different weblog accounts is like having a publication in different newspapers. This enables you to attract more visitors and this also increases the chance that 1 of your blogs will be in the search engine results for your focused keywords.

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8) Short & Concise

Aside from the lengthy article a week for syndication and publication your weblog entries should be short & concise (if you can help it). Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule and you have no choice but to weblog lengthy entries, but try to avoid this as much as possible. You do not want your weblog entries to become hours of reading. Visitors like to easily find information and skim through your entries. It is good to be detailed and provide useful information, but do not include useless information or run away sentences that veer away from your topic.

9) Digital Art

Try to include non-advertising graphics, pictures, photos, and art in your weblog entries. Not too much. Once a week is fine. Graphics can sometimes bring your weblog to life. Of course, the content of the weblog is the most important aspect and you do not want to overshadow your content with graphics, but displaying graphics can add a bit of spice to the weblog . Be choosy about your graphics and make sure they fit your entry topic. You should add content with the graphic, at least a caption. Original graphics, photos, pictures, and art is recommended.

10) Keep it Personal

A weblog is most successful when it is kept personal. Try to include personal experiences which relates to the topic of your weblog entry. Stay away from the business style of writing. Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives. Do not write any of your entries as sales letters, instead share product reviews and personal endeavors.

11) Interact With Your Visitors

You now have the traffic you deserve. You should begin interacting with your visitors. Create a regular theme such as: "Monday Money Tip" or "Picture of the Week" which entices your readers to look forward to each week.

Give your readers advance notice about a product, service, or topic which you are going to review and then talk about later. If the President was scheduled to give a speech then in your weblog you should state that you "will discuss the speech and give your opinion after the speech airs. Comments will be appreciated".

Try your best to find exclusive information that not many have. Do not disclose any confidential or secret information which is deemed illegal or can potentially get you into trouble, but try to get the scoop before everyone else does. Such as: If your weblog was about Paris Hilton (the socialite) and you had a weblog entry about "Paris Hilton Getting Married" then it would be interesting to your readers if you had a actual picture of Paris Hilton engagement ring. Give your best effort to dig and search the internet for exclusive information and you will possibly come up with something useful. Your readers will appreciate this and they show their appreciation through word-of-mouth referrals. Imagine how many readers will tell their friends, family, and others about information they only can find at your weblog .

12) Make Money

Once your weblog has gained some real momentum and your weblog traffic is increasing then it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. You should use contextual advertising, like Google Adsense or Chitika. Contextual advertising is usually text links which use the content of your weblog to publish targeted ads on your weblog . The payout is usually based on a pay-per-click model, meaning for ever click an ad receives you are paid a small percentage of the profits. In addition to contextual advertising it is good to also use graphical advertising such as: BlogAds.com, Amazon.com, MammaMedia, or General Sponsored Advertising.

13) You're a Professional

You're a professional now! What are you still doing with that free weblog hosting service? It is time to upgrade to a domain hosted solution. You need to get a web host and choose a domain name for your weblog then check its availability. Select the blogging software you wish to use, such as: Squarespace.com, WordPress.org, MovableType.org, etc. When you have your new weblog domain setup and ready for traffic then it is time for you to announce your move on all your previous weblog accounts. Your last entry to the weblog should be a "move" announcement. The title should be "Moved" and the weblog entry should state something like "Old Blog has been moved to New Blog please follow and bookmark this link for future reference: http://www.YourNewBlogDomainName.com". This way all returning visitors and new readers should not have any problem finding your new weblog domain.

At the level of a professional blogger you may want to team up with 1 or more other bloggers. This will create a more interesting and more powerful weblog . The old saying "two heads is better than one", more authors mean more advertising and exposure because each author will have a vested interest in the weblog . The idea of a team weblog is to make it profitable and rewarding for all authors, while continuing to target the weblog topic and keeping the weblog interesting for visitors.

Following these blogging techniques should make your blogging experience much more rewarding. There is no guarantee that your weblog will become popular or a household name, but the effort should at least put you one step closer. Making money online is not an overnight experience like many may think, but making money online is definitely a foreseeable possibility. As well, growing popularity on the web is not an overnight experience, but through time, dedication, and persistence you will be rewarded with all the royalties of blogging.

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Ant Onaf is the owner and founder of www.JournalHome.com He is an online internet marketer, content writer, and IT consultant. Ant Onaf has years of IT-related experience and Internet-related experience. His ingenuity, dedication, and passion for technology, internet marketing, & writing have made him a monumental icon in the World Wide Web. His weblog can be visited at http://www.journalhome.com/AntOnaf

Blogging for Profit Using AdSense

This article is designed to teach you how to profit from blogging, writing to a web site in the form of regular posts, without spending anything. The keys to this idea lie in two of Google's programs, Blogger.com and AdSense.

The first obvious step is to find a niche. While it is possible to have a general interest weblog , it may not be as profitable as targeting a specific subject (click here to read the logic behind targeted advertising).

Once you settled on a subject you like, its time to set up your weblog . Blogger.com is great for beginners. Not only is it free (and free of ads, unlike most free hosting services), it has integrated support for AdSense (more on this later). For now, pick a suitable but catchy name and choose one of the pre-made designs.

Of course, now you have to start making posts to your weblog . There are two main types of posts. The most common type of content on blogs seems to be commentary plus a link to the actual news source or web site of interest. Then there are original content posts which will have others link to you (much like you do in your commentary posts). Either way, make sure its interesting to have readers coming back.

Now its time to apply for Google's AdSense program. AdSense is a pay per click program which matches ads to the content of your page. Every time a visitor to your site clicks on one of these links, you receive a small amount of revenue (the minimum advertisers can bid for a link is $0.05, of which you receive a percentage. Many phrases can have bids as high as several dollars per click).

The content of your site determines what ads appear, and therefore how much you will ultimately make. The placement and appearance of ads, however, can have just as great an impact on how much you make.

There are a few tips for maximizing ad revenue. First, the appearance of the add itself is important. Google clearly labels all its units as advertising, but allows you to determine the colors of the links and the background. It is important that this match the look of your site. The more blatant an ad is, the more likely it is to turn off visitors. Just as important is the location of the ad units. They should appear on the top half of your page, and preferably on the left side. This insures the ad is viewed by most visitors.

Having covered the basics, its now time for you to experiment to discover what works best for your new weblog . The best part is, it costs nothing to try.

Chris Rivers is a writer for http://www.ClickForDeals.net. Visit the site to learn more about maximizing profits through affiliate and pay per click programs. Articles appear on the site exclusively one week before they are syndicated.

Blogging can run your entire web site

Blogging is a term that means different things to different people. To some people it means keeping an online journal. To others blogging is about creating a community of people who can contribute to a growing discussion on a specific topic. To me, however, blogging is about creating and running an entire web site. That's because blogging can actually be used as a complete content management system for almost any web site.

There are several reasons why you should consider using weblog pages to run your entire web site. These include:

* You can make changes to your web site content without the need for specialist software

* You can make changes to your content from anywhere you can access the web; you don't need to be at your PC.

* You can make changes to content quickly - more quickly than with software.

* You can make changes to content without incurring cost - unlike using a web design agency.

* You can use blogs to create content with colleagues, working as a team - something that's more difficult and more costly with software.

All of these benefits can be obtained free of charge using Blogger.com to run your pages. To use Blogger.com as a content management system, take the following steps:

1. Create a web page template for your entire site.

2. Include Blogger.com 'tags' for each weblog entry within your template. The key tags you will need are: <$BlogItemTitle$> and <$BlogItemBody$>. These tags will insert the title and the text for each item you enter into your weblog .

3. Set up each page of your web site as a separate weblog using the 'advanced' settings.

4. For each weblog , use your template code as the template within Blogger.com

5. Post a single entry into each weblog , which is the main content for your page.

6. Publish your weblog ! That's it!

In the future, you will be able to change the content or add to it, simply by logging onto Blogger.com, choosing the appropriate weblog (or page of your web site) and then editing the post item.

People are beginning to realize the potential for content management using blogs. You no longer have to see blogs in terms of a single page that is added to your web site. Instead, you can view blogging as the way you run your web site.

If you want answers to the top blogging questions you can get a free guide to the Top 15 Questions on Blogging from: http://www.infoselling.com/blogging/howtoblog.htm

Graham Jones is a psychologist who has specialized in the way we use the Internet. He is an author of 27 books and thousands of articles. He runs Infoselling.com where you can get a FREE report on how to sell your own information products, ebooks, reports and articles online.

http://www.infoselling.com

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