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The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part One: Content Is King

My fellow writers at the Absolute Writers Forum (known lovingly as the AW Water Cooler or just Cooler) are the reason for these next series of articles so I wish to thank them.

In the next few series of articles, I will try and deal with some of the very basic technical jargon and skills that one needs when facing this daunting world of web-site creation, blogging and getting listed and noticed by the Search Engines. Some of this I take from things I posted at AW and others from my own articles on Web Creation and still others from my own weblog , Cobwebs Of The Mind (see resource for URL).

Let us start with the few important factors that are required today on the web. There are quadrillions of articles on this, most very poorly written, but the message is always the same.

On the web today, "content is king". But that is not all their is to that rule. Let us change it a bit to fit the reality of the web, search engines, and the sophisticated algorithms being deployed by the search engine trinity of: Google, Yahoo & MSN.

"Content is King, but Original Content is the King of Kings."

Okay - that is the first cardinal rule you MUST understand about the web today. Now what does this mean?

There are essentially three factors in this equation:

1. You must have content - words, phrases, information - on your web site.

2. You should have "original" content on your web site. This is content which either you have created or have gotten permission to reproduce on your web site. It should be "original". Copying content from a web site, and putting it in your weblog , where that content has been reproduced in thousands of other web-sites, is not going to help your Google ranking (and you may even be penalized for it.) This does NOT mean that everything, every single phrase and post and article you put up on the web has to be original and not repeated elsewhere. What it does mean though, is that the majority of your web site or weblog should be just that - YOURS.

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3. Your content should constantly grow. You should be adding to it on a daily or bi-daily basis. Stagnant blogs and web sites are noticed for being stagnant - dead. They drop so fast in Search Engine (search engine) rankings you have no clue! Web sites demand nurturing and work. They do NOT run on auto mode. (Just look at how much time you spend with your weblog !)

Now as to why and how.

Search Engines look for content. They have developed very sophisticated algorithms to check content. To see if this content is original, or they are coming across the millionth time they have seen the same thing. This is all mathematical btw. And this is NOT the only thing they look that. (We will get to those other things in our next posts). However, Content is critical. Lets give two examples.

1. Ever notice how fast some popular Forums get indexed in the Search Engines. This is due to the fact that they have an incredible amount of page hits, and that they exist for POSTS. Posts on forums are ORIGINAL for the most part. So engines look for the Content, forums have this, they list them, they see original content - the forum moves up the list, and thus more people find the forum in the search, more people hit the forum pages, more "hits" and "eyeballs" are registered back on the Search Engine servers, and the forum keeps on moving up. The more hits - by mathematics - the more posts. The more posts the more original content. The more original content the better the listing. The better the listing - the more people find the forum. Getting the picture? A never-ending circle of success.

2. For those of you in doubt as to whether Search Engines can "read" content just take a look at Adsense and Adwords. When you go to a site with them, adverts are fed out based upon the: 1: Content of the page you are on, and 2) Your IP address to determine which country and language you speak. Since I am in Israel, I am never surprised if I hit a site say that is discussing a topic and has adsense, and though this site is totally in English and geared to people in New York City, some of the adsense adverts are in Hebrew based upon the content of the page I am on. The algorithm finds key words (more on those later) and feeds out the adverts.

So our first lesson on Search Engines and ranking and all that good stuff is about Content. Remember the rule.

Related: Indexes Content - Free Content Webmasters

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Copyright 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular weblog , Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.

10 Tips to Better Business Blogging

Blogging opens up a new way of communication, but having a weblog is just the beginning of a journey to the exciting blogosphere. Owning a business weblog is entirely different than a personal weblog . If you are just starting out, expect to make mistakes, but don’t give up!

It helps to think about the growth of a weblog as exponential. Well, not all of them end up like that. But especially if your company is not a popular brand, your weblog will grow somewhat slowly in the first few months or even a year. The good news is, if you stick at it for long enough, it will snowball and bring great impact to your marketing.

First time bloggers need to understand this: business blogs which are here for the long haul require a lot of work and time. Consistency and frequency are two most important keys to building a great weblog and attracting an audience. A blogger who underestimates this will more than likely be throwing all their efforts down the drain.

Here are 10 tips to use and promote your weblog :

1) Write like you talk. Don’t talk at your readers, but in a personal tone like you talk to a friend. A good trick to do this is by defining a clear target market and then takes it down further to an individual. Every time you weblog , write to the person as if you are talking to him/her.

2) Choose the right person to weblog . A blogger should know your company or the topics you want to weblog about inside out. No one knows your business and market like you, but if for some reason you can’t do it, delegate to one - or a group of bloggers - who know your business. The right person may not even be somebody in marketing, but possibly could be in customer support or a technical person.

3) Post regularly. Frequency matters, after some time as you establish an audience, readers expect you to post content often. That’s the reason they come back to your weblog or subscribe to your RSS feed. Consistency creates stickiness.

4) Bloggers are generous linkers. Do link to other posts, news resources, authority sites and give credit where credit is due. Doing this appropriately can help you in building relationships with other bloggers in your industry. Bloggers appreciate the links and will often link back.

5) Encourage feedback and conversation. Commenting is one of the most unique features of a weblog . If you keep people for writing comments on your weblog , they will do that on their own weblog . Use trackback when necessary to continue the conversation.

6) Know your keywords. Having the right keywords can help your ranking and is one of the important on-page factors for search engine optimization. A keyword or key phrase is basically what people enter into search engines like Google and Yahoo! to find you. Common places search engine robot look for keywords are in the title, various heading tags, body copy, text formats, and link texts.

7) Add supporting pictures. Visual content improves a weblog , but should enhance what you write in the post. Using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) weblog editor, you can do this without having to know any HTML code, and are very easy once you begin.

8) Promote your weblog consistently. Renew your signature file to point to your weblog , tell your newsletter readers about it, promote it in your presentations, talk about it on the next networking event, and so on.

9) Encourage RSS/Atom feed subscription. There are always people who like your weblog on the first visit, but forget about it tomorrow. If you hook them with your weblog ’s RSS/Atom feed, your content will be syndicated automatically the next time you update your weblog and chances are better they will remember you.

10) Socialize. Blogging is essentially a social tool. While you can involve in discussion across multiple blogs, networking propels your efforts to the next level. Bloggers tend to link to other blogs they know.

No one can build a successful weblog overnight, unless he/she is a very influential or a famous person. Don’t weblog just because your colleague says that it is going to be the trend.

Social Proof Optimization: How to Make Your Website Appealing to the Masses · How to Make Money Blogging: 7 Strategies to Help you Get Started Immediately

Blogging requires a lot of resources, but if done properly, can be a great marketing medium from which you can reap later. A weblog extends your marketing reach to the next level, but remember, it should be used in addition to other marketing strategies.

Hendry Lee helps business owners integrate technologies into their marketing. He actively blogs about Small Business Blogging. Subscribe to Blog Tips for Business to receive short and practical tips to start and get the most out of your weblog .

The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

Okay so now we know content is king. And of course since we are creating our own blogs, (remember blogs is short slang for Weblogs - which is what their "formal and official" name is), most of our information is going to be "unique" and "Original". Yet every now and then, since we are only human, and since we simply cannot "create" more and more information, we will copy information from other web sites. That is cool. There is no problem with that, UNLESS, you decide that "copying" and/or "linking" is simply better and forego writing anything.

Now let me make this clear. If you are offering a service to people, where your main business is to offer out links to other places where people can get information, in other words you are a repository where people come to get links, because you already did all the research - that is fine. Because what you will loose in content, you will make up in "eyeballs" and "hits". Remember the end result of good search engine listings is just that. MORE HITS - MORE EYEBALLS - MORE PEOPLE VISITING. And content is not the only parameter an Search Engine looks at. Not by a long shot.

This is a critical point to keep in mind. Everything we will talk about, every method, from content to email to lists to whatever, (hehe my most unfavorite word in the English language pops in - Whatever - see my post on that word in my weblog ), has but one goal in mind. To consistently and constantly increase and build your web site "hits". To make sure you have an ever-growing "fan" club "motivated" because of the service you are offering, to come back. So please differentiate between the end goal and the methods. Content (discussed in our first article) is a method towards the goal of getting listed in a good position on a search engine, and the goal is to have people use and come to your web site or weblog , and create a "buzz" about it. (We will talk about this much later in our series.)

Let us go back to content for a moment. Here we are talking about something that all writers know about and are familiar with. Text, words, phrases. Original, unique text.

So in order to continue on our own fairly logical path, we will now concentrate on the "text" and what has to be in it. Which brings us to the subject of "keywords". Before explaining just what these are and either their importance or total invalidity and worthlessness these days, (and this is up for debate) let us define keywords more carefully.

If you have a web site selling hair beauty aids, you will want to sell your material writing content around what you are selling. Obviously if you write something about the difference between different models of dishwashers, this is not going to relate to the "subject matter" and content of your site. So you will write articles around your hair supplies. You will write articles on good hair care, on how to dye your hair, how to get rid of split-ends, how often to shampoo etc. etc.

Our magic hair web site is called "Hair Is Not Forever", and it is at www.hairisnotforever.com (I have no clue if such a site exists so please don't try that link!) But this is our site for now and we will keep it as we go along. hairisnotforever also has a weblog . This weblog we will call "SilkyFairHair" and we will put it, for the sake of our example in blogger.com under the name of the proprietor who is aptly named Mr. Nor Hair. So now we have as follows:

1. Web Site - Hair Forever @ www.hairisnotforever.com (this URL is fictional)
2. Blog - SilkyFairHair @ http://norhair.bl.com (this URL is fictional)

These names ARE important and so are the URL's. (URL stands for Universal Resource Locater). So keep them in mind as we go along through these articles especially when I get to the article on the importance of finding the right name.

So Mr. Nor Hair and his wife, Mrs. Purple Hair work together. They create the site, get all the necessary stuff to sell something on it, write a couple of articles about hair and sit back and wait for the people to come beating their "virtual" door down. Well as we say in Hebrew, "Boker Tov" (which literally means "Good Morning"), or as you say in English, "Knock. Knock. Good Morning! Anyone Home?"

Okay the Hair couple know about keywords. So they create articles in which EVERY sentence has the word hair in it (or balding). But hair is the name of the game. They make sure their content is original, and once they have written two HTML pages of hair articles, strategically placed by their cousin the graphic artist (who is bald) around the advertisements for hair products and now they think they are done!

Woah! Not by a LONG SHOT! And here is where it gets depressing for the uninitiated and non-dedicated people.

Let us deal with the "keyword" issue. Keywords are like indices or if you wish, categories. A keyword is something that the search engine will look for and validate (in our day), to use as one of the parameters as to how to list your site.

The keywords we refer to are in two distinct and totally different places. The first in the page header of the site. in what is known as the section for "meta" tags. We will deal with meta tags in a different article, however let us just say these are the keywords most search engine look for (with their "bots") when visiting your site. An example meta tag for keywords on our site may look like this:

< BLOCKQUOTE>< META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="hair, hair products, hair grooming, baldness, going bald, shampoo, conditioner, hair color, dying hair, split-ends, split ends, hair life, beautiful hair, luxurious hair">

Again in our article(s) on meta tags we will discuss these keywords, and meta tags, but for now take it as a given these are some of the keywords that will be in the meta tag.

When the Search Engine technology first became popular and meta tags were implemented, the keywords tag was critical. Search Engines looked at the keywords in the meta tag and assumed that was what the site was about and listed the site under those keywords. This was caught on to immediately, and humans being the crafty devils they are, began listing keywords that had nothing to do with their sites in order to drive traffic to the site. (Remember - the end result is the oh-so-important one: Hits & Eyeballs)

So porn sites especially, adopting this as yet another "fool the engine" technique, would put keywords like "hair", "technology" etc. into their meta tags, and give the site an innocuous name and voila, more traffic.

So in the never-ending battle Search Engines caught on, and did a few things. They deprecated the importance of the keywords in the meta tags according to their algorithms, UNLESS the content on the site actually did match the keywords. Of course, this was not enough as porn sites will put "real" content around their stuff. I will give you a REAL example which I find funny, but it is very serious.

In one of my posts on my weblog , you can see my bio which is picked up by search engines. The other day I received an email from an old flame of mine saying "I freaked out. I googled you, under Ted Gross Writer, and you are connected with a site about tushy's!" So I go and Google it, and sure enough in like the fifth position is this: "Ted Gross's Unofficial Bio - The Real Version by Tushy" and of course I click and get led to another site (no url here as I do not want to publicize that site for obvious reasons) and I come to a porn site which ripped off, out of all the content on the internet, MY profile to place around their porn adverts. UGH! But you see that is how crafty people are!

(Here we are not going to talk about "splogs" - meaning "spam blogs" yet. But keep it in mind.)

Okay now what happens - not in theory but in practice.

Two scenarios:

1. You have keywords in your meta tag (and you should have them!) The little Search Engine "bot" (that is a software program whose job it is to travel around the Internet, never sleeps and never eats and gets into all those porn sites too!, and picks up information on ALL sites so the information can be categorized), comes to our site of hairisnotforever and reads the keywords on the page. Then this little bot makes a snapshot of the web page. Then the algorithms take over and match the keywords in the meta tags to the text and stuff on your site. (Remember Search Engines don't "see", they are NOT visual (males are visually oriented not Search Engines!) so graphics are not taken into account unless you use the alt tag.) The algorithms get more and more sophisticated as time goes on and they look for content, keywords, phrases etc. (Remember original content!)

2. You have no keywords in your meta tag so the engine just looks at your content.

So our happy couple figures okay lets put the word hair say, in every sentence at least three times. NO! Don't do that. Overuse of a keyword is a red-flag to a Search Engine and you will be penalized for it! It should be used and used frequently, but NOT overused.

Now when you Google for hair products using the word "balding", the Search Engine has the keyword, and based upon a million parameters decides what position for that specific keyword, hairisnotforever will have, and feeds it out.

So our couple figures what the hell. We will also sell mascara, and they put in a picture advert and the word mascara in their keywords, without having any content for it. Well then www.hairisnotforever.com will probably be listed as the last of the last of the last for anyone looking for "mascara". So for this lesson the formula is:

"Content+Keywords in the content+Keywords in Meta tag."

Copyright 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular weblog , Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.

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