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  • blog5In the last decade, nothing has taken the online world by storm like blogging has. Overnight, people could share opinions, news, information, you name it on a webpage hosted by a blogging site – and it was mostly free. And since we live in a (mostly) democratic world, free speech became the trendiest right of a free people.

    In the last couple of years, the phenomenon of blogging has grown by leaps and bounds, and is now considered a worthy equivalent to even journalism, albeit with its own branding – cyber journalism. Blogging has given rise to a new voice, that of the common citizen (or in this case, netizen), and is not only a forum to discuss and connect with people all across the globe, but also as a means to give back to the society we live in. Blogs have been used as places to establish identities, help victims of natural disasters, as a common platform for millions to connect and work towards a single cause and also as a means to make money with online advertisers buying space to showcase their products and concepts on topical blogs. With blogging being seen as an extremely lucrative avenue with great moneymaking potential, how does a blogging novice ensure their blog is read? Here are ten easy steps to get that online readership you want:

    1. Showcase your unique voice – Every person is unique, and his voice is his own. Whilst what you may read/discover on the net can add different flavors to your opinions, ensure you don’t plagiarize/life material off of/pass someone else’s material as your own. Be it quirky, opinionated, highly vociferous or plain ‘taking a stand without hurting anyone’s feelings’ approach, remember – exercise your uniqueness. Establish your own unique net identity.
    2. Let your sense of humor shine through– An old adage says ‘Man grows up the day he has his first laugh at himself.’ Truer words were never spoken. When you’re making your voice public, remember that for everyone who agrees with you, there’ll be ten who don’t. Take every comment/suggestion in your stride. It’s been known to convert die-hard enemies into grudgingly appreciative supporters.
    3. Play with words – Originality is the key. As you write more, you’ll find that you have more to say. And more to share.
      Establish your identity – Add an ‘About Me’ page to your blog, to let the reader know a little something about you. Share only those details that you feel comfortable sharing, but do establish your identity. Also, take a stand. Be counted. Don’t be a mere statistic. Straddling the fence will only get you disregarded. Stand up for what you believe in, while respecting the opposition. Nothing invites readership like a bit of controversy, so be Priscilla of the Desert if you have to.
    4. Stay current– While a bit of nostalgia is good, make an effort to write about and discuss current topics.
      Endorse a cause – Whether it is going green, supporting an NGO that works for children of a lesser God, or even the health benefits of wheatgrass, share what you know and what you wholeheartedly endorse, and why. Add widgets/buttons of your favorite causes to a side panel on your blog.
    5. Be courteous at all times – Welcome every visitor to your blog; attempt to get to know them better. And let them know you appreciate their visits. Offer professional tips to those who ask for it, guide people to the right channels if you can. They’ll appreciate it and spread the word.
    6. Understand your audience – If you’re selling a product, or a concept, make an effort to understand the potential needs of your customer. Offer a value-add to the time and money they spend on your blog – a freebie is always welcome, be it kudos, a thank you note or a small token of appreciation.
    7. Blogroll your favorites – Let the world know who you read, and why you read them. Link them either on your blog or blogroll them in a separate link. You’re helping other bloggers get readership, thereby encouraging your own.
    8. Be a good neighbor – Last but not the least, repay the favor of every visitor with footprints of your own on their blogs. No community is built sitting at home – you need to show people you care about their opinions, too. Go over and say hi as regularly as you can, and yes, read them, too.

    These are tried and tested methods to ensure a growing readership of your blog, recommended by successful bloggers themselves. Add a stats counter to your blog, follow these steps and keep a track of the traffic. Within a couple of months, you’ll see a noticeable difference, of the good kind. Happy blogging!

  • blogging“So what do I blog about?” Often my customers want to start a blog but are stumped or intimidated as to what to write about.

    For an active blog, you need to post blogs at least three times per week. If you have the time to update your blog more often, great! But, if your blog idea cup runneth over, here are the top 10 ideas you could use:

    1. Address FAQs or queries, which you get from your customers. They (customers) are surely the heart of all business. Answering their FAQs in the form of blogs will help existing and future clients. Also, instead of repeatedly responding to the same questions, you can choose to write a series of blog posts to answer the frequently asked questions, which could free up time for you in the long run.
    2. Expert Interviews. If you admire someone in your industry, your readers or followers might too! Contact the experts, who you think can offer valuable insights on business, trends, etc. and publish the interview as a blog post.
    3. How-to Tutorialof a process will contribute to a series of blog posts. For example, you can create a series of how-to tutorials on website design, creating a logo or any topic related to your expertise. You can choose to create written, audio, or video tutorial. Tutorials build credibility and trust within your clients. They will begin to see you as an authority in this industry.
    4. Events or Trends in your industry making news? Make sure that you include your perspective into the blog. A number of bloggers blog about the trends or related news stories. However, very few offer their unique perspective on the events.
    5. Review a site, blog, book or anything related to your industry. Highlight the pros and cons clearly, so your readers are not left wondering whether you are recommending the site, blog, book, etc or not.
    6. Personally Yours.Tell a story about what’s happening in your life and how it is affecting your business. Your hobbies and interests could make a good read too. Readers are always happy to read more about the “real” blogger and helps establish a deeper personal connection with your clients.
    7. How You Helped. Did you help your client’s site rank well on the major search engines? Is your client happy with the logo you recently worked on? Blog about it. Begin with how you addressed the problem from scratch and helped the client. Existing or future clients may come across this and it might be just the thing they were looking for. What better way to get a new client than coming to their rescue?
    8. 10 Best Lists. Depending on your area of expertise and business, you can choose from a range of topics for best-of lists or even reasons-to-do lists. For example, best of Photoshop freebies, best freelance web design jobs boards, why you should get a website, etc.
    9. Polls are a great way to keep your readers occupied and interested too. With polls, your readers will await results and then discuss the results too. However, you need to ensure that you choose an interesting poll. You can use Constant Contact to publish your poll.
    10. Blog about blogging. There are a number of blog-related topics, which you can use to write posts about. Readers are always keen to find out more about how they can blog, optimize their blog, use it for business purposes etc.
  • blog11Learn to craft blog post titles, which will draw readers to your blog. As an important element of a blog, the title is the window to your blog post. Here is a list of strategies you can use to write a great blog title:

    1. Keep it short and simple:Straight and simple titles, which help the user determine what the post is about works best. Give a title, which communicates the benefit of reading the article too.
      Good Example: 20 Ways to Advertise your Website for FREE
      Bad Example: Find out how you can market your website online.
    2. Readers first, Search Engines next:Don’t try optimizing your blog title for the search engines to the extent that you forget your readers! There is no point in having a poorly worded blog title, which ranks very well on search engines.
      Good Example:Using Social Media for Lead Generation
      Bad Example: Social Media Lead Generation
    3. Communicate a benefit, effectively:Your blog post title should be able to tell readers what they will get upon reading your post. You can draw significant traffic to your blog, if the title is listing out an advantage.
      Good Example:10 Ways to Increase Your Alexa Rank
      Bad Example: Information on Alexa Rank
    4. How-to Headline Appeals:How to stop smoking in 30 days? How to start an online business from home? Quite possibly that such headlines have drawn your attention, immediately! The how-to headline appeals to most of our needs to improve ourselves, career, health etc. Once you have used how-to in the title, you must highlight the process in your blog.
      Good Example: How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Businesses
      Bad Example: Use Inbound Marketing to grow your business
    5. Well-formatted title: This is because, some of these characters tend to get distorted and replaced by other characters, such as, “?” etc. For example, Alternatives to Photoshop ? Web Based Image Editors. Take extra care when you use the following characters:
    • Double Quote ( ” ” )
    • Single Quote ( ‘ ‘ )
    • Comma ( , )
    • Question Mark ( ? )
    • Hyphen ( – )
    • Dash ( En Dash ” – “ or Em Dash ” — “)
    • Apostrophes ( ‘ )
    • Exclamation Points ( ! )
    • Colons ( : )
    • Ampersand ( & )

    Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to add to this list!

  • blog3Blogging is a regularly updating advertisement for your online business which provides your readers detailed information about your product updates, company information and recent happenings in your company. Updating your blog frequently means letting your readers and potential customers know that you are always trying to improve, be it improving your product quality or service and thereby reassuring their faith in your company’s products. Blogging is also known for its effective quality of generating quality traffic for your business and establishing your points of presence in your field of business.

    Why Blogging in 21st Century Businesses is Important

    Builds a Network
    This is a fact that businesses cannot be promoted with a sole thought. And when it comes to online business, sharing views and news is absolutely important. Thus, blogging plays an important role to promote your business in this dynamic world. Today more than ever, we can see that even a small business firm in the most remote city in the US, can sell their products globally and this is possible because the majority of the population now prefer the Internet as their primary shopping medium.

    Blogging helps promote your business and share your thoughts, which in turn, helps you to be in the same frequency as your customers. You can better understand your customer’s needs and change your business processes accordingly to meet their needs.

    Economically Sound
    Blogging not only helps you to promote your business but it also saves your advertising money. Blogging itself is an advertising tool that costs you very less to maintain but helps your business to get immense PR, which cannot be achieved even by paying for an expensive ad agency.

    Furthermore, linking your blog is another impressive way to endorse your business because in this way you not only earn valuable traffic to your blog but also your site becomes a target for qualified customers. Frequently updating your blog content and revitalizing your blog posts will definitely help to increase your page rank because search engines love fresh content and indexes them on a regular basis.

    Brings Business to You
    Blogging shows your importance and experience at your field. Thus, blogging has also been an effective way of generating business opportunities. Blogging helps you to grow your network online which is very important to promote your business and for making quality link exchange.

    Blogging is an essential part of web businesses and is becoming an essential tool to promoting your business in the 21st century.

    Hidden Tools for Fame and Fortune
    Including tags to your site is an essential tool. Though adding tags may consume a few minutes; its results are worthwhile. Tags are easily noticed by search engines. They also help your readers to identify your blog when they search the popular blogs. This helps you to earn fame and recognition among your readers which is necessary because it shows your importance and experience as a good blogger.

    Furthermore, submitting your site to bookmarking sites like: Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit helps you to generate more traffic. It’s better to include your best posts to these bookmarking sites because it creates a good reputation of your blog among the readers.

    Company Networking
    Many companies are blogging to promote their business and also encouraging employees to do the same. You want your employee’s blogging to share experience and perspective of your company and your products. With an average of 3 million blog entries written each day, it's evident that blogging will be a viable tool in online networking.

    A Recruiting tool
    The business blog is a recruiting tool for your company. Potential employees can learn about your culture, your policies, your way of interacting with the world, and the process you use for hiring employees. Business blogging is a powerful tool for engaging the people who might want to potentially work for you. Thus, blogging contributes a lot to your business success from every point of view.

  • blog6If you run your own business, or planning to start one, you would know the amount of effort and money that goes into marketing your websites & blogs. If you want your business to gain more prominence and wider recognition, you need to blog! Blogging is the best marketing tool you can and should be using to drive business to your business. If you don’t have a blog, please take notice of this list and carefully consider if you should be or shouldn’t be blogging as part of your marketing efforts.

    Business blogs provide your small business with a chance to share your expertise and knowledge with a larger audience. Blogging is changing the way we communicate with our target market, clients/customers and fellow business owners. Blogs provide a way for you to speak directly, openly and honestly with your customer.

    Easy Web Publishing Solution: Blog software is easy to use. Simply write your thoughts, link to resources, and publish to your blog, all at the push of a few buttons. If you’re using TypePad Blogger.com or Wordpress, you are in luck. Blogging communities have developed some of the best tools, plugins, tutorials and software for small business & home business owners to get started. These tools are highly essential because they dramatically increase your website’s content, traffic & sales!

    Search engines love blogs. This is an essential key to recognition and blogging. Because a blog is designed to be easily updated, you will update it with relevant content addressing your target market. If you can write an email, you can update and post to a blog. The key is not just content, but NEW Relevant Content. A well-written, routinely updated, keyword-oriented blog can enhance your chances of garnering high rankings on search engine return pages.

    Blogging can place you and your blog as the place to go for the information that is needed on the Internet. A blog puts that information in a form and fashion your target can understand and use. Your target market is using the web to search for everything, including the services or products you are offering. Our prospects and our market are demanding more than we can provide in a Yellow Page ad or on a static Web site. You can provide up-to-date, relevant and much needed information with a blog, which your audience/customers and future clients are demanding.

    Competitive Differentiation:Because blogs give you the opportunity to tell your story over and over, they help set you apart from the competition. Blogs enable you to articulate your viewpoints, knowledge and expertise on matters pertaining to your industry, thereby positioning you as an expert.

    Having a blog puts you in control of your own marketing strategy.Because you are in complete control of your blog, you have the ability experiment as much as you want, without the fear of losing big money as in the case of media campaigns. E.g. you can broadcast your very own radio or TV talk show. With the technology available, you can publish podcast and video podcast as often as you want. You will be able to interact with your target audience and market yourself in a way you could never do with just a normal ad in a news paper /Yellow Page or a static Web site. When it comes to blogging sky really is the limit!

    I am always happy to solve your questions about blogging. Both how-to and what it can do for you and your business. Get in touch with me today.

  • social network to boost your rankingIn this era of online marketing, Search Engine Optimization is at the forefront of every online marketing strategy. However, when we talk about Search Engine Optimization, we can hardly miss the subject of optimizing via social websites and social Medias. This is because of the fact that in past few years we have seen an exponential growth in the popularity of social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

    In this article, we will be showing you how to harness the full power of social websites to supercharge your SEO efforts.

    Helps in Link Building
    Social websites help immensely with your link building strategy, which is of primary importance in your off page optimization strategy. Social websites help increase the amount of back links to your site. Top search engines like Google and Yahoo give more weight to your online popularity factor, which is primarily determined by the number of links pointing to your site, when it comes to determining your site’s rankings in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page).

    Many social websites provide features that help link your page to the reader or visitor’s page. For example, if your site’s articles are on the Digg network and if someone else also on Digg reads the article and finds it interesting and relevant, they simply click “Digg it” button, and your page is automatically added to their own webpage. Furthermore, these sites also allow you to tell others in the network about your website and no doubt this definitely increases the odds that they will bookmark your site and put your link on their own. However it needs time and effort to build your reputation in these social sites by providing relevant content that provides value to the readers.

    Minimal Effort - Big Results
    Many online marketers consider Social Media Optimization or optimization by social websites to be guerrilla marketing, because they are considerably cheap as compared to other marketing channels.

    Furthermore, to obtain maximum exposure from optimization via Social Websites, it is important to post relevant and useful content on a frequent basis and being an active member of the community. Social Media Optimization is a very effective technique that will yield fruitful results both in the short and long term and is well worth the time and effort invested.

    Importance of Blogs
    Blogs are one of the most important mediums when it comes to optimization via Social Websites. This is because blog posts attract links from other bloggers which creates a snowball effect and helps your site to gain popularity and receive targeted traffic. Successful blogs provide regular, fresh and relevant content. A good way to advertise your blog is to visit other blogs that have a comments section and make an insightful comment about their content and then provide a link back to your own blog or website. This is known as marketing through “Blog Commenting” and is an effective marketing technique, if done properly.

    It is important to update the blog on a regular basis. Provide links, lots of images, video clips and interactive tools. Make sure that each page you add to your site is relevant and provide value to the readers.

    Which Sites to Target?
    When it comes to optimizing via social websites because as a rule of thumb, the more sites you target, the better it is. There are many popular social media sites out there and choosing which ones to participate in can be overwhelming sometimes, so always join those sites that are relevant to your interest and work at a steady pace in building up your site’s reputation in these social sites.

  • blog-6Blogging well is the bottom line whether you maintain a personal or business blog. However, a well-read business blog that gets quality traffic is a world away from sharing your opinions, reviews, and personal beliefs in your personal blog. Since your business blog is a tool to promote and grow your business, remember that you must always:

    • Maintain a professional tone.
    • Not resort to any kind of arguments, personal or otherwise. Remember, a businessman discusses his view points, doesn’t counter someone else’s.
    • Not resort to the online footprint sharing strategy, the ‘I visit your blog, you visit mine’ kind of a flippant, informal approach. You are here to only promote your trade/business/expertise, so your audience should be aligned to that singular aim.
    • Always emphasize your positive points - don’t give your audience the impression that you’re hiding your negative points.

    Once you’ve followed these guidelines, how do you go about getting your business blog noticed by professionals online? Following are ways you can successfully implement to get your blog noticed – thereby growing your business.

    1. Explain your business – In the ‘About’ section of your blog, give a detailed, yet concise analysis of your business – the why, where, how, what and when of it. Give brief mention to how it affects the current trends of the trade you’re in. Quote some of the testimonials you’ve received. Briefly outline your code of ethics. And sum it up why you do what you do.
    2. Employ an always formal, yet dignified and humble tone - Don’t be pompous and self-aggrandizing. But let the world know what you’ve achieved, in a very modest way. Humility while “tooting your own horn” is the trick.
    3. Blogroll your business inspirations – If there are business peers and seniors that you look up to who have their own blog, link them on the side bar. And if you can mention in one or two words how they inspire you, do it.
    4. Debunk popular myths about your business– Since you are in a business of your choice, it’s a foregone conclusion that you’d be an expert on it rather than laymen who claim to know more and spread myths and falsities. Make an effort to demystify some of the more far-reaching ones, so your readers know you’re an authority because of your experience and know-how, and not because of assumptions.
    5. Compare your business to competitors and other international markets– Highlight those features that your competitors and outside markets don’t offer. Compare prices and trade opinions as well as benefits and disadvantages, if any. On either side, that is. Be fair, but if you are on the negative side, let there be a mere mention of it. Promise (and deliver) to iron out those creases.
    6. Reach out to your audience – Showcase their feedback and comments in a blog post, it’ll give them the impetus to spread good words about your business. Let them know that their feedback and time are appreciated. The “Mind your Ps & Qs” way of life works in a business blog as well. Offer discounts, freebies, schwag bags, a referral, etc. in return, but wait for a few months before you do this. Over some months, you’ll also be able to gauge a client’s authenticity. Wait to build a firm online rapport, so that they know your appreciation cannot be taken for granted.
    7. Be funny once a while – A video with your team’s antics as a de-stress mechanism or one of you goofing off on a holiday is a surefire way to make that human connect. This bridges all kinds of gaps and gives your audience some insights into your personal life, and provides a sense of trust in you.
    8. Use SEO and SEM to your advantage – Write your blog posts catering to your search engine referrers. Understand search trends and communicate accordingly on your blog. This is a great way to increase readership of your blog.
    9. Engage in discussions outside of your blog– And then reprint it (after taking necessary permissions, of course) on your blog, so that your readers know you’re serious about your business, and will do whatever it takes to ensure it achieves its potential.
    10. Donate to a good cause – And highlight it on your blog, and let your audience see your altruistic side. This not only wins you their respect, but it has been found that it has a positive domino effect insofar that readers are also motivated to donate their money and time, among other things, to charities and causes that they believe in.

    Remember, it is not about establishing a personal identity, but showcasing your business acumen and professional integrity to the online world, while adding a human touch to it. With these simple and easy-to-follow steps, your business blog can be used as the most efficient tool to promote and grow your business in today’s times.

  • guest blogging for higher rankingIf you have a way with words and like to blog, try guest blogging. If you are wondering what guest blogging is all about, it’s where you write blogs for other blog owners. Apart from promoting yourself, guest blogging can also help you in your business in the following ways:

    Gain access to newer audiences:To expand your business, you need to attract audiences apart from those who are already aware of your business or are hooked onto your products. Guest blogging can help you explore untapped markets by exposing your writing to people hitherto unknown to you. By blogging on different types of blogs that have their own specific pockets of readers, you can get access to a wider pool of potential clients on the web. This in turn will help you entice the newer audience to your offerings.

    Increased traffic to your website: If you can put a link back to your website at the end of your guest blogs, many people may land on your site after clicking through it. Try to link back to your product or service pages directly so that a visitor can decide quickly if he or she wishes to buy from you. Thus, increased web traffic may convert into increased sales if you use the right strategy.

    Networking: Being a guest blogger on various blogging networks will give you the chance to interact with more like minded bloggers. Exchange of ideas, helping out or promoting each other, or simply building a blogging relationship can help your business in the long run. Remember – the more connections you form, the greater are the chances of your business success.

    Hassle free advertising:Thanks to the targeted audience, most of the readers of sites where you write as a guest blogger will end up reading your posts in total to see what wonderful stuff you have to offer. Unlike other sites where the random audience leaves quickly, these people are likely to click on your website link if they are already interested in what you write about, in the topics that you have discussed, or want to read more of such similar stuff. These people are likely to stay on your website, explore your offerings, read a bit, and may even subscribe to your newsletters or buy from you. No wonder that guest blogging is a quick and hassle free way of advertising your offerings on the web.

    Paving the path for future reciprocation: When you start writing for famous bloggers or popular blogging networks, they too may be willing to write one post for you in return. Though this may not happen always, a reciprocal guest post from someone famous is great as your website visitors will get treated to the writings of someone that they admire, and enjoy a fresh perspective. If this blogger links to the guest post on your site from his/her blog, you stand to get more of his/her readers coming your way!

    If you can do guest blogging with a well thought out strategy, it will surely turn out to be a win-win situation for your business.

  • how blogging helps seo and google rankBlogging is an extremely popular method to communicate your thoughts and activities to the outside world. While most businesses use blogging to increase traffic to their website, care must be taken to make sure that your blogs are not solely for that purpose but actually advance your business as well. However, it is important to mention that blogging does help and benefit SEO tactics used by the company to enhance visibility of its offerings on the web. Following are some of the important ways in which blogging helps SEO.

    1. Enhances ability of Search engines to crawl more often: Given the fact that the URL structure of a blog is fairly simple and uncomplicated, search engine spiders find it easier to locate blogs and crawl them more often than content on any other platform.
    2. More Indexed Pages:With blogs, you can be sure that you are well indexed, which literally translates into your blog being readily available for keyword searches in more than one keyword category. Given the fact that searches today include four or more words, the chances of your article or other content appearing in high ranks for such searches is low. On the other hand, blogs are well indexed and therefore can easily be ranked high on search engines for more than one keyword phrase. Moreover, considering the extensive yet appropriate use of both long tail as well as short keywords in your blog, searches will definitely rank it higher than other content. Additionally, the blog editor helps you in the correct placement of these keywords so that it increases the prospects of being found by search engines
    3. Repeat traffic with fresh content: Given the fact that the content in any blog is constantly updated to include newer experiences or facts, there is a definite increase in traffic, especially that which is repetitive in nature. In other words, fresh, unique and interesting content has the ability to bring back people to revisit your blog, which ultimately results in more people becoming loyal towards your brand. Additionally, new content means search engines crawl more often and your website is defined as more authoritative in nature.
    4. RSS Feeds and Blog Directories: Once a blog has been published, it definitely helps in search engine optimization of the parent website. However, if you really want to score high on SEO, then it is necessary to create and provide subscription to RSS feeds of your blogs to patrons, while also listing your blogs in various blog directories. These are hubs of information and result in ensuring more traffic to your website.
    5. Blogs are great inbound link magnets:Blogs are easily linked to other blogs while also being easily associated to social media networks and plug ins. The basic rule of SEO is that the more you are linked, the higher the inbound links to your site, which is maximum in the case of blogs. As you keep providing more and more plug ins on different blog and social media sites, you are attracting more and more people from these sites to visit your blog and website, which ultimately results in improving SEO.
    6. Active Communication:Active participation of the creator is possible through these blogs, in the form of comments, posts in forums, track back features and the like, which ultimately increases visibility by increasing advocacy of blogs.
  • blogging drives trafficGiven the present age when dependence on the internet to market your business is very high, it is obvious that newer options of internet marketing will be sought. One of the easiest yet versatile ways in which you can garner more traffic to your website is blogging. Most of us have experienced the power of blogging in one way or the other but not all of us are fully aware of the ways in which blogging ensures traffic generation. Following are some of the ways that you can use while blogging to increase traffic to your website:

    Post fresh content regularly:Content is the king and if you want to generate good traffic to your website, it is best to create and post new content regularly. Visitors will keep visiting your blog if you keep posting new and fresh content on a regular basis. Once the visitors check your blog, they are likely to visit your website too.

    Appearances are important:Creating a blog is not enough. You also need to make it attractive and appealing to the reader, in terms of aesthetics, to ensure that your visitors are enticed and stop by to read your blog and also go onto your website.

    Comment on other blogs: Given the popularity of blogging today, chances are that there are several blogs being floated in your area of business, which means that the chances of your blog being picked up by visitors are low, unless you take steps to avoid that. One of the simplest ways to encourage people to read your blog is by commenting on the other popular blogs. However, you should take care to ensure that you choose the right kind of blogs. Also, ensure that your comments are intelligent and offer some extra knowledge in that field so that it intrigues the reader and motivates him or her to visit your blog and website.

    Guest Blogging: Writing on other's blogs on topics of your expertise is another great way to increase your traffic. Alternatively, you could also allow the other blogger to post your blog on his or her blog site.

    Respond to comments and suggestions:For communication to be effective, it has to be a dialogue and not a monologue. The only way you can ensure effective communication is by talking to people who visit your blogs. Allow your visitors to post comments and provide links. Always respond to their comments and suggestions. It is also important to allow other readers to post their comments and suggestions in response to those made by your other readers. This will encourage a discussion, which will ultimately lead to more people revisiting your blog and encouraging it.

    Link with other blogs:While commenting on other blogs, make sure to add your link to the comment. Most blogs allow such linkages but when you find one that does not allow you to add your link, you may well opt to avoid it unless it has a huge fan following.

    Ping your blog: This will ensure more readership and visits as by doing so, your loyal readers will be aware of every change or update related to your blog posts.

    These are a few ways in which you can successfully use blogging to drive traffic to your website.

  • increasing blog commentsThe number of comments on your blog indicates the level of interaction your blog has with its audience. According to Jakob Nielsen, 90% of online community users are lurkers (read or observe without contributing) with about 9% of users contributing ‘a little’ and 1% contributing actively. 1% of your blog’s users actively engaging with your blog and the rest are occasional contributors.

    Do you want to increase the number of comments on your blog? You can increase the participation levels on your blog by following the ways listed below:

    Ensure easy comment options: Does your blog require a login to comment? Registration is a hurdle, which users are unwilling to deal with. Yes, it sure does combat spam messages but try to keep your comments section simple and easy to use.

    Questions which evoke response: Include specific questions in your blog posts and you are assured higher comments. Try to set a question in the reader’s mind from the first moments of your post itself.

    Interact with comments on your blog: If someone leaves a comment on your blog, ensure that you interact with them. It is understandable that this could get harder as your blog grows but try to devote sometime during the day to show your readers that their comments are valued. Over time, you will notice that loyal visitors will answer questions and create a community too!

    ‘Reward’ Comments:You can choose a host of options to acknowledge the comments on your blog. From a simple ‘good comment’ remark to awarding the best comments on your blog, you can use a number of options. For instance, a Jamaican based resort that regularly updates its blog ran a contest: "Looking to visit Jamaica? Enter to WIN a $100 Visa Cash Card to spend on your trip!!"

    Quick tips to increase comments on your blog:

    • Allow users to edit comments
    • Check and delete spam comments regularly
    • Don’t use captchas for comment forms
    • Try not to moderate comments
    • Try not to force registration for comments
  • blog1In times like this many business owners are looking for creative new outlets to attract potential clients. I cannot stress the importance of starting a blog on your website NOW. Reasons for this: It is predicted that 100,000 new blogs are created every day! As they say, “Timing is everything.”

    With the popularity of blogs rapidly increasing now is the time to jump on the wagon. This doesn’t mean you have to blog everyday or even have every topic be ground-breaking. What it does mean is that you are getting the information out there to be found and linked to by potential clients. Over time, these links grow exponentially and soon, your site will have many inbound links to it.

    A few basics
    Albeit tempting to create a blog at a dedicated blogging site like “Wordpress” or “Blogger”, this doesn’t accomplish the same results as having a blog located at your own domain.

    Two reasons for this: it will drive more traffic to YOUR website instead of the dedicated blog site, and you will be able to track hits pertaining to what articles they are most interested.

    WHY you need a blog
    Blogs help you target and attract more of your audience for several reasons:

    • This is another outlet for potential customers that are going to search engines to locate you. You will be providing information based on what your customers are searching/shopping. If they came to your blog, then the must be interested in your product/service, right?
    • Think of a blog and your website as free advertising space. Sure you pay for hosting and the domain (like $60/year!?!), but what a great ROI if the visitors you are attracting are converted into customers.
    • Fresh content helps with your ranking. Frequently updated sites are “crawled” more often and therefore will rank higher. This is seen by search engines as being a worthwhile site with valuable content.
    • Visitors will be more tempted to bookmark your site and return to it if there is worthwhile content. More visits means better ranking in search engines.
    • Blogs allow for 2-way communication that brings a sense of knowing who you are working with.

    PART II: How to start a blog

  • how-to-blogWith a bit of creative writing, a small business can have big results from a blog. Many of my clients often ask, "What do I blog about?" and to this I have a question for them, "What are they interested in?" Below are other ideas to spark that creative writer hidden within all of us.

    What to write about - a mini-brainstorming session

    • Future developments in your industry
    • Newsworthy (industry related) items that affect your clients directly
    • Ways you are incorporating "Green Living" into your life or business (studies show internet buyers are most interested in purchasing/doing business with people who are environmentally conscious).
    • How is your business different from your competitors? Quality? Variety of Services? Price?
    • Articles that address ways your product/service can help/benefit your customers
    • Broadcast sales or promotions
    • Announce new services
    • Share links about your industry, new products in the industry, etc
    • Include photos and descriptions of your [new] products

    Just to give you an example: A friend of mine is starting up a business for her husband who does carpentry, building furniture, etc. I told her she should put a blog on her site and received the typical, "Why, what would we write about?" My reply was this. If someone is looking into a reputable carpenter for building furniture, I would want to know more about the furniture, his skills, what makes his furniture of the quality I would want, or how his is different from something I could purchase at IKEA. This definitely was an "ah-hah" moment for the client.

    Promoting your blog

      • Post each new blog on your site, then spread the word to Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here you can create an account and post a link back to your website blog article. Email your friends/contact that you've posted it. They can then vote for it on StumbleUpon, Digg it, Reddit, etc. This gets the visitor to your site to continue reading, to help your SEO.
      • Add an RSS Feed to your articles so readers can stay abreast of new postings.
      • Monitor what people leave for comments too. Comment on their comments. Keep the communication going.
      • eMail (eNewsletter, eVite) Marketing can also be a valuable way to get out informational and educational blog articles out to potential clients. Start the article in your email and link back to your site for them to continue reading.
  • blog2Whether you blog just as a hobby or have a company blog where you talk about things to promote your products or services, you will surely want to get more and more web surfers reading what you have to share. If your blog is still lying in the oblivion and has been unable to attract commendable web traffic, it’s time you take a serious look at your write-ups and make them attractive and worthy of being noted. If you are not sure how to go about this, here are top 5 blog writing tips that can offer help:

    Opening punch:Just like morning shows the day, your opening lines will decide if someone will read till the end or skip to some other web page. Pack some punch, teaser or interesting facts in your opening lines so that the reader is encouraged to continue reading your post. Make your opening lines powerful and your readers will soon become hooked onto your content.

    Follow the KISS principle:Whatever be your blog post topic, keep it short and simple (KISS). Remember – no one wants to read complex things or long sentences. Since most web surfers have a poor attention span, you need to hook them in the first few seconds after they start reading your post. So, use simple language and small, compact sentences that can get your message through to the reader easily without sounding too preachy or too complex to understand.

    Use energetic and positive words:Your post should show how passionate you are about the subject that you are writing about. Unless your readers feel the energy, they are unlikely to stay or return to check you newer posts. You should also make a conscious effort to use positive words and steer clear of the negative ones. For example, if you want to talk about some cheap products or services, instead of using the word “inexpensive”, try using “economical” that has a far more positive vibe about it.

    Use bold keywords, sub-headings or bullets:Many blog readers these days try to skim the summary at a quick glance and never bother to read the whole post. To help such readers become a regular visitor of your blog, you can use relevant keywords in bold or use sub headings and bullets with important words or phrases in italics or bold so that anyone can get a brief idea of what the post is all about even without reading the whole write-up.

    Be adventurous:Despite the tips as mentioned above, don’t be afraid of breaking the rules and trying your own innovative ideas. Who knows that you may come up with the next best blogging tip that other bloggers will lap up in no time.

    If done the right way, blogging can act as a cost-effective way of making your online presence felt and help you reap riches by marketing your offerings effectively on the World Wide Web. In case you haven’t yet realized the true potential of blogging, use these 5 top blogging tips to get started today.