Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For Better Or Worse? Micro-blogging Or Blogging?

Do you want to write but not have to write a lot? Just need to make one point briefly? You might want to consider micro-blogging which are the post cards of the internet world.

They are generally free, but since they have limited space, not everyone will want to use one. If you need to write a lot, you might not want to try cram everything into a small space.

I will discuss three very different micro-blogs by going over their functions and the type of members that would enjoy using them.

1. Tumblr

With Tumblr, you create a "Tumblelog" which is a micro-blog where you can submit post by website or email. It does not have SMS or instant message. But, you can choose to automatically notify blog monitoring services such as Technorati and My Yahoo when you post a new message.
You can create six different kinds of posts with Tumblr. They are Regular Post, Quote, Link, Conversation, Photo, and Video. The post do just what the names says they do. For instance, you can add photos by uploading them to your Tumblr site or pull them in by using a link.

These six posts make Tumlbr very easy to add content such as videos, photos and RSS feeds from other sites. As a result some sites are just posts with just images, quotations or YouTube videos rather than actual content. While other Tumblelogs resemble other blogs with long written out posts.

Other features include "followers" who have added you as a friend and are following your posts. Also, Tumblr has a bookmark bar button for easy posting of website finds. You are giving the option of what category to put your new content in when you click on the bookmark button.

Last but not least, you can host your custom domain name on Tumblr. You will need to buy your own domain from a registrar such as GoDaddy. Once you have done that, Tumblr gives you instructions on how to set up your site. They suggest that you already be familiar with setting up websites as they do not have the staff to give personal help.

2. Twitter

With Twitter, you only get 140 character per post. There is no multimedia such as photos or videos, only text. Your page options are also limited as you can only write one-line profiles. But, you can change your colors and background images.

The 140 character limit does tend to create a stream of conscious message. This might be useful for updates on traffic, weather, or airport conditions. Or you could receive a blow by blow account of your neighbor's yard sale. It is all up to the members and you.

What makes Twitter popular is that you can use it practically anywhere. You can post Twitter by website, phone or instant message. If you want to instant message, you can choose between different applications such as AIM, GTalk, .Mac, LiveJournal and Jabber.

3. Squidoo

Squidoo is a free social networking website that is composed of lenses that members create. You can build several pages and link them together or build single pages on many different subjects. If you need help on creating a lens, you can click on "build a lens" button where you will be guided step by step on setting up your lens. Or you can go to SquidU, a website, where your questions can be answered by volunteers and expert lensmasters.

Squidoo is really helpful in building traffic to your new website or blog. You can link your site into Squidoo pages which are quickly built up by search engines.

You also make money on this site through adsense ads that are placed on your site and through Ebay or Amazon modules.

When advertisers generate money on your site, you get a portion of it. Squidoo divides it up into three parts. One parts goes to Squidoo for running the site, second part goes to charity and you get the third part.

Online marketers love this site for driving traffic and high ranking in search engines among other things.

Who should use a micro-blog? Just about anyone. Give the flexibility of a micro-blog, you could just share your photos or videos if you do not want to write. Even if you want to want to write and prefer to write longer articles, you might consider a micro-blog as a complement to your blog or website.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

To Blog Or To Website That Is the Question

Congratulations, you have decided to join the online community. Maybe, just to air your view points or to venture into an online marketing business.

But, how to get started? There two main ways to venture forth. Either by blog or by website, the choice is up to you.

But, first we need to define the difference between a blog and website. A website is a internet application that contains web pages, images, videos and other digital assets. It is hosted on the World Wide Web. Whereas, a blog is part of website where entries are made and displayed in a reverse chronological order. It is sometimes known as an online journal.

I will discuss the pros and cons of both. The choice is yours.

First, I will cover blogging.

If you have little or no computer knowledge and even less money. Blogging is the way to go. You can get a free blog from blogger.com or wordpress.com. These are the two more popular choices. They will host and maintain your blog for you. You can customize your blog from their selection of templates. Just write and post and you have your blog. You can post your own content, advertise your own goods and services. Also, you can advertise goods and services of others as an affiliate.

A blog will allow communications between visitor and writer where they can exchanges opinions on certain issues. Whereas, in a website, a visitor can only read and not offer comments or suggestions to the writer or other visitors.

The cons to blogging is that you have write many articles to get your business going. However, you can hire a ghost writer to write articles for you. Later, when the blog becomes very successful, you may want to upgrade which will cost money.

Second, I will cover using a website.

A website allows you to have complete control over your content and is the fastest way to advertise. However, there are cost involved with setting up a website. You will need hosting, a domain name and maybe a custom built website. Or you may decide to build your own site. A user friendly program for creating your own website is Microsoft Frontpages. Last, you will need a Autoresponder.

A disadvantage of building your own website is that you are responsible for taking care of any problems that may arise.

Also, you may need to consider whether you need a website in the first place. Maybe a blog is all you need for the present time. Can you explain to someone else the advantages that you will have with a website and what it will do for you?

Whether you decide to use a blog or website, you cannot just sit back and relax. You have to market it and build traffic. You have to promote it. If your goal is internet marketing, you will never make any money if you just submit it to a few search engines and do nothing else. Traffic or having visitors go to your site is a major component that makes your blog or website valuable.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Three Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

So you have set up your blog with great content and graphs. Now how do you get people to read your blog?

First, you want to post, post, post to your blog. Writing and posting to your blog is like blood circulating in your veins. The more new content is circulated through your blog, the stronger it will be.

But you can't write:

Of course you can. Just set aside time in your day to write and start putting anything down that comes to mind. That way, you are getting the juices started and soon more ideas will come. Then the article will be done.

If you have no time to write or simply don't like writing, you can hire a ghostwriter. They can be found at Elance.com or Craigslist.com among others.

Second, social bookmark your blog. So, what is social bookmarking? Simply, it is people online sharing their opinions, insights, experiences and etc with each other. This sharing can take many form such as chat forums, blogs, podcasts, and message boards. It is anything that brings people together so that they can interact with each other.

There are many social bookmarks to be a part of. I will briefly discuss four of the most popular sites:

1. Digg (http://www.digg.com) started off as community-based website emphasising technology and science articles. It has now become so popular and large that it includes almost anything.

2. Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/) is a close second to Digg in the backlink community. Del.icio.us main focus is to store your bookmarks online. This encourages cross-linking among those who share similar interests. resulting in the creation of backlinks . All posts to del.icio.us are publicly viewable by default, although specific bookmarks can be marked as private. Imported bookmarks are private by default.

3. Technorati (http://www.technorati.com) is the award winning authority of weblogs. The primary purpose of Technorati is monitoring your online visibility by monitoring linking, other sites mentioning you, your site's progress and competitor's progress.

4. Furl (http://www.furl.net/) allows members to bookmark, annotate and share web pages. Users may view lists of other members who have made comments or furled a website. Members can subscribe to a user's archive to get email notifications when a new item is added.

Third, you can write a press release to drive traffic.

There are many press release companies. One of which is PRWeb. They were one of the first companies to allow almost anyone to write and distribute a press release online. Earlier before the advent of the internet, mostly large companies and corporations distributed press releases. However, PRWeb charges for their service. There are many press release companies that are free. One advantage of press releases is that they do not have to be very long. A couple of hundred words in several paragraphs is enough.

With a little creativity and practice, you'll soon see your traffic growing. These three simple steps will allow you to attract and retain your readers as your blog develops.