I’ve been asked to submit a very short piece into a magazine with some basic tips for beginner bloggers which I thought I’d share here. They are not Rocket Science – pretty basic – but a good starting point for someone starting out in Blogging.
Seth’s Godin has an interesting post unpacking three types of blogs.
He classifies them as:
1. News Blogs – Chronicling the News of the day on a variety of topics from Politics to Gadgetry to Recipies.
2. Writers Blogs – Where a writer rants, raves, monologues, writes – generally original content inspired by life, readers questions, others thoughts.
3. Our Blogs – Community centred blogs where posts stimulate discussion – its less about one blogger’s ideas but about a communal learning/discussion/discovery etc.
Of course some blogs attempt to sit between two of these categories – or emerge from one into another over time.
Thinking about Revenue Streams – how does this apply to commercial opportunities? –
News Blogs – most of the blogs out there that seem to be attempting to generate revenue directly seem to fit into the ‘News Blog’ type category. For example consider Gizmodo which points to and announces new technological gadgets. There are hundreds of other blogs doing similar things including most of my own ventures.
Some Writers blogs are big and popular enough to generate some income but in my experience it is pretty hard to do so as the advertising pool can be a little limited. Some of the blogs that I’d say fit into this cateogory who run ads include Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan.
‘Our Blogs‘ I see as a bit of an untapped area in terms of the commercial nature. One of the things I’ve noticed about some ‘Our Blogs’ is that they generate ALOT of repeat traffic. People come back to them to interact, leave comments, lurk, debate – this is an idea situation for impression based ads programs like Fastclick. In my experience these community type blogs don’t tend to do well on programs that rely on clicks as much because those using the blogs become a little blind to the ads – but impression based ads are another story. One of the blogs that I’ve seen that is very successful in its community focus work is Idol Blog.
Read more of Seth’s thinking at Three kinds of blogs
‘FindWhat.com today debuted AdRevenue Xpress, an automated distribution partner program targeting small to mid-sized businesses. The distribution method is similar to Google’s AdSense, but it uses category- or keyword-targeting, rather than contextual targeting.
The program allows smaller partners, through a step-by-step set up process, to add a search box which returns ads from the FindWhat.com Network. Alternatively, publishers who want to display ads on their site directly, rather than via a search results page, can choose a FindWhat category and display ads from that category.’
So the ads served by this system are not contextually based (so you might be able to run them along side Adsense ads if they look sufficiently different to Adsense format ads). The other difference in the program is that AdRevenue Xpress gives publishers the options to put their earnings back into the system to advertise their own sites – with a 10% discount! This is an attractive feature and something I’ve often wished I could do with Adsense. It will be an interesting system to watch and I’d be very interested to hear from anyone out there who decides to give the AdRevenue Xpress system a go.
Just found this interesting article on Business Blogging.
“Jonathan Schwartz is a blogging addict. He is also the president and chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems (SUNW) — a company at the forefront of a new marketing and communications trend that mixes blogging with business. (For the rapidly shrinking minority who don’t know what I’m talking about, a weblog — or blog — is a personal journal on the Web that’s devoted to politics, science, product reviews, or just about anything else you can imagine.) In his corporate blog, Schwartz, naturally, covers the world of Sun. In his latest entry, which focuses on a trip he took last week to Wall Street, he juxtaposes snippets of his Manhattan dinner conversations with Sun’s recent work on “radical form factor compression.”
The Sun president’s Web writing style — open, honest, ever geeky — is a hit. Schwartz’s blog reaches more than 100,000 readers per month, a number that has grown exponentially during the blog’s three-month existence. “I’m stunned by the breadth of it,” he says. Surprise aside, it’s easy to see why a busy bigwig like Schwartz might take the time to operate what some view as a nerdish hobby. “It is an efficient way for me to have a focused, one-on-one conversation with thousands of people — shareholders, customers, employees, and the digerati that circle this industry,” Schwartz explains….
In theory, at least, blogs are a marketer’s dream. That’s because — unlike burning through millions of dollars on TV or print advertising campaigns — they are a virtually cost-free way to communicate with customers. And not just any customers. These are self-selected hard-core fans of a particular trend, hobby, idea, or product. “Bloggers are an incredibly influential consumer segment,” says Technorati CEO David Sifry. “These people are huge networkers. They get the word out quickly on products they like — and don’t like.” Exploiting these chatty surfers is especially useful during a product launch. (To help create consumer buzz for its newest film, for example, Fox Searchlight is running a Garden State blog penned by actor/director/writer Zach Braff.) The chief blog marketing goal, then: Create a community of knowledgeable insiders. “Done right, consumers will do all the marketing for the company — forwarding the information they found to their friend and encouraging others to visit,” says Lydia Snape, Internet services director for New York agency Renegade Marketing.”
Read more at Have Blog, Will Market:“
The Daily Rundown (link removed as the site is no longer there)has this interesting piece of analysis about what people are searching for on Google.
‘ 28% of Google searches are for a “product name”, 9% are for a “brand name” and 5% are searches for a “company name”. “Brand” keywords also have a 8x higher ROI than generic keywords. Not sure if that is for all searches or just consumer-product related searches, but either way it demonstrates the importance of making sure your site shows up on the SERPs for your brand.’
Now that is some useful information that fits pretty well with the anecdotal evidence that I’ve seen over the past year. So if you’re reviewing, previewing or just talking about a product you should be as specific as possible with your keywords – put them in your title, in your image tags, and make sure they’re included numerous times in the body of your post.
SEO – Seven Most Often Asked Questions is a good article with some FAQs that people often ask about Search Engine Optimization complete with answers that should help anyone wanting to optimize their sites for Search Engines. The first FAQ is:
‘Please help! My website has been banned! I cannot find it anywhere in Google or even in AltaVista for that matter. Since 3 years now, I have been following all the great advice you give in your newsletter and on your website. I’ve always been number 3 or 4 on the first SERP of Google, but now I just cannot find my site anywhere! What should I do? ‘
‘Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising models, which compensate networks or their affiliates each time a user clicks on a link, were always considered to be something of an honor system. But new data coming to light this week reveals that PPC fraud is far more significant than many industry observers would have imagined.
According to research released by Web analytics provider Clicklab, fraudulent clicks can account for more than 50 percent of all advertising fees attributable to certain categories.
The data provides a rare public snapshot into a segment of the industry that is controlled and rarely disclosed by companies that manage their own proprietary databases. And while a big player like Google, for example, does not disclose its fraud rates, the problem is significant enough that Google underlined it in its IPO filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission as a potential risk that investors should worry about.’
Read More at Pay-Per-Trick: Half Of All Ad Clicks Deemed Fraud
Poynter Online is one of the best resources around to help you with your content development. It is actually a tool for those wanting to improve their journalistic skills – but as is often the case – it is easily adaptable to the blogging medium.
Their section on writing is especially useful. Check out their latest tip for example – its on the use of repetition in your writing – I said the use of repetition in your writing (sorry). They write:
‘The repetition of key words, phrases, and story elements creates a rhythm, a pace, a structure, a drumbeat that reinforces the central theme of the work.
Such repetition works in music, in advertising, in humor, in literature, in political speech and rhetoric, in teaching, in homilies, in parental lectures – even in this sentence, where the word ‘in’ was used 10 times.
Writers use repetition as a tool of persuasion, few as skillfully as Michael Gartner, who, in a distinguished and varied journalism career, won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.’
Hmmm – the other bonus of repetition is that if you repeat the right word it is good for your Search Engine Optimization and Google ads.
Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now has some good reasons for businesses to get into blogging –
1. They fan the flames of customer evangelism. Their personal nature helps humanize you and your organization.
2. They function as an instant-feedback mechanism. Most blogs allow readers to respond to your posts or link to them on their own blogs. These features provide almost real-time feedback on ideas and issues that strike a chord, or highlight new or existing problems. A blog can reveal a little problem before it grows into a bigger one.
Read the rest at Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now