Close
Close

What is a Blog?

So what is a Blog anyway? I am asked every week via emails, conversation and Instant Messaging chats to define: ‘what is a blog’. If you’re reading this you may well be asking the same question.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Before I define the ‘what is a blog’ question – here are a few definitions from other much wiser people to get us started:

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

[Read more...]

How to Find Money Making Blog Ideas – Part 3

Coming up with creative and profitable Ideas for blogs sometimes feels more about luck than anything else. But in my experience there is a number of steps you can do to better your chances. This is the third and final part of a series on finding Money making blog ideas. Also see part 1 and part 2 for the full picture.



5.
Collaborate – Blogging doesn’t have to be a lonely introspective task – in fact I’ve found that when you share your ideas and passions with other bloggers it can come alive. Pick a few trusted bloggers to run your ideas past. You may just use them as a sounding board to critique and give ideas or you may actually open your idea up and invite them to become a partner in your blog project. This is especially worthwhile if you’ve picked a topic that is big or outside of your expertise. The wonderful thing about collaboration is that if you choose your partners carefully you’ll end up with a blog that is so much better than what you could have done alone. I’ve seen this happen on a number of occasions in the past year, starting mainly with the Olympics Blog which I involved a number of others in. Had I kept the idea to myself I doubt it would have been anything near the success that it was – the topic was just too big and my technical expertise with databases and other aspects of that blog were well beyond me.

So grab a partner and see what comes together when you put your heads together.

[Read more...]

How to Find Money Making Blog Ideas – Part 2

More and more people are finding ways to make money from blogging but few pro bloggers are making their money from their personal, general themed blogs. In most cases it takes a blog either with a tight niche or fresh idea to make it big in the blogosphere – but how do you find those ideas? Before reading on you might like to read Part 1 of this series.

3. Dream – Most mornings you can find me at a local cafe for at least for 30 – 60 minutes. The reasons I go there are numerous. For one coffee is an essential ingredient in me thinking creatively (that should almost be a point in and of itself) but secondly I do it to intentionally get out of my ‘Blog HQ’ (my office) and into a different space. I usually leave my laptop at the office and just take a pen and my journal and use the time to dream.

You see I find it easy to fill my head up with wonderful information, observations, predictions and knowledge but unless I put time aside to dream about how blogging could fit with the information I’m gathering the dots may never be joined. Get out that journal again and add to your list of potential topics – what would you love to write about? What would be an outrageous topic to blog on? What type of person would you like to write a blog for? Think outside the box you’ve been living in – open your mind and come up with as many creative ideas as possible. Nothing is too stupid – not until the next stage anyway.

[Read more...]

How to Find Money Making Blog Ideas – Part 1

Susannah linked up to my How to Research a Profitable Blog Topic post and writes:

‘What Darren doesn’t say is just how to come up with those money-making ideas. He’s clearly got the knack of latching onto current issues appropriate for blogs, but not everyone does.’

That got me wondering – how do the ideas come? I started jotting down a few ideas this afternoon about how I coax ideas for new blogs and posts out of my mind and soon found I had more than a single post on my hands. So here is the first part in my mini series on how to find money making blog ideas:

1. Observe – I am an information junkie. I watch too much TV, read too many books (I never make it to the end though), spend way too much time on the internet, squander hours in the news agents flicking through magazines, spend more time at cafes watching people than eating food and am a sucker for any article, website or conversation that is about ‘trends or predictions‘.

If you want to create a blog that is going to be read by as many people as possible you must be in touch with where as many people are at (or will be at). What are they eating, drinking, doing with spare time, watching on TV, thinking about, lusting after, obsessing about etc. Don’t only observe what others are doing – take a look at your own life, look at your spending paterns, TV watching habits, interests and passions and you might just find a great topic in your own life! I also find that stimulating myself with new sights, sounds, tastes, places, people can also help get the creative juices flowing. Keep a journal (I use a whiteboard and a spreadsheet) of your observations which you can come back to later.

[Read more...]

How to Research a Profitable Blog Topic

A while back when I asked you what you’d like to ask professional bloggers in my upcoming interview series MM asked:

‘I want to know what kind of research they did before they jumpstart a new blog. How do they gauge the “marketability” or earning potential of a new topic?’

I’ll ask the question when I start my interview series (first interview will be released this week) – but thought it was worth attempting an answer here also from my own perspective.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best research that I’ve ever done on a topic for a potential blog is this…
[Read more...]

The Entrepreneurial Blog Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman over at GlennLog has just posted a link to an audio (and visuals of his powerpoint) at Business Blogging Summit which currently really enjoying listening to. His main headings were.

  • Obsess
  • Exhaust
  • Report
  • Choose
  • Expand
  • Earn
  • Populate
  • Perform

Let me just mention a few points he makes within these topics that resonate with my experience in Entrepreneurial Blogging over the past 18 months. The following is a combo of Glenn’s thoughts which I’m adding to and giving a few examples of:

[Read more...]

The Benefits of having a country Top Level Domain

Lee Johnson has a good article pointing out some of the Benefits of having a country Top Level Domain ie a .uk, or .au domain name:

‘Most of the large search engines will give you a higher search ranking for a site that has the tld of the searchers country. For example, if someone from the United Kingdom is performing a search for widgets, a search engine will often rank widgets.co.uk higher than other sites selling the same product but only have a .com tld.

Having a country specific tld will also allow you to be included in a lot of great country directories that stipulate that your domain name has a certain tld. Getting your site into these directories can be a great way of improving your search engine website rankings as these are 1 way links from authority sites for your chosen subject. These kind of links are graded much higher than reciprocal linking…’

Lee goes on to share other benefits also. It is an interesting question and one that I’ve often considered. My main livingroom.org.au domain now hosts a number of blogs – and there have been some definite advantages of this approach. i do rank very well on google.com.au but on the other side of things there are some costs worth considering of having a more localized URL.

If you’re blogging about a global topic the .au can cause problems both in search engines but also with ‘the look’ of the URL. I’ve had a number of people write off my blogs because they are not a .com or .net or .org. However overall my approach is that if you write good content, interact with other bloggers and optimize your blog well you should do ok no matter what its URL.

I’m interested in others opinions on why you have or haven’t gone for a more localized domain.

How Personal do you Get on your Business Blog?

There is an interesting dialogue going about how personal you should get on your business blog over at CorporateBlogging.Info and public (MIND). Hans wants to know more about Fredrik – Fredrik doesn’t want his blog to go there.

‘As Hans Henrik says, I try to keep this site focused on blogging and related communication discussions. I’m not doing it primarily to be read, even if that’s fun and stimulating. I’m doing it to learn. I work that way. If I read stuff I forget it. If I read stuff and write about it, I’m able to transform it from information to knowledge. And with a journalistic background no other writing than that in public really counts.

Writing more about my background, my family, views and opinions on other matters — that wouldn’t fill any purpose from that perspective. In my corporate blog (Swedish only) it’s somewhat different, because there I have other purposes.

That’s one part of the answer, the individual part of it. In more general terms I think – as a blog reader – that it’s not very interesting to get too much personal stuff. If I read a blog to, say, find news and discussions about web design I couldn’t care less who the blogger had dinner with the night before. I don’t want to know that.’

He also wonders if it might be a cultural thing that highlights the difference between how Europeans differ from Americans in their business blogs.

It could also be a personality thing I guess. I personally have some boundaries about what I will and won’t blog about on my different blogs – however would probably be a little more open to revealing a little about myself on most of my blogs. I am someone who is drawn to real people and not just information.

I like blogs that have a photo somewhere on them of the person and that give some indication of who they are, where they are, what they do with their time etc. I also like humor in blogs and enjoy a good story every now and again. I guess it is a personal choice – but I wonder what you think? How much do you reveal about yourself on your blog? Do you have boundaries about what you will and won’t post about?

Trend Watching Websites and RSS Feeds

One skill that I think is vitally important for Professional Bloggers is the ability to keep up to date with the latest trends. So much of blogging is being able observe and even anticipate what people are interested in or looking for and providing appropriate content to meet there needs in a timely manner. Trend watching is therefore something we should either be actively doing ourselves or at the very least outsourcing to someone else to do for us.

In many regards almost every blog being tracked on my RSS feed list is a vital part of my trend watching but I also read quite a number of other specific trend sites to help me keep my finger on the pulse. Some of the more recent sites that I watch daily that specifically are looking at the latest trends in a number of industries are as follows (I’ve included RSS feeds of those that have them but unfortunately most dont seem to have caught onto that trend yet!:

- Small Business Trends - which as the name suggests keeps an eye on the latest trends and influences of the global small business market (RSS).

- PSFK - a collaborative trend spotting site run by a number of bloggers from around the globe (RSS).

- Trend Central – Tracking trends across topics of Lifestyle, Style, Entertainment and Technology (no RSS).

- Herman Group – Trend Alert – looking at trends across a number of fields in this weekly column (no RSS).

- Trend Watching – A blog-like site with trends from around the globe across a number of fields (no RSS).

- Google Zeitgeist – Tracking what people search for on Google (RSS)

- Yahoo Buzz Index – Tracking what people are searching for on Yahoo (RSS)

- Trends in Japan – Tracking the latest fads in Japan across different areas (no RSS)

- Trend Report – Mainly Consumer trends (no RSS)

- Trend Mag – Tracking a variety of trends (no RSS)

I’m interested to know what trends you watch for your blogging and what online (and offline) sources you use?