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Web Usage Figures – Digital Future Report

Digital Future Report 2004 (PDF) is a very useful report for anyone working online. Its full of useful research including the following tidbits:

- In the past year of the study numbers of those accessing the web in the US continued to rise (now around 75%).
- The average US web user is online 12.5 hours per week (up from 9.4% in 2000)
- Over 75% of Net users are 55 years or under.
- 66% (approx) have home internet access.
- the number of adults who bought online increased slightly over the previous year; the annual number of purchases continues to increase, and the average dollars spent online by adult buyers dipped slightly.

Blogging for Beginners

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.

- Keep it simple. Start with a free and easy to use blogging tool like Blogger. Pick a simple design and just start writing. You can tweak the design and make it look good later.
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Submit your Blogging Tips

Whilst I’ve been blogging for close to two years now and am fortunate enough to earn a full time (ish) living from my blogging activities I by no means know everything there is to know about Blogging. Whilst I’ve written over 100 tips so far on this blog there are a lot more areas I’d like to see covered and I believe you and other readers like you could really add to the information I’m collecting here.

I’d love to learn from you and your experience and am always looking for Blog Tips to publish. I’d love to publish and/or link to (on your own blog) your tips on any of the following topics:

- Review a blogging tool or platform
- Share the story of your site in relation to earning revenue
- General blogging tips about writing content
- Tips on Search Engine Optimization or blog promotion
- Tips on Blog design
- Reviews of advertising or affiliate systems that you’ve tried and tips on how to get the most out of them.
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Add Categories to your Blogger Blog

With Movabletype and many other platforms categories enable a wonderful way of organizing your blog. Each post in this blog is allocated to a category (or more than one) which means readers only interested in one topic (Adsense for example) can easily find every article on the site focusing upon it. In effect you can end up with many targeted mini blogs within the bounds of your full blog with categories.

One of the frustrating aspects of using the Blogger blogging platform is their lack of a categories feature. It is one of the reasons that I gave Blogger away shortly after starting my first blog.

Spide it Grasp it Enjoy it has just posted a tip/hack on how to add categories to your Blogger blog. I’ve not tested it but it looks pretty simple to install and could prove to be a very useful feature. Let me know below how you find it if you give it a go.

Successful Blogging – Lessons Learned from an Olympic Experiment

A few people have emailed and asked for more information about the Olympic Blog we’ve run. Phil asked – “what lessons did you learn about running a successful blog through the process.” I thought it might make an interesting Blog Tip post.

1. Think Ahead – The whole Olympic Blog experiment emerged in my mind a number of months back when a smaller experiment paid off. Back in February I posted a post titled ‘American Idol 3 Winner’. Now that might seem like a crazy post to do back in February when the winner would be announced in May – but the whole point was to post something in advance of the event to let Google index it and rank it highly so that when the day came it would be the first thing people would see when they searched for the term. The experiment paid off – to this day we’re still number 1 on that post (which now has up to date relevant news of the winner) and more importantly on the day when one of the biggest search terms on the web was ‘American Idol 3 Winner’ we had 10s of thousands of visitors.

After this little experiment I began to wonder what other events I could anticipate. One of the looming world events was obviously the Olympics and so we resolved to expand the experiment.

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Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Blogging

Simon World has a good post titled Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Its got some great advice on blogging for anyone starting out….or continuing in blogging.

Here is a couple of his tips:

4. Prepare for the reality that the rest of the world may not share your high opinion of yourself and your site.
5. You know that movie where the guy built a baseball field and waited for some dead folks to turn up and play ball? Blogging’s like that. Prepare to slog at putting up brilliantly crafted, accurate and to-the-point insights that will proceed to make no difference to anything at all….
7. The big bloggers (in terms of readership, not size. I’m sure at least some of them are thin) are big for a reason. They fill a niche, they have interesting opinions, they’ve been doing it for a long time. Whatever it is, you need to realise that overnight success can take years to create.

There is heaps more there to look over.

On a similar blogging theme – Rachel has a great collection of thoughts on Business Blogging.

How to Start a Blog

Jonny Baker has an Idiots Guide to Starting a Blog which is well worth the read if you’re thinking of starting one but don’t know how. I’m going to add it to my Blog Tips Central Register.

Other good ‘How to start a blog’ type articles include:

If you’ve written any material that would help a blogger just starting out (or know of any) please feel free to add them in comment below.

Blog Tips – Getting Comments

What is your experience with Blog Comments? Do you use them? How do they enhance or hinder your blogging experience? How do you suggest bloggers starting out approach the issue?

One of our citywide papers has a section on a Thursday dedicated to Media and Technology. One of the writers there has started his own blog – The Bleeding Edge. Its got some good posts on it and as with most new blogs its being updated many times per day.

Today they wrote a post about the lack of comments on their blog. As they put it, its a bit of a ‘No Comment Zone’. I decided to leave my thoughts and then after rambling on a bit decided to add them to my Blog Tip Collection.

Here is what I wrote…
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Weblog Primer

Franois from padawan.info has just written a great Weblog Primer.

‘Since I’ve sold the idea of weblogs within my company, I’ve been charged with the task to explain what are weblogs to people who haven’t heard of them yet. I wrote this primer as a starter. This is a work in progress, with probably more to come. I’d love to have your feedback on it.’

Its a great piece that I’m going to add to my blog tips collection. Thanks to Presurfer for the link.