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-- What Is A Blog
A blog (or web log as what originally called) is the modern day equivalent of a journal?think 'captains log stardate?' and you're heading in the right direction.
A blog is an online publication about a subject or subjects that interest you. You could write (blog) your thoughts and ideas about your favorite movies, you could log your daily activities, you could even write about your hobby.
Today advanced blogs can include more than just words - now they can include audio as well as pictures. You can even blog from your mobile phone if you care too!
Creating and Writing Your Blog
So how do you create a blog? The easiest way to start is to use Google's Blogger.com system. Simply visit www.blogger.com and follow the prompts - they provide step by step instructions and you'll be blogging in less time than it takes to boil an egg!
Blogger.com will allow you create a free blog and they'll even let you host it at no charge too! Remember, a blog is published "out there" on the Internet so it has to live somewhere and the free hosting environment from Blogger.com is called Blogspot.
Writing (some people calling it 'blogging') to your blog is even easier than creating it. You can either use the built in publishing features provided by Blogger or you can use the 'BlogThis' button included with the Google toolbar. Again, complete instructions about how to blog your blog (now that's a mouthful!) are included at the Blogger.com site and the Google.com toolbar page.
-- Monetizing Your Blog
But unless you are into sharing your thoughts for free, you want to know how to make some money - AND - share your thoughts? right?
In a word, if you have focused blog traffic (readers) then that stream of people passing by has monetary potential. Your readers have the potential to spend money, the potential to click on a link, and potential to turn all your hard work into money - here's how: TRAFFIC?
-- Adsense (Google)
Simply put, this program devised by Google, puts a context sensitive advert in front of your viewers. If you're blog is all about golf balls, then the adverts that you show will be about golf balls.
And when someone sees the advert and clicks on it you make money. How much you make depends on how much the click is worth (see the Adsense reporting data in your Adsense account for that info) and how many times the advert is clicked. As you can see, this is numbers game - the more traffic you get the more clicks you'll get the money you make.
-- Affiliate Sales
Another way to capitalize on your blog traffic is to offer the readers more than just advertising - offer them solutions.
If your blog is all about golf balls then it might be a safe bet that the reader plays golf. If they play golf then they probably want (like most golfers) to improve their swing or their short game, or any number of golfing challenges.
Well doesn't it make sense to offer them these solutions from within your blog? Of course it does. And you do this by promoting other peoples products and solutions. When your reader clicks on one of these promotional links and chooses to buy the product, you get a slice of the sale proceeds - in some cases up to 75%
Now this might sound complex but it's not. There are many affiliate programs on the Internet - simply type 'affiliate programs' into Google and you'll see what I mean. However, for my money the leader (at the time of writing this) was www.ClickBank.com
This company (like all good online companies) offers you plenty of valuable information about how to sell and promote other peoples products and make money. Afterall, your blog did all the work and got the traffic - why not turn that traffic into money too?
-- Search (Google)
You just read about Google's Adsense program, well guess what - they have a search element to that program. Basically you can add a Google search box to your blog and when someone searches from your blog Google takes not of this and you are credited for any sales that result from your 'assistance'. Again, the Google adsense program contains all the nitty gritty details so check them out.
-- Other Affiliate & Joint Venture Ideas
By now you should be getting the idea - TRAFFIC equals MONEY. So get creative with your blog. If you've got the readers then think of ways to offer them other products and services.
Here are a few other ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
Let's go back to our example from earlier - golf. If you've got readers wanting to get information on Golf then why not offer them the chance to get highly focused golfing products from eBay?
Did you know that you can become an eBay affiliate? Well you can, and when someone registers to join eBay or someone buys something from eBay you will get a portion of the sale proceeds.
Again, TRAFFIC equals MONEY.
Although Clickbank.com has been the leader for digital product sales and affiliate marketing, a new player has come on the scenes - www.PayDotCom.com
I know, that name is a real mouthful, but they seem to have a lot going for them. They too also have a great affiliate program and can provide you with great ideas for products to offer your readership.
-- Blog Promotion & Marketing Strategies
You've likely heard this a hundred times?if you build it they will come. Well I've got news for you?they won't!
Not unless they can find you, and of course, not unless you offer them something relevant and useful (which you are doing by publishing a blog on your chosen subject.)
So how do we get the readers to find you - here are a few of the major ways:
-- Blog Directory Updates
When you set up your blog (if you are using Blogger) you can tell the system to notify the blog directory when any changes occur. This means that people (who are watching the directory) will know when your blog has changed.
You should also ensure that your blog is set as PUBLIC so that it will be made available to the entire world. No good keeping it a secret if you want visitors!
Incidentally, when the Internet was young (circa 1994) the free websites and free hosting solutions were ignored by the major search engines. The thinking behind this was as follows - if you cannot afford the low cost of hosting then you were not serious and so they figured why bother including you.
These days, hosting and websites are so cheap to obtain that they've become a commodity and now that elitist mentality has gone. The free sites are now included in the search engines. And I should point out that Google owns Blogger so they're a supporter.
One of the neat features of blogs is the ability to syndicate the content. Syndicating the content simply means that people interested in content like you have on your blog, can be notified and presented with the information when it becomes available.
Now don't worry about the technical details, just know that there is a way to do this and for the most part it's call RSS.
If you want to get major search engine to pick up your blog and index it in a hurry, then the current tactic is to add your blogs RSS or XML specs to your Yahoo RSS feed list.
It's a bit beyond the scope of this document, however it is straightforward enough. Simply log into your Yahoo account and click on the edit button under RSS feeds - add your blogs feed address and that's it.
If you've kept the defaults from within Blogger then your RSS feed will be called: http://your-blog-name.blogspot.com/atom/xml
-- Press Release
Press and media releases aren't just for big companies - they're for you too. The simplest way to approach this is to use a free PR distribution service like www.preweb.com
I've used them many times in the past with fantastic results - of course you still need to write a good press/media release but PRWeb really comes through after that.
PRWeb is free to use (although you can donate to upgrade features if you wish) and provides ample examples and a complete step by step guide to follow.
Simply get yourself a free account, write yourself a release (using their easy-to-follow guidelines) and submit it. Just remember to include your blog name and it's web address so that the search engines can index it accordingly.
-- UseNet, Forums & Discussion Boards
If your blog contains meaningful and useful information then you should take a little time and visit the various resources all over the web that would like to know about your blog.
Check out the newsgroups, the discussion forums and anything else you can find related to your chosen subject. It will take a little time at first but you will get the hang of it very quickly.
Just remember to be courteous when you post anything. Blatant advertising and commercial messages are often frowned upon so be sensitive to that. It's generally acceptable to include a short bio box or signature at the end of your email or message posting so be sure to include a brief description and link to your blog.
Remember, add value and don't be pushy.
-- What's Next?
Well as the shampoo bottles like to say "rinse and repeat"
This will take a while to gain momentum and the search engines can be a little slow at picking up the thread - the trick here is persistence. Which shouldn't pose a problem for you since you're blogging on a subject that interests you anyhow?
Here are a few passing thoughts to get you excited.
It's very easy to earn $10 to $50 a day with this technique - once the traffic has begun flowing. Remember, TRAFFIC equals MONEY. These numbers are very conservative because I don't want you thinking this is some get-rich-quick thing.
Sure you can earn more, I know people making at least $100 a day, but this system works as a function of the effort you put into it. You will need to create a valuable blog. You will need to write meaningful and useful content. If you throw up some shoddy link farm or inappropriate content you will be rewarded accordingly.
JAMES C. BURCHILL is a 20-year veteran entrepreneur and information technology executive who now provides strategic marketing consulting services to a select group of clients. He is a published author, a passionate advocate of technology and the Internet, as well as an avid study of classical advertising and marketing strategies (which he uses during 'Internet alchemy' experiments.) James is an expert in information and data management, Internet marketing and online networking. A self confessed 'information and technology enthusiast', James brings a wide range of valuable skills to any venture. Of singular note is James' ability to assimilate complex subject matter and produce clean clear 'easy-to-understand' messages. James has been interviewed many times and caused quite the media buzz when a client 'double-dog-dared' him to prove you can get front page coverage for $0. The details and that 'dumb stunt' are now part of eBay legend. Currently James lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife and family, their Siamese cat and one very nervous fish. Visit http://www.JamesBurchill.com for details.
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