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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

Blogging for success

Every day a new blog pops up. Some seem off the wall with a strange passion for all things - dread lock fans, newest trends of nail polish, 80's brat pack, or anything else you can talk about and never stop. What do these have in common? They have a niche. They are specific and true to their real passion and do not deviate from that.

We will talk about what you need to do to make your blog stand out.

As mentioned above your blog needs a niche; a topic. Here at Liv's WAHM Blog our niche is WAHMs and all that surrounds WAHMs. Maybe your chosen topic will be your business. That would make it a business blog. We will discuss a few things about business blogs a bit further down as this are different than traditional blogs.

When choosing a niche or topic, write about what you know. What you are passionate about and will not run out of things to say. If you decide to dedicate your blog to your favorite TV show, you will need subject matter to discuss 3-5 times a week minimum. Problem is what happens if that show is suddenly canceled after 1 season? Can you continue to talk about this show for 5 yrs to come? A short season probably means little interest in the show and will not be much of a following. If you are OK with this, by all means continue. Just be realistic here.

When you choose a topic, do not deviate. You don't want to start on nail polish then have random posts about oil changes for your car. How does it relate to your topic? Maybe you chose this route because it will rake in AdSense pay offs. That sounds great but if your dedicated following comes to your blog for one thing and you go off in another direction, you just defeated the purpose.

Don't strive for perfection in your writing. If you are not a skilled writer, don't pretend to be. Be yourself in your writing. This is what brings in followers. Those who following your blog are following you. Not your fancy talk and big words.

Use spell check. I cannot stress this enough. We all have an oops here and there but content that is filled with poor grammar and misspelled words will only give the appearance you have no idea what you are talking about. You want readers to believe you are knowledgeable about the subject matter.

Use pictures related to your subject matter not just random pictures. Maybe a field of flowers looks pretty but how does that relate to your post about dog treats? You should have posted a picture of your dog or the treats themselves. When using pictures be careful not to use copyrighted material. Just posting where the picture came from or giving the photographer credit will not make it OK. You are still required to adhere to copyright laws.

Do not plagiarize. Don't copy someone else's article and pass if off as your own. Not only will this get you knee deep in a lawsuit but you will shut down your blog and loss all credibility. Don't risk it. It is OK to take ideas and make them your own but never use work that is not your own without permission. Here is a great article called 7 Online Copyright Myths that is definitely worth reading http://ezinearticles.com/?7-Online-Copyright-Myths&id=6154.

If you are stuck for a new post, there are several sites offering free articles. You must keep the copyright in tact for these but they can be a great way to fill in when needed. I caution against using an article that is overused. It lessens your credibility when an article that has been seen a hundred times over appears on your blog. I also caution against articles you pay for. These are top notch but again you do not want to post an article that has been read over and over. The reason is when you purchase an article and the rights, the original author is not shown so it appears as your own work. Eventually someone will notice it is everywhere. Check to see how many places the article appears. An easy way is to take a line from an article and paste into the search engine. Visit the sites to see is it similar wording or the same article all together. Use good judgment here.

Whenever possible, hyperlink words in your blog posts. This can be to a specific website or to a specific product page. This helps web crawlers visit your page more often. The more often your page is crawled the better your chances are at showing up in search engines. In blog programs such as here in Blogger you have a hyperlink button. Just highlight the word you wish to link outside of your blog and enter the full URL.

Write ahead of time. This will help you from being stuck last minute for an article. Whenever possible, schedule 5-10 posts. Spread them out about every 2 days. Also have back up articles. This again helps when you get stuck. You can go into your stash of articles to post never leaving your blog stagnant for too long. The more regular you post, the more often your readers will visit and so will web crawlers.

Engage your readers. Encourage participation in discussions. This does not mean every post must be a discussion if you do not desire them to be. Allow your readers to share their thoughts with others.

Keep your layout simple. Do not use busy backgrounds, glitter images (unless related to your topic), or inappropriate graphics (unless related to your topic). What you may think is cute, fun, and colorful, others may find childish, immature, and unprofessional. Be careful and customize your look based upon your chosen subject matter.

Business blogs are an area to be careful with. Many want to make money with blogs using avenues such as AdSense of affiliate programs. The LAST thing you should ever do on a business blog is place ads on your blog that will take your customers away from you. A business blog is strictly for your business and the building of your business and customer relationships. It is not about sending them away to buy products elsewhere. Maybe you will get a click that earns you $0.05 each but why throw that away when a single sale can earn you $5. Only monetize non-business blogs.

If you have the option to allow people to follow your blog, add this option. Here on blogger.com there is a widget you can add for followers. Make it easy for readers to come back. The easiest way is to follow you.

Write blogs people want to read about. Maybe you find the tomato bug a fascinating creature and want to discuss the aesthetics of this bug but others may want to read about ridding themselves of a pest. If you don't give your readers what they want or need, why should they visit? So give them reason to visit and visit often.

Use keywords and lots of them. Use them in your blog title as well as blog body. Make sure to tag your blog post with keywords used in your blog. When readers search for posts to read, they use keywords. When thinking of keywords, use what you think they will type to find your post. If your blog post is about candles, use all words related to candles.

Use blog ping sites. With every blog you post you should ping your blog. There are several out there. One I use frequently is ping-o-matic found at http://pingomatic.com/. You can bookmark the results for an easy and fast ping with every new blog.

Spread the word about your blog. Join blogging groups and message boards you enjoy. Comment on other blogs and invite to read yours. With each new blog post a Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Cafemom update. Go where your readers are. Don't visit these sites just to promote your own blog. Interact and share.

Know who your readers are. Obviously if your blog is about sewing your target is women. Even though men do sew, this is not a huge market. Before starting your blog, write down all things related to your blog and who would be interested.

I have given you a lot to think about but seriously take into consideration all that has been discussed. Your success directly relates to your ability to draw in readers. Your goal may be to make money off your blog but be realistic. You will not make big money right away. It takes time to build a reputation for the knowledge you make available.

When it comes to your blog, enjoy it. It is not to stress over or think of as a job. Take your time and do it right.

Happy blogging!

Olivia Vidal
© 2009


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