11.30.2005

Why use Blogs part 1 1/2

In the interim between the last post on why use blogs and the now I came across the How blogging can help your business on speroforum.com by Hendry Lee. He covers a lot of good ground here and explains, in lesser detail, the same thing we talk about here. One of the more important things he said was;

One of the best things about using a blog with your business is that it can be used in a variety of applications. Started as a simple personal journaling web application, a blog can quickly mature and evolve into a business and marketing tool that some of us can't live without.


This of course may seem a little strange. Many would ask what other applications could a website have other than being a website. The real important thing remember here is that a blog is much mroe than a webpage. While there are other systems out there that can create dynamic content, none of them can do it in the easy way a blog can.

Internal blogs can help with company communications by keeping everyone on the same page. By using the categories (and tags but more on that later) you can organize data into searchable and well laid out topics. I have seen blogs used for time management also. By using the categories you can organize projects. Even keep yourself up to date with meeting minutes and your thoughts by inputing your notes into a post.

For a technology that is really in its infancy blogs have matured into a necessity that almost everyone can use, become reliant upon, and use to boost a companies competitive edge.

11.23.2005

Why use a blog? Part 1

A few people out there may ask why use a blog to help optimize my site? What does it do that other websites can't do? In this series I will talk about what is inherent in blogs that is lacking in websites that makes them a perfect tool for promoting your website. The first topic we will cover is website size.

Size Matters
The size of a website is taken into account by at least google. This does not mean a site with a many pages that has limited content on them is any good either. A site should have lots of pages with good content on each page. A blog is perfect for this.

Each Post a new Page
Each time you make a post a new page is created that can be found a number of ways by a search engine. So each post you make makes the blog one page bigger. If you post on a normal basis, hopefully at least once a day, your blog will make your website at least 365 pages bigger by the end of a year. Talk about easy content building.

Everythings a New Page
Every category and archive page you have also creates a new page for your website. Not only does it create a new page for your website but it creates another way for the search engines to find each of your post pages. If you are using pictures correctly, every picture you add takes the search engine to a page with that picture plus its underlying ALT tag.

As you can see the inherent structure of a blog can make your life much easier when it comes to promoting your website and making it show up high in the SERP's. Next time, The Chain of Blogs.

11.22.2005

Full Service Blog Hosts

Hosting for a blog is not hard to find as Chris Garrett muses about. But what if you want to find one that lets you have all the control you need or want? That can be a tough one. Not many blog host want to let you into the entire code or are scared of you making a mess out of their server. There are a few out there that will let you in and you can host with. I have used three myself. One is Penguin host You can get into the control panel and play with the code. However that is not always what you want. Webmasters.com is one of the few that will give you FTP access onto the server and you can play with the code. I have used this service for a while for different blogs using Wordpress and have liked them so far.

11.13.2005

Best Practices - Tips for Posting to Blog

This is specifically for a WordPress site- it is for a business owner that was starting a blog on their site, using WordPress.

You can say or show the world anything you like on your WordPress site. Here are some tips you need to know to help you write your posts in WordPress.

Use Paragraphs

No one likes to read writing that never pauses for a line break. To break your writing up into paragraphs, use double spaces between your paragraphs. WordPress will automatically detect these and insert

HTML paragraph tags into your writing.

Using Headings

If you are writing long posts, break up the sections by using headings, small titles to highlight a change of subject. In HTML, headings are set by the use of h1, h2, h3, h4, and so on. Example:

Vail



Use HTML
You don't have to use HTML when writing your posts. WordPress will automatically add it to your site, but if you do want control over different elements like boxes, headings, and other additional containers or elements, use HTML.

Spell Check and Proof

Some serious writers will write their posts in a text editor with spell check, check all the spelling and proof it thoroughly before copying and pasting into WordPress.

Use Keywords
Without being too contrived use keywords in your posts. Keywords help others find your Blog. Use words such as names of places, mountains, resorts, activities, well known restaurants, towns etc.

Be Chatty
Try to make your posts chatty, as if you are talking to a friend. Use your own experiences to talk about places you have been and know. Give insider tips such as the best places to go for nightlife, best runs, off the beaten path restaurants and how to avoid the crowds. Be creative!

Think Before You Post
Ranting on Blogs is commonplace today, but take a moment and think about what you are writing. Remember, once it is out there, it can be seen by many and crawled by search engines and taking things back is harder once it is public. Take a moment to read what you've written before hitting the Publish button. When you are ready, share it with the world.

Linking
Don’t be afraid to use links. You can link to pages in your own site, ski sites, competition sites just about anywhere. We want your Blog to become the place people go to find out information on ski resorts and by giving people lots of links you are offering them great information. They will come back for more.

Every Post - add a Link!
On every post try to link to one of your interior pages and or another website or Blog. And/or include a trackback.

Using Images on your Blog
Make sure the images are of good quality - and pertain to the post. It is good to add images, but don’t overuse them. The best image size has a max. of 72 dpi. This is a standard resolution for the web as it gives a quick download time while maintaining the quality of the image.

To take an image from your website go to your website, right click on the image and select ‘view properties’ this will give you information about the URL. Copy and paste the URL into your post editing area using the image tags.

Always write a good but brief description of the image.

11.08.2005

Trackbacks Explained

Trackbacks can be one of the most misunderstood aspects of blogging. While they are the true power behind a blog they are often misused or not used. Two guys, T. L. Pakii Pierce and Jim Edwards discuss what trackbacks are and how to use them on their blogs.

Mr. Pierce said "Trackbacks are definitely a powerful content promotion and distribution strategy. When used properly, Trackbacks can get you noticed and get you traffic." (Read his whole post here) This is something that I have understood but is difficult to get others to understand. Think about it this way, trackback=backlinks=more attention from google. Which goews into what Mr. Edwards said "The breakthrough I experienced has to do with "back links"... a way for you to automatically get other people linking back to your blog (and I'm talking about high traffic blogs that can bring you targeted clicks for free)." (read his whole post here)

Their videos are great and very informative. The series of three last about 30 minutes total, definetly worth checking them out. The links straight to the videos are here (video 1, video 2, video 3)