A Web log, a.k.a. blog, is basically a journal posted online where the world can read it. Some treated their blog just as such, and only post entries about their lives and personal challenges. Others use their blogs to promote ideas from religion and politics to cooking and crafting.
Do you want to share your unique thoughts and opinions with the world? Of course you do. What is the point in having an opinion if you never share it? The blog is an amazing opportunity for the everyday person to be heard by an unlimited number of readers. Whether you are raising your first child, mending your second marriage, building your tenth website, or growing a home garden, you have things to write about. Better yet, you have advice to offer those who face the same challenges you have already conquered.
The History of Weblogs
In December of 1997 the term web log was coined by Jorn Barger. This was later shortened by Perter Merholz, who broke the word into we blog. The shorter version, blog, was soon commonplace.
Political blogs and other hot topics resulted in millions of page views for several successful bloggers in the late 90’s. This did not go unnoticed by software developers and web hosts. Before long there were sites and software available for anyone with a desire to start their own blog, often for free.
Where Can I Start Blogging?
This is an easy one, EVERYWHERE. There are literally thousands of places you could potentially start your blog. If you or a friend has a personal website you can use one of the many programs available online to create your blog there. Hosting providers often offer you blog building software for free. Many companies offer blog space to their employees, but you may feel restricted from sharing certain topics at work. Another option is the ever-so-popular MySpace.com. MySpace is a online social community which offers a free webpage with blogging capabilities.
Today there are many sites devoted to blogging, a few of these include: Blogger.com, Blogthing.com, BlogThat.net, TheBlogs.net, BlogText.org, ImgBlogs.com, and RapidBlogs.com
Can I Make Money Blogging?
Why yes you can! This is another marvel of the internet age, money for nothingÃ¢Â?Â¦at least nothing much. Most bloggers do what they do out of a love for expression. To make money off of something you would be doing anyway is awfully cool. Several sites make this simple, including Blogger.com who recently added a Google Adsense interface.
Google Adsense and other targeted ads are a hot commodity on the web today. Advertisers are given a unique opportunity to target potential customers on the pages they view most. The advertisers pay the referring page on a per-click basis. Some ads may only pay five cents, while others will pay five dollars. If the ad is place on a page about bird watching, then advertisements for bird watching books and clubs will appear on the page.
Bloggers savvy enough to work the codes into their pages were using targeted ads on places like Blogger long ago, but now they’ve made it as easy as it is at writingUp. WritingUp is a growing site which places your ads for you. The site offers a step by step guide to signing up for Google Adsense. Once you have created your accounts with writingUp and Google, all that is left is to post your blog entries. It was one of the first sites to take this approach to blogging and it has really paid off.
What to Write
The diary approach to blogging can be wonderful, particularly for the individual who blogs for the sake of blogging. Depending on the level of interest the public takes in your life, you may or may not receive many page views. This is fine if you are only interested in keeping friends and family up to date on your life. However, if you are desiring a large readership and your life is pretty simple and uncomplicated, then you may want to blog about something other than your household to-do list or your weekend errands.
Whatever your interests, there are others who share them. Some of those ‘others’, if not all, will certainly know less about this interest than yourself. Learning to effectively research your topic matter is essential. The more authoritative your voice, the more devoted readers you will earn. Pick something you know and love, whether it is gardening, parenting, teaching, gambling, or fashion. The possibilities are endless.
Keywords alone will not help your page in the search engines. You must take the initiative and request your link be accessed by the each individual SE. Start by submitting your URL to Google, yahoo, and msn. Smaller search engines such as Lycos and Alta Vista often receive their results through Google or Yahoo!, but I urge you to cover your bases.
Another helpful tool is Google Sitemap. If your blog is a part of a personal web site, then you should submit a list of your sites pages to Google Sitemap, leading with your blog’s url. There is a simple text method explained at the site. This will help ensure that Google indexes your blog page for searches.
Write it and They Will Come
So you want to share your expertise on bird watching in the UK. How do you catch the interest of other bird watchers and keep them reading your blog? First off, you need to write informative entries about bird watching with tips and tricks to mastering and enjoying the hobby. You need to share your knowledge about local birds and help beginning bird watchers to identify and admire their finds. Remember, your readers will come from all levels of bird watching expertise, so include something for everyone.
Posting regularly is important to both your search engine status and your readers attention. The internet I full of places readers can find information. If you do not regularly update your blog, then they have no reason to return to it.
Once you have decided on a general topic, take a minute to use an SEO keyword tool such as Wordtracker, who offers a fair trial or Yahoo’s Keyword Selector Tool. These tools will help you to choose popular keywords which will ultimately lead to more hits for your blog. Remember to target those who are searching, but not always finding exact matches for their searches. Using popular keywords that have relatively few matching sites will lead to a faster growing audience and a higher page rank on Google and other search engines.
Keywords are the most important thing to keep in mind when writing. The more dense your keywords, the better chance of being picked up by the search engines. The first paragraph is most important. Be sure to use your main keyword at least once per sentence for the first three sentences. For example you might write this about Black Crows: Within the Almeda Province, the Black Crow is found in great numbers. The superstitions associated with the Black Crow are numerous. Many local persons fear the Black Crow for various esoteric reasons. Though these sentences are not my best literary work, they meet my keyword needs beautifully. Do not however make my mistake and forsake style and resonance for keywords. It is certainly worth the effort to work your keywords into the blog in a natural way.
The search engines are very smart and will catch on if you are “keyword stuffing”. “Keyword Stuffing” was once a popular and successful way of making the top ten on Google. Promoters would repeat keywords over and over and over and over and over. The problem was that most pages offered very little REAL content related to the keywords. Many of you may remember a period when your searches took you from one lame page to another. Today, those smart boys and girls and Google have implemented several protocol which kick back keyword-stuffed pages. You need keywords, but not too many, and not to obvious. If you want to see your pages in the search results, then you’d better mind your manners with keywords.
Finding New Readers and Leading Them to Your Blog
Once you have successfully posted an entry on your blog, you cannot sit back and wait for the readers to find you by mistake. You need to be actively promoting your site if you want your readership to grow. There are many ways to promote your site on the web, you just have to get creative.
How do you find bird watchers and bring them to your site? Visit all your favorite forums/boards on bird watching and related topics. Keep an active presence on as many forums/boards as possible. Always sign your entries with a hyperlink to your blog page. A simple hyperlink can be added by inserting your blog address in the area that says URL and the text you’d like to appear in the link where it says Title. Here is the formula: Title. To learn more HTML codes for your blog page see: Webmonkey, The Web Developer’s Resource.
Network with as many sites as possible. Write the webmasters of your favorite bird sites and ask them for a link exchange. You can add to your blog a list of your favorite sites, these will of course be hyperlinks leading to the sites themselves. In exchange the webmasters (if willing) of these sites will post hyperlinks to your blog. Of course, they will not be interested in exchanging links if you have not written informative, interesting content within your blog.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, your blog will see an influx of visitors. You maybe surprised how quickly your page ranking will rise. However, if you wish to take things to the next level, then there are additional promotional techniques which you could employ, including the following:
Place a hyperlink in the signature of your email account so all correspondences are advertisements for your Blog
Advertise on Craig’s List
Advertise on your ISP’s Member Ad spaces
Join Traffic Exchanges
Buy Pay-per-Click Ads
Submit your Blog’s URL to both major and minor Search Engines
Continually refresh content on the blog to increase Search Engine Rankings
Continue using content/keyword tools to find frequently searched keywords
Blog Your Heart Out
There are endless possibilities in the realm of blogs. Even the amateur journalist has an opportunity to reach millions with proper management and interesting content. How far you take your blogging experience is up to you. Remember one thing, the internet never forgets. Your words may echo through cyberspace long after you are gone, so choose them wisely.