Thursday, May 25, 2006

The What, Why and How of Business Blogs

Blog is short for Web Log or Weblog and the Blogosphere is the online blog world, some parts of which are hyperlinked extensively to each other.
This is the Wikipedia definition: Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.
I recommend that you read lots of people's blogs to learn what blogs are. Go to your favorite search engine and type in the word 'blog' and the subject you're interested in. For example, 'web design blog', or 'blog music', or 'sports blog'. You'll find lots of blogs that way.
Blogs have become a way in which regular, non-technical people can post information to the Web as easily as they can access it.

Why Are Blogs So Important?

Well, they're not that important, yet. But they could be soon, and most likely will be. In fact, some would argue that they are already vital in today's Web business world. I am not ready to agree to that yet, but it is becoming more obvious to me over time that blogs can no longer be ignored in business.
Online businesses can benefit from blogging by taking advantage of a vehicle for easily posting new, original, and business-related content on a regular basis.

Here Are Some More Business Benefits Of Blogging:

  • Blogs help to position you and/or your company as experts and leaders in your industry.
  • They're interactive in nature. At the end of each blog entry is usually a link that allows anyone to add their own comments to your blog entries. This allows your customers and potential customers to make comments about your products or services or ask you questions to help them in their buying process.
  • Blogs are marketed easily and quickly by their RSS feeds.
  • Blogs allow you to stress your choice of products, services, relevant news stories, quotes, pictures and more with your audience, customers and potential customers.
  • People are generous with adding links to your blog if the content is good, especially within their own blogs. More links means more traffic and better search engine rankings.

Here Are Some Ways In Which You Can Make Revenue From Your Blog:

1. Selling advertisements. Whether you use banners or text links, if your site draws a regular audience interested in your blog topics or theme, try to offer ad space to organizations that are looking to market to your audience. In fact, if your blogs becomes really popular then advertisers will call you.
2. Offering Google's AdSense. Google's website explains, "Google AdSense is a fast and easy way for website publishers of all sizes to display relevant Google ads on their website's content pages and earn money." Learn more about AdSense.
3. Affiliate Programs. Affiliate programs allow Web sites that provide links to your site to receive payments or reciprocal advertising in exchange for promoting your Web site. In the case of blogging, this is reversed, where you post links within your blog, and collect money from the owners of those links when they result in a click-through and sale.

Here Are Some Websites Where You Can Get Your Blog Listed:

  1. BlogWise
  2. Blog Search Engine
  3. Blog Hub
  4. Blog Daisy
  5. Get Blogs
  6. LS Blogs

How To Blog For Business:

First you need to get blogging software. You can choose to create a blog that is housed on another site such as (which is a blog service) or you can host it on your own Web server. I recommend the latter since the links that are developed by others pointing to your blog won't be counted in the search engines. This is because the links are attributed to domains, so a link to gives a link credit to and not your domain.

If your blog is a business blog, you really ought to host your own blog as opposed to using a blog service. You'll need the extra functionality and control.
If you plan on hosting your own blog and if you plan to use a UNIX Web server platform, then you need to go with blogging software such as Movable Type, for example. If you have a Microsoft Web server platform for your site, then you'll need software such as BetaParticle blog. Find a great list of various blog software at:
Next you'll need a database to hook your blog up to. The database is what stores the blog entries, among other things. If you don't know if you have a database on or connected to your website server, or if you don't know how to hook up your blog to your database, contact your host company or Web server administrator for help.

Once you have the blog set up on your domain (for example and you've hooked it up to a live database, you can start blogging. Generally, each entry is also a day. So you can write a new entry every day, or whenever you want, and that entry will show up on the blog at the top, moving older entries below.
You ought to think of a theme for your blog. In other words, your blog could be about your personal experiences in the industry you're in. It could be about your company's product reviews, or new services. It could be about your thoughts and opinions about issues related to your industry. It could be a place where you regularly find and list new resources to help others in your industry. The list is endless. But be sure to stick to a theme and be original. You want to offer something of value to your website visitors.
Sticking to a theme helps you position yourself for future advertisers and also makes for better reading for your visitors. Furthermore, you want to give a good impression with your blog with each and every entry if you want it to augment your online business. Finally, sticking to a theme helps with the search engines since it's believed that engines determine website themes and use this information for ranking.
Of course your blog could be about personal things too. Many blogs are just that, an online journal. But since we're interested in Web business here, I am discussing business blogs only.
What's great is that blogs get indexed easily and quickly by search engines. Each entry is another "page" that can be potentially listed in Google for example, which will drive more traffic to your site.
Another neat thing about running a blog once it's set up is that you do not need to be technical at all to make regular entries. This is helpful if you want to delegate the writing to someone else, since technical skills won't be a prerequisite. This allows you to have the most qualified person regarding the blog's theme and, hopefully the best writer, actually making the entries.
Be creative. Add images to your blog entries to spice things up a bit. Although blogging can be lonely, keep at it. Sometimes it seems like you're just writing new entries each day for yourself only. It may be a while before someone chooses to add a comment to one of your entries. You may not hear from anyone for a long time. But that doesn't mean people aren't reading it. In fact, check your website statistics to see just how many people are visiting your new blog. As you add more entries, get your blog listed on other sites and market your blog. It will build, and eventually you'll have a nice following of engaged readers.
Most importantly, be sure to pepper your entries with calls to action. For example, if your business blog is attached to your travel website and the blog's theme is traveling and finding great travel deals all over the world, make sure you add a link to an entry that points people to a travel special you're running on your website. What would be even better is a blog entry about the fantastic vacation you took to Hawaii and included at the end was a link to cheap Hawaii vacation deals on your website.

About The Author

Promoting Webs- Developer, Designer and SEO Professional with Promote Your Websites offering website design, search engine optimization and PPC Management.

Optimizing Your Web Design

It only takes an average of four seconds for each visitor to decide whether to stay on your site or not. This means that it is essential to optimize your website’s main page not only for the search engines but also your average visitor who may buy your products, engage your services or even recommend your website to people they know.

A visitor-friendly design
A web design that carefully considers the browsing needs of your site visitors, compliments the content, and overall theme of your site can give your site visitors a good impression. Not only will they have an excellent motivation to browse through your stuff, they just might also decide to bookmark your site as a resource to come back time and again.

While content plays a vital role to your site’s ranking and popularity, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t provide them with a candy-for-the-eyes user friendly images and design. Would you opt to shop from a site with simple yet elegant layout, appropriate product images and relevant descriptive content that’s easy to navigate and browse through. Some sites may offer just about the same products and services but the way their website is presented and designed may spell the difference between high sales traffic and a trickle.

Basic things to consider
Keep in mind that there are two things you have to take into account in your basic website design layout:

First, you must keep in mind what your visitors would like to see in your site. If you plan to be in authority of a certain topic, you can’t just put on poorly designed graphics. Everybody loves colors, and a little Flash animation here and there wouldn’t hurt but remember that search engine bots won’t be able to see or index them. Your website, especially your main page, should convey something to your customers. It should communicate trust and confidence in what you have to offer them. Bottom line for your consumers, make your site easy and simple with design and with complimented content.

Second, you have to design your site search engine friendly. This could be a tad more difficult but search engine friendly sites have greater chances of topping the SERP’s rather than flashy, graphic intensive sites. Most search engines have what they call “spiders” that crawl into your website particularly your HTML codes and scripts. The easier the spiders can get to your text of your web page, the better. This gives the spiders a better view of your site’s content. On the other hand, spiders frown on a much complicated programming like that of java scripts, cloaking tactics, invisible texts, and too much flash pages.

Basic Design Tips
Here are some tidbits you might want to take note of when optimizing your web design for search engines:

Go easy with images. While you have shouldn’t have to totally omit the use of graphics and images, remember that SE spiders can only read HTML text. You just have to make sure that your images don’t overshadow your text content. Use appropriate ALT text and keyword related filenames for your images.
• Avoid creating webpage frames. Spiders seem to have difficulty crawling into web pages with frames. Same advice is given to tables and layers.
• Though tempting, minimize using Flash images and texts. The thing is search engine spiders will be having a hard time what you ought to convey through your Flash. If you can utilize your Flash designs to be accompanied by HTML, the better.
• Links, nowadays, are often blended with JavaScript which presents similar problems with spiders. It is important to note that links play a major role in getting your site ranked in search engines. If their spiders can’t get through your links and index them, you’ve wasted time and effort harvesting your vast links.
• Make use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to anticipate future changes without affecting your entire site design. CSS can smooth the flow of your website as you add content, images, or whatever future updates you may have.

Bottom line is: create a simple and interesting design for your savvy visitors and, by the by, gain better positioning in major search engines.

Choosing the right keywords

Nowadays, optimizing you website has become a necessity to compete and strive in the World Wide Web. Search engine optimizing your site whether doing your SEO work in-house or delegating it to seo professionals should be thought about comprehensively just like any other business venture.
It’s important to get the basics right by having a clear idea about your website’s target audience profile and website content. You need to focus on what the major search engines like Google or Yahoo consider search engine friendly and be familiar with the guidelines they provide. One aspect search engine optimization experts do point out that’s important in the start up process is keyword selection.
Since the aim of optimizing a site is to put it on top or as close to the top of the SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages, you need to determine the right keywords to use and concentrate on.

So how do you get the right keywords?
You need to consider two things: the first one is to get a list of ‘in demand’ or popular keywords relevant to your business, service or website. You can start by choosing from at least five to ten keywords which you think may lead visitors to check out your site and there are a number of free internet tools that will help you determine which key terms are being used the most for searches or find out which isn’t being used at all.
One of the most popular tools available is Overture’s keyword selector. By entering at most a three word phrase in its suggestion tool field, you can compile keywords ranked according to popularity with all other terms closely related to keywords being used in the search. Overture constantly updates its searches every month so while your ‘keyword’ may not be as popular next month as it is now, it will give you a general idea of what words or phrases most internet users make use of. Aside from this useful tool, you can also check keyword popularity through Wordtracker, Google AdWord’s Keyword Suggestions, and Guidebeam.
Look out for the competition!
You don’t want to be a little fish in a large ocean full of large predatory sharks. A keyword’s strength is its ability to surpass its competition. So you might want to start from the less competitive ones. How do we determine competition? Since we are now in the Google era, it would be efficient to use the Google search. Enter your search keywords at Google and it will bring you to its SERP’s. On the top right navigational bar, you will find the total number of pages that target your keyword searched. With this figure you can an idea of how many are competing for your searched keyword. It is easier and faster to rank well with a keyword where there are only 100,000 sites to compete against rather than with a keyword that has over half a billion contenders.