|Blogging, RSS & Feeds|
Is a Blog Right For Your Business?
Lemmings are cute, but dumb. If you tell them to jump off a cliff, they will. Just like the people who start blogs because everyone is doing it. Guess what happens after a little while? The blogs die.
In managing a list of many Web sites, most of which are blogs, I deleted countless sites from the list because the sites and blogs no longer existed. The people ran out of steam or had no reason to start them in the first place.
How do you know when a blog is right for your business? Learn why people start blogs, how they find their niche and how blogging tools can be used for more than blogs.
Some people like to read blogs, others like to read newsletters, still others like to rely on feeds and some read a few or all of them. No matter the method the information is distributed, each medium has one thing in common: content. Having a blog connects your newsletter and your business with all of these readers and delivers important content in a particular style.
I've been blogging since June 2000. If you review my early blog entries in meryl's notes, you'll notice they're more personal. When blogs first hit the scene in the late '90s, they were personal diaries and journals. Like the blog business, my blog has transformed from personal to business speak, although I still add personal notes here and there.
A few bloggers tend to talk about their work, their products and their little world. That might work for celebrities where fans want to know everything about them, but it doesn't work for the average business person. Other business people want information on how to succeed and when a blog spends time hawking products offering information of no value, few people will return. The people whose products sell well are the ones who provide valuable information. Readers already know what kind of information they're getting, so they trust that when they buy something, it will be of the same or better quality. This value must be reflected in their blog. It's much like people who only sign up for a newsletter after first seeing an example.
No one wants to be a lemming (I would hope). How do you decide whether or not to set up a blog? The answer isn't black or white (what did you expect?). Ask these questions:
The big decider is whether or not you can write in the blog almost daily. The people behind the high traffic blogs post multiple times a day. Though resourceful, merely linking to other sites doesn't give visitors much reason to make the effort to come to yours. Reading other blogs or feeds is a great way to learn how to carry a discussion. Find other blogs covering topics similar to yours and check them out. Disagree with their opinions? Write about it and explain your reasons. Cross-blog discussions are common, and that's where trackback comes in handy.
Trackback is a blog feature. If you decide to comment on another blog posting in your blog instead of in that blog's comments page, then you link to the conversation through the trackback link. Trackback is similar to the permalink, the permanent URL for the blog entry, but it has a different URL for copying and pasting in your blog's trackback box.
Aside from the technical aspects of operating a blog on a daily basis, subscriber list size and Web site traffic are good indicators of what kind of reaction you'll get when opening a blog. Starting from scratch with little traffic means you have a long road ahead and lots of work to do. There is no magic formula anyone can sell you for $97 to make your blog an overnight success. But with some perseverance and ingenuity, your blog can engage many prospects and clients.
Considering there are numerous blogs out there, pick a niche topic when starting a blog for a better shot at attracting and keeping an audience. meryl's notes focuses on three areas: webby, geeky and wordy. In reality, this is too much. What I need to do for my readers is create three separate blog entry points, so those interested in writing, newsletters and Internet marketing get nothing but the wordy entries. Those interested in Web design get the webby stuff and the technophiles receive the geeky content.
I also manage a personal blog separate from meryl's notes. It's about cochlear implants and deafness. This could fall under the geeky category, but it's a personal blog and doesn't belong in meryl's notes. This blog is written for a different audience.
The blogging tools for both of my blogs come with syndication capabilities so those using feed readers or aggregators can read the content through the software. When sending a new issue of a newsletter, comment on it or link to it in the blog, that way the blog and feed readers will get the goods, so all three bases are covered.
Blogging tools aren't just for, well, blogging. Such tools are an excellent way to help you update your Web site more often than you otherwise would. I use it to manage the list of tableless Web sites. Using blogging tools is much easier than the way I managed it before, updating the HTML files by hand. Though using a blog tool, it isn't a blog. In this case, the blog tool has become a content management system (CMS).
Small business owners don't have a need for the fancy and pricey CMSes out there. They find it easier to use blogging software to manage their sites or hire someone to adapt the tool for their site.
Blogs have found a place in businesses and people are finding creative ways to use them. Some companies have a blog on the intranet for communicating project status, jeopardies and metrics. They're used for knowledge management. With information pouring in, blog tools provide a way to share, organize and process the information.
Being a follower can be good or bad. No one wants to walk off a cliff with the lemmings, but everyone wants to succeed. Best practices won't help, since the decision to blog is based on the organization's mission, needs and goals along with its target market's desires and needs. A blog about lemmings? There is one, sort of. Or maybe you'd like to start your own and talk about dumb business moves.
Meryl K. Evans is the Content Maven behind meryl.net who increases conversion rates by writing and editing content so organization can focus on their core business. She is the editor-in-chief of the eNewsletter Journal and Shavlik's The Remediator Security Digest. Visit her Web site at http://www.meryl.net/blog/.
For Wordpress users version 1.5 new feature ?Pages?
After many requests from wordpress users, the latest version of wordpress has a build in option to create static pages. You can use static pages for an about page, contact page, a links page, etc. This dreamhost review page is an example of a stand alone static page. The advantages are that you can add stand alone content to its own page, outside the normal weblog hierarchy. Pages have the same editing options, plug-in functionality and themes as posts. Or you can customize the stand alone page as much as you want. Static pages also help search engine indexing, as opposed to dynamic urls.
Update Your Websites Content Automatically 24/7 Using RSS(Real Simple Syndication) and RSS Feeds
RSS(Real Simple Syndication) is the newest form of content syndication to hit the Internet and is widely becoming the best known way online to deliver fresh targeted content to your website(s) to whatever audience you're targeting 24/7/365.
Easy RSS for Bloggers
Do you need help adding RSS feeds to your blogger? It's really easy and here is how you can do it:
What is an RSS Aggregator or RSS Reader?
I keep hearing about RSS, XML and RSS feeds. I just barely have a clue what they are, but when people then start talking about RSS aggregators, what are they talking about and why would I want one? Do you use an aggregator, and if so, which one?
Using RSS Feeds to Set Off a Traffic Explosion
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is the perfect answer to your needs for sharing and distributing content. The way this works is webmasters can share bits of code with one another that give them access to the others forums, newsletters, blogs, information, news, and the like. When this information is shared, it can create a massive increase in traffic. Read the following suggestions regarding RSS feeds and increasing traffic for your website to decide if this is the right marketing tool for you.
Top Ten Reason to Publish an Ezine AND a Blog
Blogs are the hottest thing going these days when it comes to marketing on the Internet. A blog is a way of delivering your messages and article to clients. They are a like personal web sites, easy to create and far less expensive than traditional web sites.
Shorten Your Blogging-RSS Learning and Submission Curve
A blog is a frequent, online publication of comments, web links, and news. It is an online Enzine of sorts. People maintained blogs long before the term was coined, but the trend gained momentum with automated published systems, most notably is blogger.com. Thousands of people use services such as Blogger alone.
Is RSS Here to Stay or Gone Tomorrow?
RSS is totally hot. We have seen it everywhere, from John-Doe blogsites to major news websites. If you haven't heard of RSS before, that's okay, because I hadn't either until a couple of months ago!
RSS for Newbies; A Quick Tutorial
"RSS" stands for "Really Simple Syndication". It is a new way to distribute content. Any content: websites, blogs, forums, etc. To explain what this means, for once let's start at the end.
How to Create an RSS Feed
An RSS news feed can be used to communicate with your target audience. It is an ideal means of notifying people of new content on your website without the need for them to keep on visiting your site. You can send newsletters to your readership without having to use email and risk being accused of spamming. You will be comfortable in the knowledge that people who request your feed are actually interested in it because they have actively subscribed to it. This article will explain just how to create your own RSS news feed. There are a couple of ways to create an RSS file, you can use an editor designed for the purpose or you can create a file using a simple text editor. The latter will require you to learn some XML whilst the former will do the hard part for you. First off I will describe an RSS file, there are several versions and I will be showing you version 2.0, the latest RSS version. An RSS file looks just like an HTML file except it has different tags and the files end in .rss or .xml rather than .html. The file is made up of header information and item information, the item information contains the actual news items. The first section of the file contains the header information. This states that the file is XML and which version, the encoding used and the version of RSS that you are using. This part of the file is mandatory. Next up is the channel tag, this encloses the whole of the rest of the file. This is followed by a title, description and link which explain the what the feed is about and what website it is associated with. The final part of the header is the optional image information. If you use this the software that is used to parse or read your file can display a small picture such as a logo. Please note that in these examples I have used square brackets instead of angled brackets. [?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?] [rss version="2.0"] [channel] [title]The Widget news feed[/title] [description]The latest news on widgets[/description] [link]http://www.widget.com/[/link] [image] [title]Widget News[/title] [url>http://www.widget.com/widget.gif[/url] [link>http://www.widget.com/[/link] [/image] The body of the file is made up of the news items. Each news item is enclosed in the item tag and comprises of a title, a description and a published date. The date needs to be in the format shown in the example below. [title]Which is the best Widget to?[/title] [description]In this article we discuss the release of several new widgets, but which is the best widget.[/description] [pubDate]Sun, 20 Mar 2005 14:38:50 GMT[/pubDate] [link]http://www.widget.com/the-best-widgets.html[/link] [/item] You can have as many items in the feed as you like but many webmasters just show the 10 most recent items to keep the bandwidth usage down and also so not to overwhelm the end user with too many items. Finally the file is ended with the closing channel tag and a closing RSS tag. [/channel] [/rss] I have covered the basic tags to create an RSS file, there are other tags that can be used and these are explained in the http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss (RSS 2.0) specification. Once you have created your file you will need to verify it is ok, to do this upload the file to your server and then go to this validator to validate the file. Your file is now ready. Now anyone can subscribe to your feed just by pointing their RSS reader to your RSS file. That is the basics covered. I will be covering other areas in future articles as there is far too much information to fit into a single article.
Blogging for Business
Business blogs are primarily used to improve a company's communication both internally and externally. Business blogs are a type of communication channel that could be used effectively in product launches, team interaction internally within the company or interaction between clients and company. With the level of interactivity blogs provide, clients feel more confident in the company. Not to mention the amount of traffic it brings to the main site.
Top 7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use RSS
In today's online world of high-speed websites and giant portals, every established Internet business boasts of delivering content via RSS.
Making Money With Your Blog
I've sure you've heard before that it's a possibility to make money with your blog and you may be wondering how this is possible. And were they really meant for making money or just for journaling your personal thoughts? I'm not sure what they were intended for but they are great ways to make money.
RSS - The Intelligent Marketing Medium
Are you new to RSS? If so here is a introduction to what RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is and how your website will benefit from offering an RSS feed to your visitor's.
Blogging Policies, Does Your Business Need One?
Weblogs or Blogs as they are more commonly referred to, have become extremely popular in the last several years. So popular in fact that many large businesses are letting some employees post Blogs on their corporate websites. While many businesses are jumping on the Blog bandwagon for use as a creative marketing technique; a few businesses have fired employees for what they posted on a Blog. These businesses accuse the employees of allegedly disclosing trade secrets, proprietary information, and making statements that showed the employer in a bad light.
Gathered Statistical Data Announces that Blogs will Dominate the Internet in Less than a Few Years
... if not months to come.
Business: Deliver Information Safely
Businesses that are not using feeds today, as part of their marketing and advertising plans, will soon do so, or should thinking of implementing them soon. Although this is a fairly new communications tool it is growing rapidly. The reason is that the information gatherer, consumers, etc., are or will be using readers to view information. The main reason is that information can be viewed with No Spam, No Junk Mail and No Viruses threats.
How To Profit From Your Home Business Blog
A blog is a simple tool which all affiliate marketers should be utilising to explode their affiliate sales.
Blog and Ping is Dead
Unfortunately, this formerly reliable method of getting listed in Yahoo seems to be dead. I have used it a few times over the last month to try to get some new pages listed in Yahoo and there has been no action at all.
RSS Feeds Can Increase Your Sales
RSS feeds are reshaping how we access information online. In the past, when you wanted to know when your favorite information site had some new information on it, you had to go visit the website, wait for it to load, get distracted, etc. With the growing popularity of RSS feeds however, this is no longer necessary.
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