:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: Blogging

How to Position your Blog in the Market the ‘Right Way’

positioning your blog in the market the right way

This is a guest post written by Paul Wallis of Webprofits.com.au, an online marketing agency based in Australia. Full Author Bio can be found at the end of the article.

There are two basic types of blogging- Productive and unproductive. A productive blog is properly targeted to its market. An unproductive blog misses its targets regularly. If you’re a typical commercial blogger, there’s no midpoint. You need to connect with your market effectively and constantly. That means you need to provide information which is useful to your audience and in touch with the most interesting and important issues on the market.

Blogging and Marketing Basics

There’s a basic concept in marketing which defines exactly what all blogs need, and it’s called “Positioning”. For blogs, this includes:

  • Information type, value and quality
  • SEO placement
  • Currency of information
  • “Brand identity”, the process of establishing a presence in your market

The positioning is the public face of your blog, and it’s also your primary point of sale for your commercial interests. It’s also the means of accessing your blog and an interest generator.

For example:

If your blog is about web design:

  • Information type: Value and quality is critical to an audience which will be largely comprised of experts. Your position in this case has to be a source of good information, created to meet the standards and expectations of your demographic.
  • SEO placement: Page rankings in a specialized field have to be earned, using good quality, relevant keywords, and good quality links.
  • Currency of information: In a specialist field, your information must be current, not material the audience has already seen. Stale blogs tend to be ignored.
  • Branding: “Brand identity” is the development of your positioning, establishing your own identity and enhancing the image of your blog.

The Big Don’ts of Marketing and Blogging

It must be noted at this point that blog positioning can go backwards, as well as forwards. There are some very serious “Don’ts” in blog marketing related to positioning:

  • Don’t get repetitive. This is fatal, and simply turns off the audience.
  • Don’t get stuck on a single line of information in your blog. Cover as many related fields as possible.
  • Don’t use lower quality materials in your blog. Keep up your standards, and you’ll keep your audience. If you’re outsourcing materials, get them from the best suppliers and freelancers.
  • Don’t assume your readers will read anything. They won’t. They’ve got the whole world to choose from. Your market position needs to be maintained, or it will inevitably deteriorate.

The Do’s of Marketing and Blogging

To develop and reinforce your blog:

  • Maintain interest: Use new materials, new forms of presentation and new ideas.
  • Ask for feedback: You need feedback to know what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you have a healthy interaction with your audience at all times.
  • Be creative and innovative: If you’ve got a new idea you’d like to try, do it. This stops you going stale, too, and it will generate a lot of interest.

The best blogs are fun, interesting and well positioned in their fields. Get your positioning right, and your blog will always be popular.

About the Author
Paul Wallis is an award winning professional freelance writer, and does a lot of writing in the SEO field. He works in the US, Canada, Australia and Belgium. He’s published 12 books on lulu.com and some of some of his other work can be found at Digital Journal.


HOW TO: Import a Posterous Blog in WordPress.com

If you have started blogging with a posterous blog for convenience and now thinking of moving to a full-blown blogging platform like WordPress then they have just the right solution for you.

WordPress has just launched a Posterous import feature inside all WordPress.com dashboard. It uses the Posterous API so the import is seamless & easy. Basically all you need to do is, just login to your wordpress.com dashboard and go under Tools -> Import.

There you should see a Posterous importer option. Once you click that a form should appear, type in your Posterous host name, user name, and password in the appropriate fields and hit the Submit button.

Once the importer validates your credentials it will automatically start the import. If everything works out great then you should receive an email from WordPress saying that your import has been successful!

Why would someone want to move from Posterous?

Even though posterous is a great platform to maintain something like a tumblelog, it may not be suitable for mainstream blogging due to some limitations. For instance, Posterous currently doesn’t support javascript which is required to run Advertising programs like Google Adsense or any analytics or tracking program like Google Analytics and so on.


Oxite – Microsoft’s Open Source Blogging Platform

oxite-microsoft-blogging-platform Microsoft have just released an alpha version of its own open source content management system (CMS) platform – Oxite.

What is Oxite?

Oxite is blogging flavored CMS platform that is currently available under the Microsoft Public License. Its target user base is not ‘end users’ but developers who perhaps use Microsoft’s platform to make a custom CMS or a large-scale multi user blog network. So if your small-medium business is looking to build a blog platform or CMS from scratch, your IT team may well consider making Oxite as their base platform.

Features of Oxite

Some of the major features of this new open source CMS are – Gravatars, pingbacks, trackbacks, RSS feeds, commenting, and the MetaWebLog API (which will allow your favorite blogging client to post to your Oxide blog directly).

Downside of Oxite

Oxite is based on ASP.net (Front End) and MS SQL (back end), thus when we are talking about cost of Hosting we are already looking at a major disadvantage. The reason WordPress, Drupal & other CMS are so popular because they are all written in PHP and backed up by mySQL – thus can run on any cheap linux server.

My Two Cents

Well its always great to see any ‘open-source’ product coming out from Microsoft. But Oxite will disappoint a lot of users who doesn’t want the hassle of setting up a windows server and Microsoft SQL Server for running this CMS. But for big companies or start ups who wants to create a multi user blog network, Oxite might just be be an ideal choice.

Channel 9 has a short interview with the developers of Oxite that describes some more of the software’s features and the history of its development.


Bloggers Best Practices Guide by Google

After launching the Official Google SEO Guide, many webmasters has really appreciated Google’s effort in trying to help out web community. The blogosphere demanded that Google should often come up with more such guides so that at least the ‘best practices’ of the subject matter is clear to the public.

And now It looks like Google has came up with another Guide for Bloggers, unfortunately its not a PDF this time but instead its a new document inside the Google Webmaster Help archive. So in this small guide, the Google Webmaster Central team has offered some basic but useful tips on how bloggers can improve their blogs. They have divided the document in 3 parts – Creating great content, Making the content Crawler & user friendly & lastly use of Google Webmaster tools for your blog.

I have created a small summary of what the guide talks about. So here goes:

Creating Great Content

  • Write Good content & Write as Frequently as possible — As you may already know, Content is King but do you know that writing more ‘frequently’ can encourage your readers to come back to your site more often? But obviously you need to take into account that the subject of your writing should be the same as what your readers expect from your blog. A very good quality post once a week is better than many low-quality content published daily.Tip: — Perform a search in Google for a subject of interest on your niche. If you can’t find a good answer, simply create a blog post about that particular subject – chances are that other people are also searching for the same thing.
  • Always follow the Webmasters Guideline and try do things naturally. Try not to get involved in shady practices like this.
  • Organize your content to make your Blog more User-friendly! Use categories, tags & labels appropriately so that your content are easy to find.
  • Host your blog in your own domain and link it from your Home page so that the users & search crawlers can easily find your content
  • Always create original content & content that are primarily for users and not the search engines. If you are promoting a affiliate product, DON’T use the content that they provide which has probably been used in tons of other places and are just duplicates. Always write unique & original content that you feel will be useful for the reader (e.g. Product reviews, How-tos etc.)
  • Stop Comment Spam – Comments are Good but SPAMs are not. Read more about how to stop comment spam.

Making your Blog Crawler & User Friendly

  • Always use Descriptive Titles for each your posts – Think of words that people may use to search for that particular post and include them in your title. Write Unique Titles so that it doesn’t get mixed up with another post of yours in your blog.
  • Engage in your community, participate in discussion and interact with the readers who leaves a comment in your blog
  • Publish a FULL feed of your content rather than a partial Feed. Full feeds can make users happy because they can view your content with a lot less effort. Even though it might result in a short-term decline in visits to your actual blog, but it has long-term benefits for you

Webmaster Tools For Your Blog

Thats all! Pretty basic isn’t it? If you were expecting more “advanced” stuffs I invite you to read some of the following:

Bloggers Guide to SEO by Aaron Wall & Giovanna Wall – SEOBook.com

WordPress SEO – Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog by Joost de Valk – Yoost.com

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs by Darren Rowse – Problogger.net

Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers by Matt Cutts – Mattcutts.com/blog/

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic by Rank Fishkin – SEOmoz.org

Tips for Optimizing Blogs and Feeds by Ross Dunn – SearchEngineGuide.com

Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide by Lorelle – Lorelle.Wordpress.com

SEO For WordPress – The Complete Guide by Jim Westergren – JimWestergren.com

Did I miss any great resources? Please Include it in comments or notify me via twitter (@saadkamal).

Update: I forgot to add my very own post that I wrote particularly for Bloggers titled: How to Rank Your Blog High in Search Engines. Check it out and I’m sure you will be able to take some useful pieces from it.


How to Rank Your Blog High in Search Engines

Every blogger dreams of getting a lot of targeted traffic from search engines. Because first of all – organic search traffic is absolutely FREE and secondly it gives the blogger a wider reach of audience. For instance, I’m from Malaysia but I believe a lot of you who are reading this are from different parts of the world. So a blogger doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to his own locality but with the help of Search engines his blog can reach out to the whole world.

Search Engine Optimization For Blogs

So Today I have decided to share some of the simple tips that anyone can implement in order to “Optimize” their blog and get good ranking in the search engines. Please note that this tutorial is not only limited to ‘blogs’ but any website that exists on the web. However the article has been written for bloggers in mind so some of the things may be a bit different for other types of sites.

Step 1: Know Your Self – Select a Niche – Set a Goal

The first step is to know yourself and your blog, so that you know exactly what you are writing about. Many bloggers just blog about their daily ramblings (like a personal diary). So if you are a blogger who only keeps your journal for your daily ramblings you are probably witting about – what you had for lunch, how much did your kitty ~poo~ today (jking) etc….

Is there anything wrong with that? Well absolutely not! Its your blog and you can write about anything you want. However the problem raises (especially among the asian bloggers) when it comes to “earning money from blog” or “getting international traffic”.

Unless you have a selected a “niche” (or many niches) that you are comfortable talking about, its very hard to attract traffic just by writing about ‘random’ stuffs.

For example – if you are a female blogger and you are particularly interested in fashion, your posts can be targeted for the fashion world. Your daily ramblings that you put up in your blog will then be more “fashion” related. E.g. new cloths you bought, picture of the latest shoe you saw in the mall etc. Similarly, if you are a car freak, your blog posts can be slightly partial about cars, racing, modifications, sound system and so on. A blogger can choose as many niches he/she wants like- politics, food, cooking, fashion, pets, lifestyle, dining, travel, technology etc.

So you should ask yourself, what are the topics that you are more comfortable to talk about? Whats Interests you? Once you have gotten that answer, slowly sail your blog to that direction.

No, You don’t need a new blog or a domain to do that. You can start writing ‘on your niche’ in your existing blog. And I’m not staying that because you choose fashion, you can’t write about “politics”. Remember, Its your blog so you are the Boss. You can write about absolutely anything you want. However if your writing has a particular focus, it would be easier for your readers to categorize your blog as a part of your respective niche. Even fashion and politics can be blended together if you are creative! (Think about it…)

So once you have selected your comfort zone, set a target for yourself. For example, how are you going to measure your success? It can be in terms of No. of visitors, No of RSS subscribers, Earnings from Blog etc.

Step 2: Optimize the Title of Your Blog Home Page

This is probably the most important “on-page optimization” factor that is the most easy to do. The title of your blog is what everyone sees on the top of their browser when they visit your blog. For search engines its the most important determining factor of what your blog is all about. So for instance, If your name is “John Doe” and you want everyone to find your blog when they search for your name in Google, you MUST put your name “John Doe” in your blog’s Title Tag. So You can perhaps format your title tag like – “John Doe’s Blog” or “John Doe – Recipe Blog” etc.

Bad Title Examples:

“My Daily Ramblings”
“My Blog”
“My Blah Blah”

Why are the above bad Titles? Because no one is actually going to search for “My Blog” in google. You should put something in your title that you think people will search for. Try to get some of the important keywords in your title, such as – your name, your blog’s name, keywords from your niche etc. So If my niche is digital cameras & photography, My title can be:

“John Doe: Digital Camera Review Blog”
“John Doe Digital Camera Blog”
“Digital Photography blog by John Doe”

……and other combinations that makes sense.

Step 3: Meta Tags Optimization

Even though not all meta tags are not as important as before, Meta Description tags are still very useful and a determining factor for increasing your chance of ranking in the search engines. So sometimes Title tags can’t do it alone, if you also optimize your Meta Descriptions tag, you have a higher chance of succeeeding.

A blog’s Meta description should contain a brief description of your blog focusing on the areas and niches that you often write about. This small piece of text can be considered as a selling snippet, if a reader finds it appealing he is likely to click and go inside your blog to find out more information. But if your Meta Description is too generic and isn’t written too well then there is a good chance that your blog will simply be ignored even though its probably ranking well in the search engine. Check out an example of a good meta description:

Example of a Good Meta Description

Now Why do I call the above a Good Example? Because:

  • The meta description is descriptive enough for a reader to know what to expect from the blog.
  • It contains important keywords – For instance, the name of the photographer is specified (e.g. Laura Novak), The type of photography is also described (e.g. Wedding & Portrait) and her locality is also specified (e.g. Wilmington, Delaware).
  • The meta description automatically appeals to someone who is looking for a wedding photographer in Wilmington. So If the searcher sees this result in the search engine.

Of course this description can be improved and further tweaked, but I guess you already got the general idea of having a good meta description.

Important things to include in your Meta Description:

  • Include your Selling Point– Tell your readers what they want to hear through your site’s Meta Description, and you will definitely get some advantage over others in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). For instance – if you blog about digital camera and photography then including a phrase like “Digital Camera Review & Advanced Photography tips” may result in more clicks and visitors because your description will exactly match the flavor of search performed by the user.
  • Keywords – Including some of your keywords (E.g. Wedding Photography, Photography Tips, Camera Review) will give you some advantage in Google’s relevancy algorithm.

Step 4: Structuring Your Content

Another important thing is to structure your content so that its becomes more readable. Important text should go in top and less important text should go in the bottom. Usage of Bold, Italic, Heading (h1 tags) is a must. If you properly structure your content, it will be more readable for your readers and it will also help the search engines to determine what is more important. For example, when you write a new post, always choose the Post title carefully. Whatever you choose as the title becomes the Header of the particular page and it appears in “big letters”.

So if your post heading reads “I am Bored…” and inside the post only the first two line is about ‘why you are bored’ and after that the whole post is about How to cook cheese macaroni…Its just not going to work! Ask yourself, How do you usually read a newspaper? Do you start reading from the left and read every single word? No – we usually “skim” a newspaper and we look at the heading and if the heading interests us, we read the news beneath the heading.

Blog kind of works in the same way, if you have a poor heading you can’t expect people to read the whole entry. Similarly a Search engine will not consider your Post very related to “cheese macaroni” unless your heading has the words inside. So a Post title “How to Cook Cheese Macaroni” is better compared to “I am Bored….”.

Things to Remember:

  • Always use short Post Titles. Think of something that people may use to search for that particular post and use it as your title.
  • Always Use Header Tags (h1, h2, h3) effectively. If you have a big article, break it down into different sections and give each section a sub-heading.
  • Use Bold, Italic where necessary. Its often good to highlight important words so that they are easily noticeable to your readers as well as to the search engines

Step 5: Image Optimization

No matter what type of blog you are running, You must use a lot of images! Human eyes love images and its often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Its actually true! If your blog has a lot of images, it would be a lot easier for you to engage your users. Moreover You can get additional traffic from Image search engines like (Google Images). When You are putting an image in your blog, you must optimize it for the search engines so that the search engine knows what the image says… (Search engines are dumb and so they can’t see inside images…yet).

Some Important Image Optimization Elements:

  • Alt text : ALT text or Alternate Text is the text to describe your image when your mouse moves over an image on your web page. The text should be meaningful but short. You can use your relevant keywords as ALT text. If your browser can’t display the image for some reason, the alt text is used in place of that particular image.
  • File name : always use meaningful file name for your images, use names like “apple-iphone-cover.jpg” instead of meaningless “DSC24045.jpg”. Keep image file name same or similar to the ALT text.
    Image Title : always use the title tag in images which will show the title as tool tip when a user moves his mouse over the image. Example of an image with title tag: [img src=”http://imagelocation.jpg” alt=”Image description” title=”Title of the Image”]
  • Image Linking : Whenever you want to link to your image, use the image keywords in your link text. Example: use “view an Apple iPhone”, instead of “Click here to view” as the anchor text.

Step 6: Keep your blog Up-to-Date

Search engines loves fresh, new content, so always feed them! Not only your blog will grow automatically if you always add something to it; search engines tend to come and spider your website more often if they always find something new. So you will have a higher chance of ranking high in the search engine if you keep on adding fresh, quality and unique content.

If you follow the 6 steps that I mentioned above, you blog will already be considered as one of the Search Engine Aware blogs. You will definitely see some improvements in your ranking as well as traffic.

Those of you who are using Blogger, Xanga, WordPress, Typepad and other blogging platforms and doesn’t know how to change “title” or meta description, I’ll definitely try to put up separate instruction guide for all of you. But there are hundreds of good resources already available on the internet, and you can simply do a Google search to find them =)

This guide is no way complete and its very basic as I have particularly wrote it for Newbie bloggers (especially those who have absolutely no idea about SEO). So if you run into any problem you are free to put your questions in the comments or you can always email me at – me[at]saadkamal.com.