How To Start Blogging Today To Generate Traffic by:Christine Range
It's a known fact that search engines have a soft spot for blogs. The question we should ask ourselves is why do they have such a hankering for blogs? It's pretty simple, search engines love to search and find new quality content. It's their aim to index high quality information as quickly as possible.
If you've not been blogging then you're missing out on an astounding opportunity to bring instant traffic to your website. A number one task for blogging is to update on a regular basis. Just creating a blog and not having updates or relevant content is useless. You need to update your blog several times per week to truly reap the real benefits.
Setting Up Your First Blog Made Easy
You can find many free sites on the internet where you can create your own blog and get free hosting for it. Some bloggers prefer to host their own blog, while others choose free hosting. I'm going to discuss both options you have at your fingertips for blogging. Let's first start by providing the options for Free Blog Hosting.
Free Blog Hosting Sites
Blogger.com is one of the most, if not the most popular free blog hosting site you will find on the internet. You can instantly create a blog and start writing about a multitude of topics that interest you. One advantage of using Blogger.com is the search engines seem to spider it more often. As a result, your blog link will be in the path of the spider, enabling your new blog to be spidered more frequently. Once your blog is spidered, the search engines returns and visits your blog for updates.
Wordpress.com is another highly popular site that will host your blog for free. I've used this site a few times and it's very simple and fast to create a blog here. This site has some advantages expressed by current users that I discuss later. Also some people tend to confuse this site with Wordpress.org where you provide your own web host.
You can register with any of the above sites to start your own blog. Personally, I use Blogger.com, but as I mentioned earlier others prefer to choose hosting for their blog. I won't get into the pros and cons of either methods here. There has been much debate and preferences cited on this subject. My intent is to let you know some of the choices available to you.
Many bloggers find it useful to have two blogs. They create what I like to call a sub-blog, where the blogger.com blog would be the blog they update from time to time that discusses topics dealing with their main blog.
When using the two blog method like this, you should have links pointing from your blogger.com blog to your main blog site. Reason being, blogger.com is spidered often, as mentioned before, and by default your blog with blogger.com, which is your sub-blog will also be spidered. Since your sub-blog will have links to your main blog it can also aid in having your main blog site spidered more quickly. (This most likely applies to Wordpress blogs as well).
Hosting Your Own Blog
Hosting your own blog gives you more flexibility to add various applications and plug-in features. Users who choose to host their own blog like having the ability to customize it, making their blog more unique and distinctive. In addition, they are the actual owner of the blog, unlike users of free blogs.
WordPress receives ranting reviews from its users. Many express it has the best blogging script available, it's very easy to install, and you can publish content to the blog within a short time of setting it up. By default WordPress gives you the ability to choose if you want Search Engine Friendly URLS for your blog. If you already have WordPress installed, you can add this line of code to your "Permalinks" section:
Input the above code into the line that says Custom Structure and make sure you have the check placed in Custom, specify below under Common Options.
>From my understanding, (I am not an SEO expert) this gives your blog highly optimized search engine friendly URLS. Every blog post you make will have a keyword rich URL based on the subject of your blog. For example if your blog post was "Twitter Tools" your URL would be yoursite.com/twitter-tools.html.
This is a nifty method to get more search engine friendly URLS for WordPress. Your keywords appear not only in the subject but also in the page URL. And, it doesn't require any fancy, specialized, technical knowledge to make it happen.
Whether utilizing free hosting blogs or choosing your own web host, give search engines a reason to keep revisiting your website. Just remember and plan time to update your blog several times per week. Typically three times per week is the minimum that you should be updating your blog.
Now that you've got your blog setup, default Blogger and WordPress skins may not be too pleasing to you. Blogger.com offers a variety of blogging themes as templates right on the site. The instructions are very easy to follow. If using Wordpress and you really want your blog to stand out, you can change that by installing a new theme. A Google search for blogger or wordpress themes will provide websites for you to browse through and select a theme you like best. Both sites have instructions for how to customize your blog theme.
Each time you make a post on your blog, ping your website to send out notification to all the blogging directories that you have made a new post. There are many ping services available and more becoming available all the time. I generally use Pingomatic for my blogspot site. It's simple and straightforward. There are many ping services available. The key point, ping when you post.
Since we are on the topic of pinging, this is yet another reason given by Wordpress users of why they prefer this blogging platform. WordPress has a built in Ping option that will notify all the major blogging and RSS feed directories that you've made a new post on your blog. This is automatically activated in the Writing" section of Word Press. If you scroll to the bottom of the "Writing" section you will see a section called Update Services
Whenever you make a post on your blog, this option sends out a notification to all the blogging directories that you have made a new post and they usually automatically index it. Each time you make a post this ping is automatically done ensuring that your feed is sent.
Blog Often and Be Personable
Now that we've got the theme setup, the URLs for all your posts being search engine friendly, your ping site identified, the next step is to start blogging. Here comes the tough part, what am I blogging about?
It's important that your blog be about something you actually have knowledge on and can write about with ease. For example if your site is about fishing, you can have your blog posts related to anything on this
fishing topic; fishing gear and equipment, great fishing spots and the experiences you've had while fishing. You can even talk about the BIG fish you caught and no one was there to even witness it.
When people come to read your blog, you want your tone be very personable, friendly, pretty much informally talking with your reader. You want your blog to be informative, interesting and include the kind of content that makes your readers leave comments before they depart your site.
Comments on your blog helps to increase its popularity. Think of comments as inviting further discussion on your published topic. And you know what? You get the extra benefit of acquiring more inbound links to your blog. The search engines love it. They will arrive and update your blog more often because comments add new content to your site. TIP: Make sure you enable comments on your blog to increase your popularity.
How To Make Your Blog More Successful
The best way to learn how to have a successful blog is to review other blogs that have a good page rank and that's receiving a nice amount of comments. To do this, I recommend that you visit Bloglines.com directory. Here you will find a huge number of blogs to complete your research.
Do a search to find blogs that are similar to your blog and review each to see what they are doing. It's easy to tell if a blog is doing well by how often they are updating and how many comments each blog post
Getting Blog Links
I want to discuss briefly acceptable etiquette when you move forward to get links to your blog. When you are at Bloglines.com you will be searching for blogs that fall into similar categories as yours. Next, you want to start replying to some of the blog posts made, giving your thoughts and ideas about the post or topic. Do this a few times with various blogs.
After you've commented a few times on a regular basis, then it's considered acceptable etiquette to include your blog site link after your signature. Take heed here, do NOT place your blog site on your first post, unless the blog owner says it is alright (some do not mind).
However, as a general rule, you want to first develop a relationship with the blog and its publisher. You accomplish this by posting comments and leaving positive feedback on several occasions. After demonstrating you visit the blog because of its interesting and informative content, then it's alright to include a link when you post your next comment. I suggest commenting at least 4 to 5 times before attempting to place a link.
Use Blogging Directories To Help Promote Your Blog A great starting point to help promote your blog and generate traffic is by having it show up in the blogging directories. I have my Top 20 list of some of the most popular directories to submit new blogs. For the sake of brevity, I won't list them here. Just do a Google search for blogging directories. You'll find more than you have time to submit to.
One place I do recommend you promote your blog to help get it indexed faster is My Yahoo. If you do not have a Yahoo account, I strongly encourage you to register one right now at http://my.yahoo.com. After you register, add your feed to Yahoo's RSS Directory. You can do this in your My Yahoo user area. This method is considered one of the fastest ways to get your blog indexed by Yahoo.
In conclusion and to make myself perfectly clear, I do not guarantee that following any of these steps will make your new blog an overnight success. Nor do I claim you will receive an avalanche of traffic after the first few weeks of starting your blog. However, I will say these steps will get you moving in the right direction after your blog is created.
About the author
Christine Range: Internet entrepreneur and President of CR Group & Associates LLC - 1689 Karl Ct, Columbus, Ohio 43229 - Phone: 614.747.9899 - Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial Guide On Creating A Blog can be found on my blog - Please Visit Christine's Internet Marketing Spot See - Recommended Blogging Resource.