Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So You Want To Learn How To Blog?

My friend Orion Linekin, ( http://wintersky.com )the worlds greatest internet marketer, contacted me, out of all of the people in the universe, requesting I write an article for his fans on blogging.  How can you turn the lord of the internet down?  Scot Duke http://busienssgolf.wordpress.com http://innvativebusinessglof.com

So you want to know how to Blog? I don’t blame ya.  It is a lot of fun and I have learned a number of fabulous things from some really good Blogs.

I have been blogging for, oh, a little over 6 months.  During that time I have covered a lot of ground averaging 5 hours a day online looking and learning.  I would say my experience level on blogging could be considered somewhere between an advanced novice to an apprentice expert.  What makes me qualified to tell you about blogging?   Well, I am blogging on several sites and I was asked to tell you about blogging…plus, I am one of the few people around who is interested in telling you about blogging and not charge you for it.

Let me tell you a little bit about what I have gone through in the world of blogs to get to where I am today.  Once I get you to where I am, you can just follow along with me as we then learn together.

Like most of you, I had questions about blogging and I still have questions and from what I have learned, and have been told by people who have been blogging at least a week longer than I have, is that I will always have questions about blogging.  So let me list out the questions I had and the answers I was provided, or had to learn on my own.

What is a Blog?  Yes, that is the question I had when I decided to learn more about blogging.  When you key that phrase into Google you get a definition I concur in.  A Blog is an online journal.  A journal can be considered anything from a day to day diary of life’s rambling events or a purposeful, well though out, thesis on a subject you are the expert in… In other words, a blog is anything you want to write for everyone on the internet to read.  Remember, I said EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET to read, so think about what you want to say before you say it.  Really, if you look at some of the blogs out on the web, it really doesn’t matter how or what you write…it is just a form of random communications to a broad base of readers.

Why should I Blog?  Yes, the question that is probably more important than all of them.  Why blog?  I had heard about blogging from other people I was networking with.  When they hear I am an author their first question to me is ‘What was my blog address?’  Little did I know that asking someone for their blog address is like in the 80’s when someone heard you on your CB and wanted to know your handle.   I have cause many people attending a cocktail party to spill their martinis with I answer their questions, ’What is a Blog?  It seems I, and probably you also, are considered to being way out of touch in today’s technical savvy society since I did not knowing what a Blog was.  So, I made it my mission to find out what a blog was.  I hit the internet.  I talked to other people.  From that I started to understand what a blog was.   So once I understood what a blog was I asked Why Blog.

There are several reasons to blog.  The reasons can range from it being a hip modern technological way for people to express themselves to others: to business people wanting to take control of their product and services information they provide to the masses.  There are the housewives who blog each month a receipt they created and there are the authors and journalist who write two or three blogs a day on a variety of subjects. There are humorist who just blog a cartoon and there are psychologist who publish 100 page articles on research they are working on.  The most popular reason people chose to blog is to express an opinion and promotion themselves.  That is the wonderful thing about blogging…you choice what it is you want to offer the world.

Where do you blog?  There are a number of places to go.  Some are very easy and some are for the people who are 5th degree Black Belts of web development.  There are some that offer just blogging and are very simple to set up.   Some blog services will provided you with stuff that some of my web developers friends are still trying to figure out how (or more importantly why) to use.  I am guessing you are wanting easy.  Most people do and that was my choice.  Life is hard enough to make it tougher with something that doesn’t need to be.

I went to Blogger.com.  Blogger.com is straight up blogging, just blogging and don’t expect to do anything but blog at Blogger.com.  And best of all it is FREE.  It has a very simple walk through, 1-2-3, step by step set-up of your account and profile.  Before I go into the profile, let me tell you a little more about Blogger.com.  One of the features I REALLY like is the link to your blog site by email.  You can sit at your computer and email your blog to your Blogger.com account.  Blogger automatically posts it to your web-site and you are Blogging….  This is a very simple and quick way to blog. 

The second site you might want to consider if you want more statistical information on your blogging and if you want to set sail on setting up you own web-site is Wordpress.com.  It is also a FREE blog service.   WordPress.com is where I call home for my blogs.  Oh yes, I still use Blogger.com because it is so easy, but I get statistics with WordPress.  WP does not have the email feature which bums me out, but it does tell me how many people are reading my blogs and it also shows how and where the readers are finding my blogs.  These are two very cool charts that show you which of your blogs are interesting people.

OK, you know what a blog is, you have established a reason to blog and you know some places where you can blog.

How does a blog appear or what does a blog look like?  Both Blogger and WP have pre-set formats or templates you can use to establish a theme for the way your blogs are going to appear.  These templates are constructed to provide a different look or establish an image for the theme of your blogs.  WP has the ability (it takes a web developer to do this for you) to establish the same look as you Web-site.

Who reads blogs?  Answer: Anyone who is interested in what you are saying will be who will read your blogs.

If you just want to get a bunch of people to view your blog then you would need to write on one of the more popular subjects…which would have to be on something about what Britney Spears is doing since Britney Spears is the number one Keyword Phrase on the internet (more on keywords in a moment). 

How Frequently Can I Blog?  Again, it depends on your reason for blogging.  There are no limits, I am aware of, on how many blogs you can process a day and no minimums I know of on how many you have to blog.  You just blog away whenever you want to.  There is one note to make:  If you are after traffic (lot of people to read your blog) you need to blog regularly.  I will explain more on why a little later, but for business people who are trying to draw in traffic to their web-site the more frequently you blog the better. 

Can people make comment on my Blog?  They can if you let them.  You do have some control on whether someone can send you a comment or not, or you can screen the comments, meaning that you get to see them before they are posted on your blog site.  That way you can delete comments that are absurd or not wanted.   Most of the time you choose this feature during the set-up of your blog account.  Blogger.com has a comment verification which I highly recommend since it stops Spammers from getting to you.  Or you can block all comments all together.  

What makes blogging exciting are the comments people make to something you have written.  Without comments you will never know if anyone agrees, disagrees, likes or dislikes or has a better idea…  But there are people who just want to write to write and don’t really care what other people think about what they are writing about. So, making comment to what they write maybe not worth it.   That is what makes blogging so cool.

What do I put in my Personal Profile?

If you are not really comfortable with everyone knowing your real name, you can use a ‘handle’ for your name.  A handle is a fake name or words with numbers that identifies you.  Some sites call this your usernames; some call it your group’s name or your profile name.  Most profiles will also ask for your real name, but make sure it reports that your real name will not be shown or used in your public profile. 

When coming up with a handle, think about who it is you are talking to and create a handle that they would understand.   But don’t be too weird with a name.  The concern your readers will have is, who the heck is this person?  They will ask themselves; Is this person a real person or thing or someone I want to be involved with? 

So my suggestion is to use a name that is relative to what you are doing.  Example:  You are blogging on gardening, your handle might be Mr. Greenjeans, Or Green Thumb…Something where people can address you correctly in their comments and in blogs they write about you.

Photo’s vs Cartoon Characters.  Again, what are you out blogging about or for?  If you are promoting yourself it is a real good idea to post a photo of yourself.  People want to see who it is they are talking to.  But if you are blogging on something controversial or really don’t want to show who you are, then most people put up a logo or photo of something abstract.  Just remember whatever you use it will be posted somewhere on your site for all to see.  Sometimes it is even posted just before your blog.  To not post anything is even worst.  So, get something in that spot no matter if it is your baby picture.   Remember, if you get too weird with your photo nobody is going to want to read what you have to say. 

What email address do I use?  As you probably have figured out, if anyone makes a comment or reads your blogs and wants to contact you directly you are going to get an email.  Your email address will not usually be published, but you need to know where the emails you are received are coming from.  And yes, even after all of the precautions, you are going to get SPAM.  The way I control that is I provide an email on my profiles I had specially created for blogging.  So when I see an email coming in for that address I know if is coming from one of my blogs sites.  If you have the ability to create a special address you might should do this so you can manage a problem if it comes from one of these sites.  I would not go so far to have a separate email address created for each site you are on, but I would have a separate one from your personal email address.

Now, you have set up your blogging and you are cooking up words to post.  So, if your mission was to blog, then you are there.  Now what?  That is the questions I asked. 

Well, if you are after traffic to our site let me tell you about how to produce some more traffic.

There are things called ‘spiders’ that search engines send out onto the web to find content for the search engines to provide their viewers. They are not real spiders so don’t freak out.  Spiders is a term for an software program that automatically goes out and reads all content on the internet. It takes on average of two weeks before the spider software gets all the way around the internet.  And if they just so happened to have just passed your neighborhood the day you started blogging it might take four weeks before they get back to your site.  The spider will hit your site in two weeks to validate there is a site and then in two more weeks the spiders come to look for content.  So, it will take a little time before you are the number one Blogger on the internet.

Keywords: What are they?  Keywords are words that describe what your content is about.  You may be asked to furnish a list of keywords in your blog site profile.  If you are doing gardening blogs some of your keywords would be; Dirt, Water, Seeds, Fertilizer… So when someone keys in a search for any of these keywords and the spiders have been by to tag your blog, your blog will come up on the search engines as content for the person searching to read. 

The more you blog the more spiders come to review your content of your blogs.  Once a spider catches on that you offer a large number of content with the keywords that are very popular, the spider will come back to your blog site frequently to review your content.  And one spider draws in others…before long your blog is appearing on every search engine site. And people will see it as being a popular site and will go to your site

Now, if you stopped blogging and the spiders returned and find nothing new, it might be several more weeks before they are back.  So, If you want to get your word out about yourself or business you cannot afford to have too much time between hits by a spider.  So make sure you Blog frequently.  The optimum is to blog everyday.   When the spiders come to your site they will find a treasure chest of content to offer their viewers and will be back with their friends more frequently.

Now, you are going to say, I don’t have time to blog every single day.  Nor do I.  Here is what I do; I set out one day a week to write blogs.  Whatever comes to my mind I write on it.  I then break up the blog into 5 or 6 blogs with the preceding blog ending with, ‘stay tuned for more information on…’  Then the next blog I start off with, ‘As I mentioned in my previous blog’.  That way I have the content for an entire week worth of blogs written and all I have to do is to post them into my blog site and submit it and I am off to do whatever I have to do that day.  (This is important information that the Big Boys of Blog would charge you $29.95 to learn…so you got that one Free.)

One thing you can do to create traffic to your blog site is to join an Online Group.  Another is to go out to other people’s blog sites you are interested in and make comment on one of their blogs…naturally leaving your blog address in your closing.  Online groups allow you to do this quickly and easily.  Plus, you can meet some really good people in these groups who know other people, who know other people. 

Yes, Online Networking Groups work well.  On the other hand there are some online groups that Suck.  There are some that charge you a monthly or yearly fee to be a member, or you can join their basic package for Free and then if you want to meet Real People you can buy in at a higher level.  Unless you really want to spend a lot of money, I would stay with the free groups.  They seem to work harder to provide their members with a platform for blogging.

There are online groups of all types and subjects and there are online groups that have groups within them.  Online groups are a great way to generate traffic to your blogs.

Is this all there is to blogging?  No, there is much more, but remember, I am still learning this stuff too.  But I think I have gotten you to where you can get to where I am today.  Some of the other stuff about Blogging, you will never totally grasp an understanding of what it is all about until you have blogged a while.  Then you can come back and we will visit on stuff I am looking at like RSS connections, Podcasting Blogs, and whatever else I have run into by then.

So, you are now able to blog away, you are getting comments from people all over the world and you are having fun and generating a lot of traffic.  Carry on until I get back to offer you more…


Until then,

Scot Duke

Author and Business Golf Mentor


About The Author:  As President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, Scot Duke provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses to secure their customer and employee base through showing them how to play business golf.  To read more about what Mr. Duke has to say on everything visit his blog site at http://businessgolf.wordpress.com or his web site at http://innovativebusinessgolf.com


To purchase Mr. Duke’s book;  How To Play Business Golf visit  www.innovativebusinessgolf.com   Scot can be reached by info@innovativebusinessgolf.com     


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