The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic

One of the saddest sights online is blogs that have been abandoned by their creators. Many of these are authors who have been told that blogs will help them gather raving fans who will promote their books. These authors didn’t know that there’s nothing more important when starting blogs than getting traffic. Traffic is more important than content, more important than which software is being used to run a blog, more important than a fancy blog header or editorial schedule.

Though it’s true that the quality of content will make or break a blog, and software and design are important, getting traffic is a blog’s existential requirement. That’s because if a blog doesn’t get traffic, it will probably die. It will become one of those melancholy abandoned sites people stumble across online. We don’t want that to happen, because blogging, when done right, really does return amazing rewards to the authors who pursue it.

By traffic, what we mean is people: people who come and read articles, who participate in discussions, who share passions and interests. For authors who are trying to build communities and prepare the ground for future books, learning to integrate three drivers of traffic—content, social media, and search—will deliver results.

Content

The articles a blogger publishes are content. But bloggers need to make sure content attracts traffic. Each blog post needs a clear reason to exist and bloggers should ask themselves these questions before pushing the Publish button:

◗ Does it help someone solve a problem?

◗ Does it answer a question that a lot of people are asking?

◗ Does it make a necessary task easier or show a new way to do it?

◗ Is it written in a way that really communicates with the people who need it most?

Great blog content is unique, memorable, or helpful, or it answers specific questions. How-to articles, for instance, are highly valued by readers stumped by specific processes and can attract a lot of traffic. Product reviews have also become great traffic magnets, with millions of people relying on them for buying assistance. Interviews, opinion pieces, roundups of expert commentary—there’s no end to the kinds of content bloggers can produce if they know what their readers are looking for.

Social Media

A blog is the ideal hub to use when expanding marketing into social media. Social accounts are outposts to attract people who can then be encouraged to visit blogs for further information and engagement. Bloggers should ask these questions when evaluating their social media strategies:

◗ Do they provide their followers with great content, entertainment, links, or ideas?

◗ Have they become known as trusted or entertaining resources?

◗ Is there a good likelihood that their social media followers will heed their calls to action?

Savvy authors find people who are interested in their work on social media and then direct them to their blogs, building their own traffic—not just the traffic for the social media site.

Search

Although Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites now account for a huge amount of web traffic, responses to search queries remain the single largest source of traffic to blogs. Bloggers need to have specific strategies to boost their search traffic and should ask themselves these questions:

◗ Have they spent time making sure that what they publish reflects what people are searching for?

◗ Do they know the keywords that are most important in the subjects they write about?

◗ Do they know how to do simple search engine optimization (SEO) on their blog posts?

◗ Do they use blog metrics such as those provided by Google Analytics (a free program) to find out which efforts are having results?

Although SEO is a complicated science, bloggers don’t have to learn very much to start getting results. There are very few authors who seem to pay attention to SEO, and that’s a big advantage for those who do, as they may be able to rank quite well with just a little work.

The point is that people—readers, viewers, buyers—come for a reason. There has to be something to attract them, and they may need repeated exposure before they discover it. That’s part of the job of authors’ social media outposts: to spread the word about their great and useful content.

Getting these three elements lined up and functioning properly takes some work, experience, and thought. But, with the right content, intelligently written to be friendly to searchers in a niche and circulated within an active social media network, a blog will prosper.

Joel Friedlander is a book designer and author; he blogs about book design, marketing, and the future of the book at The Book Designer.

A version of this article appeared in the 06/26/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic
[“Source-publishersweekly”]

Converting Blog Readers to Customers

Image result for Converting Blog Readers to CustomersIt’s always a nice feeling when you write. Whether for personal, academic, or any other reason, the catharsis that follows, especially for those looking to put on paper their thoughts and feelings—like a diary entry—is guaranteed to warrant another page or ten.

Having said that, there are more benefits to writing now. Since the advent of the Internet, web logging—or blogging—started out as a simple hobby. Now, it’s arguably a business necessity and an essential marketing tactic, one that could net you customers from a previously unconsidered pool.

There are reasons aplenty for you to start a company blog, with many benefits to boot. Aside from showcasing your expertise, you also get to communicate with your customers outside of your social media channels (although you can also consider your blog as a social media platform in the sense that you publish content in it and share them to the public through the medium).

When people, in turn, read your posts, what do you hope to accomplish? Inform and/or educate them? A perfect marketing strategy, but that’s just the beginning. Your endgame, as with any other transaction, is to make those leads your customers. But how, you ask? By doing the following.

What Can Convince Blog Readers to Become Customers

Writing Quality Content

Blogging isn’t for everyone as much as writing isn’t an appealing thought for everyone. Don’t take it as an alienating thought though. While great skill doesn’t necessarily guarantee solid content, it’s not like you can’t hone your techniques, specifically on language and research. Like training to craft a great copy for that winning deck, polishing your skills makes your post that much more powerful.

As much as the basic rules of writing apply, there’s a more fundamental concept underlying blogging: influence, and most, if not all, influential blogs are well-written. It’s like there’s a correlation, isn’t there? While studies have yet to prove that specific detail, there have been countless advice about choosing quality over quantity in many aspects of life. Add blogging to that list.

Why? Because high-quality work doesn’t just scream credibility, intellect, and authenticity. It also shows that you’re a force to be reckoned with and that your words are not mere 1s and 0s on the Internet. Your content is worth the time and effort readers invest into consuming your post.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Converting_SupportingImages-02.png

What Can Convince Blog Readers to Become Customers

Evoking Emotions

Writing is one of the more basic media you can use to solicit strong feelings. It’s why best-selling novels are successful. A story, a rant, or even just general advice hinges on making readers feel a certain emotion and either pacifying or intensifying them.

That includes providing relief and comfort for giving ideas on how to solve your readers’ problems. One undeniable purpose of your blog is imparting insight, so they expect to walk away with something after the last punctuation mark. A solution is the best you could offer for their troubles, and when they get one, think how happy they become. That is one way you can romance your audience.

Blogs hold so much power if you know how to wield and use them properly. That capability to sway hearts—and eventually minds—is a resource often overlooked by people who post just for the sake of updating their sites. Consider how readers will accept your entries. If you can evoke more than one emotion in them and have them experience the proverbial rollercoaster ride, then you’ll have them hooked.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Converting_SupportingImages-03.png

What Can Convince Blog Readers to Become Customers

Recommended for YouWebcast, July 12th: How to Create a Social Media Giveaway That Gets Thousands of Leads Without Costing a Fortune

Proving with Testimonials

Know how reviews have become the benchmarks people use for a purchase or first impressions? Basically, reviews—online or offline—have become social influences in readers’ cognitions, as per a 2014 study by Taiwanese professors Yi-Hsiu Cheng and Hui-Yi Ho. Using the same concept, you can turn your blog into a “freedom wall” of your achievements.

If past customers have praises for you and your service, put them on display. Wear them like your own badges of honor. They are pieces of bragging rights and proofs that you did something right and that people like what you’re doing.

If you’re already a big presence in the industry and have been affiliated with, worked with, or helped big names (like the most common brands for anything), embedding their logos in your blog could also be an immense help, assuming you work out all the legal matters. It shows that you have the skills and expertise to make a difference, adding more to your credibility.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Converting_SupportingImages-04.png

What Can Convince Blog Readers to Become Customers

Denouement

Having your own audience, or subscribers, if you will, is great. It’s a show of support and can be encouraging. But you’re not stopping there, are you? If they stay as readers, they are an untouched resource you’ll want to reduce. Getting them to become your customer is the next logical step.

By being particular with your posts and making a few modifications in your website, you already have a much better chance of converting blog readers to customers. One last piece of insight: don’t write to merely sell. If you underestimate your audience and think you can get away with an overly promotional post, you’ll just be part of the white noise they’re tuning out. You don’t want that, do you?

[“Source-business2community”]

Moonah Primary School students share their classroom activities and excursions using a class blog

Moonah Primary School year 2 students Dylan Dawson, Oscar Webster and Miranda Foley enjoy using their class blog. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

Moonah Primary School year 2 students Dylan Dawson, Oscar Webster and Miranda Foley enjoy using their class blog. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

WHAT happens in Moonah Primary’s year 1 and 2 class doesn’t stay in the class — it goes online.

Through a class blog, the students share their work, activities and excursions with their families and each other.

Teachers Bethany Woolnough and Emma Smyth have been running the class blog for four years.

“The students love the blog,” Ms Woolnough said.

“They love writing the blog and watching the videos that they’ve made, and looking at the learning that they’ve done.”

Posts are usually written by one of the teachers with input from the students.

Ms Woolnough and Ms Smyth are hoping their students will be able to make connections with students elsewhere through blogging.

“We’d like to connect with another school blogging in that age group,” Ms Woolnough said.

Griffith University English literature and curriculum professor Beryl Exley, in Hobart for the Australian Association for the Teaching of English and Australian Literary Educators’ Association national conference which finishes today, said blogging was one way to engage young writers.

Professor Exley’s research focuses on how children engage with traditional writing — with paper and pen — and how children write with new technology.

She said when children were blogging about something they were passionate about, it became something they wanted to engage in outside school.

“We’ve had children blogging into the evenings, into the weekend,” Prof Exley said.

Projects that Prof Exley has been involved in include children aged eight and nine years blogging about how scientific knowledge should be used, six-year-olds blogging about the history of a local creek, and other students sharing their understandings of mathematics concepts.

“Parents have been really curious about what’s captured the children’s attention,” she said.

“We’re also finding that the teachers are actually surprised about how some of the students who are quite shy and reluctant in class are actually quite engaged in the blogging space.”

Prof Exley said blogging was part of the Australian curriculum but some schools were concerned about students’ cyber safety.

“It’s not that we can remove the risks completely, but we can manage them,” she said.

Prof Exley said schools used closed blog sites to control who had access to the blog, with teachers deciding whether posts should be shared between the student, parent and teacher or with the whole class.

[“Source-themercury”]

8 Ways to Monetize Your Blog and Make Money Online

8 Ways to Monetize Your Blog and Make Money Online

When you’re just starting out with your blog, it can seem like one of the most arduous and frustrating tasks. With so much information to consume and strategies to digest, how is that any one person can find the time or the wherewithal to not only grasp the art of blogging itself, but also that of driving significant amounts of traffic?

We all know blogging isn’t some altruistic pursuit. People want their words to be seen and shared. They want to gain the respect of the masses and boost their authority in their respective industry or niche. However, clearly it isn’t quite that simple. Not only is it difficult to drive traffic to a blog, but it’s also hard to monetize the traffic that you do receive.

The problem? Most people ignore the fundamentals of online marketing when attempting to earn any semblance of an income from their blogs. When you fail to pay homage to these fundamentals, you’ll find it excruciatingly difficult to earn anything. But if you go about it the right way, you’ll certainly profit in the long run.

Related: 10 Business Ideas to Make Easy Money and Change the World

5 immutable laws of blogging.

Before I jump into the various ways you can actually monetize a blog, whether you just started that blog or you’ve had it for some time now, I wanted to cover the five immutable laws of blogging. If you pay attention to these laws, you’ll succeed over time. Ignore them, and you’ll find it nearly impossible to drive any respectable amount of traffic and ultimately monetize your blog.

1. Focus

Blogs need focus. You need to have a specific industry, niche or topic that you write about repeatedly. Try not to go all over the map. You’ll find that veering off on tangents will make you lose your core audience. People want to visit a blog — and keep revisiting it — because it fills a need or a void. That happens by staying focused and on-topic.

2. Quality

People think that blogging is about pushing out an enormous amount of content. But it doesn’t work if it’s thin content. Your content needs to be quality content. It needs to be thorough, well-written and cite its sources. If a study is referenced, it needs to be linked to. Don’t skimp on quality if you’re serious about monetizing your blog.

3. Value

Your blog needs to deliver value. What can you teach other people about? What are you an expert at? Take the time to deliver value. Create thorough tutorials and informative posts that interweave things like videos and other media to truly help people understand or figure something out. Value is a precursor to income in any industry, but especially in blogging.

4. Engagement

How engaging is your content? Does your blog incite people to spend a lot of time reading articles, watching videos or messaging on a forum, for example? The more people engage with your content, the more likely they’ll be to purchase something from you. Without engagement, there’s very little chance of monetization.

5. Authority

How much authority do you have? How well-known are you in your field? The more authority you have, the more likely you can monetize your blog quickly. For example, if you have a large social media following and you decide to launch a blog, you can drive traffic quickly. If you’re an expert at something else or a best-selling author, for example, you already have authority, all you need to do is leverage it.

Related: Why a Blog Gets You Further than an MBA

Monetizing your blog.

While there are arguably dozens of ways to monetize your blog, there really are eight core methods that will help you earn a healthy income from your efforts.

1. Affiliate marketing

One of the most popular methods for monetizing a blog is to leverage affiliate marketing. This is especially useful when you’re just starting out and you don’t have your own products or services to sell. All you have to do is develop content that will ultimately be in harmony with whatever affiliate offers you plan to push out.

For example, if you’re running a fitness blog, you can easily sell affiliate health, weight loss or body building supplements. Since the content is already attracting people that are interested in fitness, selling these types of products helps you to create a near-automated stream of passive income.

2. Advertisements

While most people might think that adding some pay-per-click (PPC) ads will be a great way to make lots of money with their blogs, unless you have massive amounts of traffic — as in 10,000+ visitors per day or more — the income will be marginal at best. The real income here doesn’t start until you cross about 100,000 visitors per day.

However, you could easily negotiate terms directly with advertisers by utilizing display ads as opposed to PPC ads. As long as the ads are within your specific niche or industry, you can likely negotiate an amount that would be much more competitive than income from standard PPC ads.

3. Email marketing

One of the most powerful methods for making money from your blog is directly through email marketing. But to be successful, you need to build your list. Whether you promote blog updates or create a lead magnet, utilize one of the more popular email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, Aweber or InfusionSoft to implement the systems necessary to begin marketing via email.

By building a strong bond and a connection with your readers, you can effectively generate a sizable amount of money through the course of marketing both your own products and services along with affiliate offers directly through email. You can expect to generate approximately $1 per subscriber per month.

4. Sell ebooks

Ebooks offer a relatively quick pathway for making money from your blog. Develop an ebook that’s aligned with the content of your blog. Non-fiction ebooks are relatively simple to create, and if you’re teaching a skill that many people struggle with, it’s likely that the ebook will produce a healthy profit.

You can easily promote your ebook directly through your blog by creating attractive content that will draw people in, then enticing them with your ebook. You could also build a sales funnel, which is an online marketing term for an automated multi-step sales machine, and sell your ebook on autopilot.

5. Sell courses

Selling digital online courses is another way you can profit from blogging. Develop intuitive and helpful courses that add a tremendous amount of value and the rest will be smooth sailing. By putting your heart and your soul into these courses, you can simply allow them to sell on autopilot for you, another great avenue for passive income.

Courses work great when it comes to technical skills like web development, digital marketing, graphic design and so on. But they also work in formats like finances, stocks, currency investing and accounting. Find what you’re really great at and do the due diligence before building your course. Thenm make something far better than the other courses out there in the marketplace.

6. Sell digital products

Creating digital products is a great way to profit from your blog. You can effectively sell any type of digital information product on your blog as long as it’s in harmony with your content. You can build a webinar to market your product and deliver them through a member’s area or through other downloadable means.

Digital products can be a combination of videos, downloadable guides, resources, PDFs, software components, SaaS and others. Do your best to create something that helps fill a need or a void. Don’t second guess yourself, as you’d be surprised at just how much money you can make by selling digital products on your blog.

Related: How to Produce Juicy Content That Catches Eyeballs

7. Sell coaching services

While it does seem like coaching services are infiltrating every aspect of the market these days, selling coaching services through your blog can definitely be a lucrative prospect. Whether you set yourself up as a life coach, a career coach or a business development coach, you can earn a significant income through just a handful of clients.

Decide on a number of packages, and do your best to ensure that you address any objections upfront. Customers tend to abandon the purchase process when it’s too complicated, they have to leave the site, create an account or a number of other reasons according to one such study by Baymard Institute.

8. Secure sponsorships

Sponsorships are a great way to make money from your blog, but you need the traffic if you’re going to sell it for a significant amount of money. You can create sponsored posts as long as you label them as sponsored. The FTC cracks down on marketing products and services, including articles that are sponsored when in fact they’re passed off as organic.

You have to be careful with sponsorships. Be sure that you’re upfront with your readership. Google also cares acutely about sponsored links and will penalize you if you’re selling links along with penalizing the site that you’re linking to. Simply put, it’s not worth it, so be as transparent as possible.

[“Source-entrepreneur”]

10 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Underperforming

Image result for 10 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Underperforming

It’s true that 47% of consumers read between 3-5 pieces of blog content before making a purchasing decision.

Are you making sure your content is connecting with your audience?

Millions of businesses are writing content every single day (myself included) but you will find that they aren’t achieving the results they are looking for.

Writing content is time consuming, but after understanding what doesn’t work, you will find that the time you are spending writing content, will pay off for you.

After understanding my audience, and thousands of successful pieces of written content over the last nine years, I want to share with you 10 reasons why your blog is underperforming.

1. Un-Engaging Headline

When it comes to creating written content, the first thing someone will see is your headline, and one of the biggest reasons why your blog is underperforming is because your headlines are not engaging with your audience.

Research your industry to see what your audience are most engaging with, and take a look at your past articles to understand the type of content your audience wants to read.

2. Having A Boring Tone Of Voice

Every single company you come across that has a successful marketing strategy will have their own tone of voice that connects with their customers. People will always buy from people, so your brand has to have emotion, and a personality which they can connect with and relate to.

3. Using Short Keywords For Your SEO

Using one word keywords for a focus keyword for your metadata will not drive you traffic. You need to get more niche, and use long-tail keywords to make sure that when people are searching for the type of content you are creating, your blog is showing up in their search results. Think about how your audience searches, and make your long-tail keywords more conversational.

4. There’s No Powerful or Persuasive Hook

When you are writing content, you need to make sure that you are sharing compelling facts and statistics to connect with your audience. Having a powerful hook by writing something that will persuade your audience to read your content will help you when it comes to building trust and helping your prospect make that purchasing decision.

5. Lack Of Variety

You will notice that I have articles which are just written content, and then I will also have other articles that have visuals. It is important that you are always varying the type of content you create, as your audience want information in a variety of different ways.

6. No Call-To-Action

This is something I have been doing more of over the last 12 months. I always make sure to offer a call-to-action at the end of my blogs whether this be to sign up to a webinar, resource or just answer a question. Use a call-to-action as a way to encourage a two-way conversation.

7. Short Content

Just two years ago, optimum content used to be around the 300-word mark, but now, content that is 600 words + is performing better. I make sure that my content is at least 700 words long. If you find it hard to write longer content on a more regular basis, focus on writing less content that is longer, and more in depth.

8. You’re Not Telling A Story

In every piece of content I write, I like to share some sort of anecdote to give what I am saying credibility, and use it as a way to connect with you audience on a more personal level. Think about how you can talk about your story to help your audience.

9. Repurposing All Of Your Content

Only recently I discovered that repurposing every single piece of content, and sharing it on the likes of LinkedIn Pulse and Medium within a week of posting on my website actually decreases the traffic I get to the article. Because LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are considered more “authoritative” websites, content of yours that sits on your website, and on these sites within a month of each other are in essence competing for traffic and you don’t want that.

10. Not Promoting Your Blog

Are you sharing your content across all of your Social Media platforms? To get traffic back to your website, sharing a link to your blog posts on Social Media is important. You should also look at other ways to promote your blog including email marketing, and other forms of digital marketing.

I hope that the above 10 tips will help your blog perform more effectively for your business.

Over the last nine years I have written over 1,000 articles, and have acquired more than ONE MILLION visitors reading my blogging content. How would you like to be able to achieve the same?

In the modern world, every business needs to communicate with their customers through content, and the best way to do this is through blogging.

To understand whether this webinar is for YOU, I have four questions I would like you to ask yourself:

  1. Do you know how to set up a blog?
  2. Are you happy with the blog traffic you are generating?
  3. Are you on the first page of Google for your blog content?
  4. Do you know how to find your target customers online?

If you answered NO to the above questions, this will be one of the best blogging learning opportunities you’ll have this year, and it’s 100% free, certified and live!

Here’s Why You Should Care:

  • Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages
  • 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with the company
  • B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not

In my NEW and EXCLUSIVE 1 hour webinar, I will share with you how I have generated thousands of leads through the content I create on a weekly basis.

As a small business, writing content is something that should be a huge focus for you, especially if driving traffic is important to your success.

Join me on the 21st June at 7pm and in just 60 minutes I will take you through my formula to small business blogging success that has helped me generate thousands of leads, and can be attributed to a 6-figure income.

Places limited to 100 people, so be sure to sign up below to secure your place. If you cannot make it live, still register to make sure that you receive a link to the recording post-webinar!

This is one of the best blogging learning opportunities you’ll have this year and it’s 100% free and certified.
[“Source-ndtv”]

I blog, therefore I am

Women bloggers in Tiruchi cover a wide range of topics in their online journals

Whether it happened today, or a hundred years ago, an event is committed to memory only if it is written down somewhere. Periodicals and newspapers are like diaries for mass consumption, flowers that bloom and die within a day. In the online era, the web log (before it got abridged as ‘blog’) has been one of the most enduring outlets of Internet-based publishing, from 1999.

In figures gathered up to June 2016 by internetworldstats.com, India had 462.1 million Internet users, second only to China (721.4 million) in Asia.

Why do people still type their thoughts in online journals in an era when the human attention span and perhaps the very neural function of absorbing information have irrevocably changed? A possible answer would be because that blogs still fulfill the need for a person to be heard without necessarily being seen.

Blogs give writers of all hues a platform to hold forth on any topic under the sun, with the added thrill of instant publication and feedback.

A quick Google search reveals that much of the internet activity in India may be centred around blogging, in corporate and personal spheres.

As just one example, the directory IndiBlogger.com lists at least five pages of blogs from Tiruchi. A more detailed search may reveal that quite a few of these haven’t been updated in a while. But the opposite also holds true – there’s some compulsive online writing going on in the city, mostly by women.

Traditional journalism

“I started scanning and uploading image files of my published articles in my blog 7 to 8 years ago,” says Radha Balu, a veteran Tamil freelance journalist. “I had some 30 years’ worth of printed material that I wanted to preserve. Then I decided to start separate blogs to document my other interests – kolam designs, cookery and creative writing.”

The 60-year-old writer is regular in updating the posts on her four blogs (radhabaloo.blogspot.com), even though, she says, the reading habit is declining. “Young women these days don’t seem to have the interest in reading, even though they have a better exposure to the world than our generation,” says Radha. “Reading a printed book can convey not just the story, but also the memories associated with a writer’s style and tactile feel of the publication.”

A frequent traveller, Radha uses her journeys abroad to write travelogues. “The internet is a great resource for travel writers. I tend to research my destinations online before I visit the places, just to ensure that I don’t miss any detail,” she says.

In many ways, Radha Balu’s blogs have simply transferred documentation from hard copy to soft, and opened up a new avenue for home-based writers to reach out to a global audience. “Readers recall my name from my articles in Tamil magazines, but quite a few of these are also visitors to my blogs. Blogging has a way of connecting complete strangers,” she says.

Giving voice

For final year student at the Tamil Nadu National Law School, Jane Pauline, who has been blogging for four years on various platforms, her ‘The Unconventional Indian Girl’ (tuigblog.wordpress.com) is a move to speak about gender bias. “We are ruled by expectations — whether it is about getting a job or being in a relationship. I want to talk about a life that is not about being conventional,” says Jane.

“Of course in our society, and particularly in a small place like Tiruchi, women with strong opinions are seen as a threat to men. Feminism has become a dirty word, and always associated with ‘man-hating,’” she adds.

Her blog posts receive a mixed feedback she says, because they deal with topics that need a more well-read and articulate readership. “It is quite common to slander someone online just because you don’t agree with their viewpoint.”

Commenting on the recent protests for the restitution of the bull-taming sport of jallikattu, which gained maximum traction from a social media network-savvy student generation, she says, “Our priorities are baffling. Water-sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a problem, and nobody has stood up yet for issues like the murder of S. Swathi, but jallikattu gets all the attention. Our activism seems to be misplaced, but young people just don’t care.”

Jane says she has learned to accept critical feedback to her blogging. “Healthy debate is a way of accommodating differences of opinion in a legal way,” she says.

Dreams and ambitions

“More women should utilise web platforms to express themselves,” says Sarah Shaheen, who is currently an MBBS student at Tagore Medical College in Chennai.

With a keen interest in writing, Tiruchi-born Sarah has been blogging since her school days, and her latest posts can be seen at www.speakingtree.in. “I tend to write about feminine issues like female foeticide, motherhood and how girls are judged by their appearance. Right now I’m thinking of writing a full-length novel, with romance, politics and mystery,” says Sarah.

Though there are quite a few young women bloggers, they get a lot of brickbats, says Sarah. “It’s unfair to criticise all female bloggers as ‘feminazis’, because women are generally not given an opportunity to speak up in public about their problems.”

An informed readership can change things for the better, says Sarah. “Already paper is being replaced by PDF files. People should read more, and do something useful when they are online. The internet is not just here for our entertainment,” she says.

***

For the love of cooking

One look at www.spicychilly.com, and you know that the cookery website has been maintained with a lot of love. Tiruchi-based homemaker Bharathy Vasudevan has ensured that every aspect of her online food journal, now in its 10th year, has got a distinctive stamp of her creativity.

“The first 10-12 years after my marriage were spent in learning how to cook for a traditional vegetarian family,” says Bharathy, who is originally from Kottayam, Kerala.

“After we shifted to our current home in Tiruchi, I had become a little freer at home, because my children were in high school and didn’t need my help with homework like before. My sister suggested that I should try to do something with my cookery skills because the world has always been in need of recipes.”

Bharathy learned how to use a computer in 2006, and to keep her blog interesting, she picked up photography skills too. “Of course, my early photographs were very crude. I started out with a point-and-shoot camera, which my husband (V. Vasudevan, Managing Director, Sangam Group of Hotels) got from Malaysia. From 2011, I shifted to using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.”

With a collection of more than 500 recipes, Spicy Chilly’s earliest work was related to documenting traditional Tamil dishes that Bharathy had learned from Mr. Vasudevan’s maternal grandmother as a young bride.

As traffic increased, she got her own domain name and made Spicy Chilly a website.

“When you start getting 3,000 page hits in a day, you get requests for recipes from readers. So you start catering to their interests. I tried to look up recipes which were going off our menus, like vellam vadai, and so on. I just wanted them to be available on the net for others who were looking for rare recipes,” says Bharathy.

Most of her readers are young married women based in countries like the United States and Singapore, looking for quick tutorials on how to cook, says Bharathy. “This was when I realised that the dishes should be simple, rather than only traditional,” she says.

“Ten years ago, we were the first bunch of bloggers around the world. It was like a family, and we had age groups for each set of bloggers. We’d have more respect for the seniors, because their recipes are more authentic and sophisticated,” says Bharathy.

To keep herself updated, she reads up cookery books, and also tries out online courses. She studied baking methods from a Goa-based online expert for a year.

Her flair for photography has fetched her online accolades too. Bharathy’s picture for her post ‘Chilli Chai’ won the Originality Award given by the online food photography competition ‘Does My Blog Look Good in This’ (DMBLGiT) in 2012.

In 2010, her photo-feature on Pongal celebrations at the family’s ancestral home in Erumaipatti, near Namakkal, was one of the 24 finalists chosen by the American online platform Foodbuzz.

“When you check out the work of newer bloggers, you realise that you have to upgrade your own website too,” says Bharathy. “The next step for me would be to introduce one-minute-videos on recipes.”

Not too keen on publishing her recipes in book form or even venturing into cooking for television, Bharathy says that Spicy Chilly is her personal work of art. “I’m doing it just for the love of cooking,” she says.

[Source:-TH]

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Have you created a blogging guide for your small business blog? Why do you need one?

At first glance, blogging may seem to require little effort. Just sign up for WordPress, get a hosting company, grab a nice skin (or theme) for your blog, and then start writing. Simple, right?

In theory, it really can be that simple. But, if you’re serious about blogging, it often takes passion — for the topic you’re writing about and for the people who will be helped by reading it. This means that you will probably need time to craft posts that are so valuable that it’s almost impossible for them to not be helpful (even to at least one person).

 

It also means that it will be helpful if you can be consistent about sharing quality information over an extended period of time. This is not easy to do (yep, personal experience talking) and the ability to regularly share content will mean that you have to be clear about the main topics you’ll write about.

In order to do all those things well, you will have to be focused and kick distractions to the curb. The process is not always easy to execute. In fact, before you pull out your laptop or tablet and fire up WordPress, you should think about the …

Things You Should Do BEFORE You Start Writing

Ideally, before you write any post, you should have a plan — not just for your individual posts, but also for the process you’ll use to craft juicy pieces of content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write spontaneous and inspired posts. Of course, you can.

Recommended for YouWebcast, February 16th: Build Your Growth Roadmap in a Day

But, it can help to have a plan so you can capture and funnel your blog ideas into a repository (like Evernote or Trello) for safekeeping until it’s time to turn them into fully developed posts.

How to Create a Blogging Guide

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Plan-Before-You-Write.png.png

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Do you have a blogging guide for your small business blog?

So, you will need to come up with some guidelines (a.k.a blog writing system) that you’ll follow and include things like:

  • Capturing blog ideas. How will you keep track blog ideas and resources? Will you use a specific app (like the one’s I mentioned above) or write your ideas down in a notebook?
  • Length of blog posts. Will your blog posts be epic (2000 words or more)? Short and sweet (300-500 words)? Or, somewhere in between? Will you shake things up a bit and have a combination of both epic and short posts?
  • Types of posts. How do you feel about list posts? What about posts that recap interviews with industry leaders and influencers? Will you have a recurring topic? Will you create a blog series? Would you consider created some posts that only have images and videos and no text?
  • Posting schedule. Will you schedule posts once per week? Several times per week? Will you write about specific themes on specific days? Oh, yeah, and will you add guest bloggers to the mix? If yes, what criteria will you use to accept or decline their posts?
  • Writing habits. Will you write every day? Will you write and schedule several posts at once? Will you write the post on the day is scheduled to be published or a day in advance?
  • Using an editorial calendar. Will you use a calendar to plan your posts across several months or will you “write from the heart” and when the mood strikes you? What type of editorial calendar will you use: digital, paper-based, or a plugin?

 

When you answer these questions (and any others that come up for your specific situation), you’ll know what you’re working with, so to speak. This will be, in essence, a guide for you to follow every time you decide to put your fingers to your keyboard.

You will know exactly what you’re aiming for and this will give you a direction to go in. In other words, you’ll have a clear plan that’s reasonable to follow and keep up with. Planning in advance (start now!) will save you time and conserve your brain power so you can get on with focusing on writing your posts.

What’s your secret sauce? Do you use a blogging guide for your blog?

[Source:-B2C]

I blog, therefore I am

Whether it happened today, or a hundred years ago, an event is committed to memory only if it is written down somewhere. Periodicals and newspapers are like diaries for mass consumption, flowers that bloom and die within a day. In the online era, the web log (before it got abridged as ‘blog’) has been one of the most enduring outlets of Internet-based publishing, from 1999.

In figures gathered up to June 2016 by internetworldstats.com, India had 462.1 million Internet users, second only to China (721.4 million) in Asia.

Why do people still type their thoughts in online journals in an era when the human attention span and perhaps the very neural function of absorbing information have irrevocably changed? A possible answer would be because that blogs still fulfill the need for a person to be heard without necessarily being seen.

Blogs give writers of all hues a platform to hold forth on any topic under the sun, with the added thrill of instant publication and feedback.

A quick Google search reveals that much of the internet activity in India may be centred around blogging, in corporate and personal spheres.

As just one example, the directory IndiBlogger.com lists at least five pages of blogs from Tiruchi. A more detailed search may reveal that quite a few of these haven’t been updated in a while. But the opposite also holds true – there’s some compulsive online writing going on in the city, mostly by women.

Traditional journalism

“I started scanning and uploading image files of my published articles in my blog 7 to 8 years ago,” says Radha Balu, a veteran Tamil freelance journalist. “I had some 30 years’ worth of printed material that I wanted to preserve. Then I decided to start separate blogs to document my other interests – kolam designs, cookery and creative writing.”

The 60-year-old writer is regular in updating the posts on her four blogs (radhabaloo.blogspot.com), even though, she says, the reading habit is declining. “Young women these days don’t seem to have the interest in reading, even though they have a better exposure to the world than our generation,” says Radha. “Reading a printed book can convey not just the story, but also the memories associated with a writer’s style and tactile feel of the publication.”

A frequent traveller, Radha uses her journeys abroad to write travelogues. “The internet is a great resource for travel writers. I tend to research my destinations online before I visit the places, just to ensure that I don’t miss any detail,” she says.

In many ways, Radha Balu’s blogs have simply transferred documentation from hard copy to soft, and opened up a new avenue for home-based writers to reach out to a global audience. “Readers recall my name from my articles in Tamil magazines, but quite a few of these are also visitors to my blogs. Blogging has a way of connecting complete strangers,” she says.

Giving voice

For final year student at the Tamil Nadu National Law School, Jane Pauline, who has been blogging for four years on various platforms, her ‘The Unconventional Indian Girl’ (tuigblog.wordpress.com) is a move to speak about gender bias. “We are ruled by expectations — whether it is about getting a job or being in a relationship. I want to talk about a life that is not about being conventional,” says Jane.

“Of course in our society, and particularly in a small place like Tiruchi, women with strong opinions are seen as a threat to men. Feminism has become a dirty word, and always associated with ‘man-hating,’” she adds.

Her blog posts receive a mixed feedback she says, because they deal with topics that need a more well-read and articulate readership. “It is quite common to slander someone online just because you don’t agree with their viewpoint.”

Commenting on the recent protests for the restitution of the bull-taming sport of jallikattu, which gained maximum traction from a social media network-savvy student generation, she says, “Our priorities are baffling. Water-sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a problem, and nobody has stood up yet for issues like the murder of S. Swathi, but jallikattu gets all the attention. Our activism seems to be misplaced, but young people just don’t care.”

Jane says she has learned to accept critical feedback to her blogging. “Healthy debate is a way of accommodating differences of opinion in a legal way,” she says.

Dreams and ambitions

“More women should utilise web platforms to express themselves,” says Sarah Shaheen, who is currently an MBBS student at Tagore Medical College in Chennai.

With a keen interest in writing, Tiruchi-born Sarah has been blogging since her school days, and her latest posts can be seen at www.speakingtree.in. “I tend to write about feminine issues like female foeticide, motherhood and how girls are judged by their appearance. Right now I’m thinking of writing a full-length novel, with romance, politics and mystery,” says Sarah.

Though there are quite a few young women bloggers, they get a lot of brickbats, says Sarah. “It’s unfair to criticise all female bloggers as ‘feminazis’, because women are generally not given an opportunity to speak up in public about their problems.”

An informed readership can change things for the better, says Sarah. “Already paper is being replaced by PDF files. People should read more, and do something useful when they are online. The internet is not just here for our entertainment,” she says.

***

For the love of cooking

One look at www.spicychilly.com, and you know that the cookery website has been maintained with a lot of love. Tiruchi-based homemaker Bharathy Vasudevan has ensured that every aspect of her online food journal, now in its 10th year, has got a distinctive stamp of her creativity.

“The first 10-12 years after my marriage were spent in learning how to cook for a traditional vegetarian family,” says Bharathy, who is originally from Kottayam, Kerala.

“After we shifted to our current home in Tiruchi, I had become a little freer at home, because my children were in high school and didn’t need my help with homework like before. My sister suggested that I should try to do something with my cookery skills because the world has always been in need of recipes.”

Bharathy learned how to use a computer in 2006, and to keep her blog interesting, she picked up photography skills too. “Of course, my early photographs were very crude. I started out with a point-and-shoot camera, which my husband (V. Vasudevan, Managing Director, Sangam Group of Hotels) got from Malaysia. From 2011, I shifted to using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.”

With a collection of more than 500 recipes, Spicy Chilly’s earliest work was related to documenting traditional Tamil dishes that Bharathy had learned from Mr. Vasudevan’s maternal grandmother as a young bride.

As traffic increased, she got her own domain name and made Spicy Chilly a website.

“When you start getting 3,000 page hits in a day, you get requests for recipes from readers. So you start catering to their interests. I tried to look up recipes which were going off our menus, like vellam vadai, and so on. I just wanted them to be available on the net for others who were looking for rare recipes,” says Bharathy.

Most of her readers are young married women based in countries like the United States and Singapore, looking for quick tutorials on how to cook, says Bharathy. “This was when I realised that the dishes should be simple, rather than only traditional,” she says.

“Ten years ago, we were the first bunch of bloggers around the world. It was like a family, and we had age groups for each set of bloggers. We’d have more respect for the seniors, because their recipes are more authentic and sophisticated,” says Bharathy.

To keep herself updated, she reads up cookery books, and also tries out online courses. She studied baking methods from a Goa-based online expert for a year.

Her flair for photography has fetched her online accolades too. Bharathy’s picture for her post ‘Chilli Chai’ won the Originality Award given by the online food photography competition ‘Does My Blog Look Good in This’ (DMBLGiT) in 2012.

In 2010, her photo-feature on Pongal celebrations at the family’s ancestral home in Erumaipatti, near Namakkal, was one of the 24 finalists chosen by the American online platform Foodbuzz.

“When you check out the work of newer bloggers, you realise that you have to upgrade your own website too,” says Bharathy. “The next step for me would be to introduce one-minute-videos on recipes.”

Not too keen on publishing her recipes in book form or even venturing into cooking for television, Bharathy says that Spicy Chilly is her personal work of art. “I’m doing it just for the love of cooking,” she says.

[Source:-TH]

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Have you created a blogging guide for your small business blog? Why do you need one?

At first glance, blogging may seem to require little effort. Just sign up for WordPress, get a hosting company, grab a nice skin (or theme) for your blog, and then start writing. Simple, right?

In theory, it really can be that simple. But, if you’re serious about blogging, it often takes passion — for the topic you’re writing about and for the people who will be helped by reading it. This means that you will probably need time to craft posts that are so valuable that it’s almost impossible for them to not be helpful (even to at least one person).

 

It also means that it will be helpful if you can be consistent about sharing quality information over an extended period of time. This is not easy to do (yep, personal experience talking) and the ability to regularly share content will mean that you have to be clear about the main topics you’ll write about.

In order to do all those things well, you will have to be focused and kick distractions to the curb. The process is not always easy to execute. In fact, before you pull out your laptop or tablet and fire up WordPress, you should think about the …

Things You Should Do BEFORE You Start Writing

Ideally, before you write any post, you should have a plan — not just for your individual posts, but also for the process you’ll use to craft juicy pieces of content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write spontaneous and inspired posts. Of course, you can.

Recommended for YouWebcast, February 16th: Build Your Growth Roadmap in a Day

But, it can help to have a plan so you can capture and funnel your blog ideas into a repository (like Evernote or Trello) for safekeeping until it’s time to turn them into fully developed posts.

How to Create a Blogging Guide

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Plan-Before-You-Write.png.png

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Do you have a blogging guide for your small business blog?

So, you will need to come up with some guidelines (a.k.a blog writing system) that you’ll follow and include things like:

  • Capturing blog ideas. How will you keep track blog ideas and resources? Will you use a specific app (like the one’s I mentioned above) or write your ideas down in a notebook?
  • Length of blog posts. Will your blog posts be epic (2000 words or more)? Short and sweet (300-500 words)? Or, somewhere in between? Will you shake things up a bit and have a combination of both epic and short posts?
  • Types of posts. How do you feel about list posts? What about posts that recap interviews with industry leaders and influencers? Will you have a recurring topic? Will you create a blog series? Would you consider created some posts that only have images and videos and no text?
  • Posting schedule. Will you schedule posts once per week? Several times per week? Will you write about specific themes on specific days? Oh, yeah, and will you add guest bloggers to the mix? If yes, what criteria will you use to accept or decline their posts?
  • Writing habits. Will you write every day? Will you write and schedule several posts at once? Will you write the post on the day is scheduled to be published or a day in advance?
  • Using an editorial calendar. Will you use a calendar to plan your posts across several months or will you “write from the heart” and when the mood strikes you? What type of editorial calendar will you use: digital, paper-based, or a plugin?

When you answer these questions (and any others that come up for your specific situation), you’ll know what you’re working with, so to speak. This will be, in essence, a guide for you to follow every time you decide to put your fingers to your keyboard.

You will know exactly what you’re aiming for and this will give you a direction to go in. In other words, you’ll have a clear plan that’s reasonable to follow and keep up with. Planning in advance (start now!) will save you time and conserve your brain power so you can get on with focusing on writing your posts.

[Source:-B2C]

4 WordPress Plugins to Improve Your Blog

4 WordPress Plugins to Improve Your Blog

Today I have some WordPress plugins to help you improve your blog functionality. Here’s four links with tips and tricks to kick start your Monday.

Adding the right plugins to your WordPress website will help bring in more visitors and subscribers. As a business owner you want your content to get noticed. With so many social media and search updates it’s a good idea to add the latest plugins. Does your website need more visibility? Use these great WordPress plugins, and let me know how these work for you!

1) Easily show your tweets and posts – Social Streams

Showcase your Twitter and Instragram feeds directly on your website. There is a simple and free plugin offered by Social Streams, which automatically displays the latest tweets and posts. Collect conversations from your own content or through other relatable hashtags. This will add eye-catching photos and conversations to your content and drive more followers to your social networks.

2) Add metatags to your website – WP Facebook Open Graph protocol

Help make your website’s link look great on Facebook. That is where WP Facebook Open Graph protocol steps in, and adds the Facebook Graph metatags to your WordPress blog. This plugin also works well with Google Plus and LinkedIn. If a featured image is not easily loading in a post then WPFBOGP will pull the right image for you from your content.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/wp-facebook-open-graph-protocol.png.png

wp-facebook-open-graph-protocol

3) Insert tweet boxes – Better Click to Tweet

Easily create tweetable content that your readers will love to share. With Better Click to Tweet you can a simply add shortcode that you can select and highlight with fully customizable CSS. The much improved plugin includes security features and translation-readiness.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/better-click-to-tweet.png.png

better-click-to-tweet

4) Cross promote blog posts – Blog2Social

Share your content across multiple channels. Blog2Social allows you to automatically publish, re-publish, and schedule your posts that can be shared to multiple social media channels. This great plugin posts to places like Facebook profiles, Pages, groups, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Add hashtags and include excerpts or entire posts quickly and easily.

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Blog2Social.png.png

Blog2Social

[Source:-B2C]