Category Archives: Blogging Tips

Hosted Blog Platforms – The Pros and the Cons

Most bloggers who are starting out prefer to use hosted blog platforms since they are usually free and easy to use. These platforms allow you to host your own blog on their domain. Once you have finished the set up process, you are given a URL which combines the name of your blog and the URL of the hosting platform. For instance, you could have a blog named TopBlog with a web address like www.topblog.wordpress.com. The domain name contains the blog’s name, as well as the wordpress.com extension. The blog is therefore being hosted by WordPress.

Hosted blog platforms have several advantages, as well as disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Free to run/cheap – Most of the hosted platforms out there are either free or very affordable
  • Easy to set up – These platforms allow you to set up a blog within minutes. All you need to do is select a template design and fill in several fields. Hosted platforms are best suited for people who don’t know much about the technical aspects of blogging
  • Easy to run – Once the set up is complete, hosted blogs are normally very easy to run. Most of these platforms come with features which are very user-friendly. Articles can be posted by simply adding content to some fields and clicking on the publish button
  • Automatic updates – Whenever there is an update of the blog platform, your blog will be updated automatically. You won’t have to worry about uploading new software
  • Fast indexing in search engines – Since your blog is hosted on a domain which already has a good page rank, it is likely to be indexed and ranked very fast

Disadvantages

  • Not easy to configure – Hosted blogs are usually very limited when it comes to customization and features. This can be very frustrating for blog owners. However, the level of limitation varies from one hosted platform to another
  • Design limitations – Hosted platforms offer default templates which are used by many people who are setting up blogs. As a result, a hosted blog is likely to end up appearing similar to many other blogs out there
  • Less control – Hosted blog owners are not able to have full control of their blogs. Since the web address is not really their own, they remain at the mercy of their host. When the host is down, the blogs go down as well
  • Generic URL – Unique URL appear more professional and are usually more memorable. Using a hosted platform means that you are stuck with a generic URL which might project you as a blogger who is not serious
  • Difficulty in upgrading to standalone – Even if you get started with a hosted platform, a time might come when you’ll need to upgrade to a standalone platform. This will present quite a challenge, especially when it comes to redirecting your traffic, moving with your current readers, as well as improving your search engine ranking

Blogging – How to Select a Niche Topic

Blogging NicheThe best way of making money through a blog is by building it around a specific niche topic. The following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a niche topic for your blog. Once you have followed my advice and chosen a niche for yourself, have a look at this guide to start your own blog:

Do you have any interest in the subject?

You need to start by recognizing your own passion and interest for certain topics. Though many people are tempted to build blogs based on what is commercially viable or what other individuals are interested in, it doesn’t make sense to start a blog based on a subject you are not passionate about. There are several reasons for this.

First, building an authoritative and popular blog can take a significant amount of time. You therefore need to consider whether you would still be interested in writing on the topic one year down the line. If not, then it would be wise to find another topic to write about. Secondly, your readers will easily be able to tell if you have a passion for the subject or not. Blogs which are passionless and dull rarely grow since no one would want to read them.

Is the subject popular?

A popular blog cannot be built only on the basis of the blogger’s interest. You also need to consider whether people would be interested in reading about the topic you are writing about. Of course, it is not possible to write on a topic which everyone would be interested in. You only need to target a specific audience.

However, you need to note that over time, popular subjects change. You should therefore be able to think ahead and to figure out what will be the next big topic will be. Always be alert to what people are talking about and what the current trends are. Besides keeping an eye on the internet, you should also keep track of the information on newspapers, magazines and on TV.

Who is the competition?

Many bloggers make the mistake of selecting popular topics without considering the competition which they are likely to face. If you have identified a ‘hot’ topic, chances are that someone else has also seen it. To avoid this competition, you can opt to go for topics which are not very popular. At times, you will find yourself earning more from these topics which have little competition. Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, you can be a big fish in a small pond.

Will you have sufficient content?

If your blog is going to be successful, you’ll need to create fresh content over a long period of time. Most blogs die off due to lack of sufficient content. To find out if there is enough to write about, you need to ask yourself two questions.

  • As an author, do you have sufficient content in you? This will be determined by your interest in and passion for the topic.
  • Are there other sources of inspiration and content? Find out if there are other people who are talking about the same subject.

Great Tips for Successful Blogging

Blogging SuccessBlogging is one of the best tools for marketing a business. The following are some guidelines that can help enhance the success of your business through blogging.

Write on your areas of expertise

When you share information which helps your readers enhance their skills or attain their goals, you automatically gain some credibility. As a result, people will start linking to you and quoting you frequently on social media sites. Make sure every post you share is accompanied by an appropriate image.

Make your posts concise and clear

Each of your posts should be focused on one specific subject. This will enable you to keep your posts brief. Ideally, each of your posts should not be more than 500-words long. After writing a draft, go through the article and remove any unnecessary words. This way, you could reduce the word count by up to 20%. Media resources and other bloggers will find it easier to share your posts if they are concise and clear.

Readability

Make sure your posts are organized in a way that makes them easily readable. Write short sentences. Use sub-headers to divide your thoughts. Avoid using technical words which might be unfamiliar to your readers. If your posts are readable, your visitors will be encouraged to come back for more.

Post frequently

If possible, try and get at least two or three posts published every week. Social media sites and search engines work better with predictable patterns of publication.

Be personal

You will connect better with your readers better if you are personable. Therefore, feel free to reveal who you really are and to share your personal experiences. Let your passion for the subject, as well as your personality, shine through your posts.

Respond to comments

When people make comments on your blog, make sure you respond. This way, your readers will feel appreciated and will be encouraged to visit again and leave more comments.

Improve your ‘searchability’

You need to edit each post so as to improve your chances of being found through search engines. Keep your titles short, not more than 60 characters in length. In case they have to be longer, make sure the most vital words are placed first. It is also important for the title to include the main keyword. Create a list of relevant keywords for your post and insert them into the keyword field.

Network with other blogs

Build outgoing and incoming links for your blog. These links will be useful for enhancing your visibility on search engines. Create links to other bloggers and ask them to create reciprocal links to you. When you submit posts to other blogs, remember to include a link pointing back to your blog.

Participate actively in social media and forums

Each time you get a post published, share it on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon or Digg. If you are part of any forum which is relevant to your industry, make sure you interact with other members frequently. Every time you post a comment, remember to include a link pointing back to your blog. This will enhance your credibility and will also improve traffic to your blog.

Blogging – Tips for Finding Inspiration

Quality content is vital for every blog. Without it, you will not be able to grab or retain the attention of your readers. Visitors will not have a reason to share your content or come back for more.

Many people struggle with finding a good subject to write about. The following are some tips that can be helpful when looking for a topic.

Previous posts

When you want to create a fresh post, think of the subjects you have written about previously. Check your posts to see if there is anything that could be added. If there is anything new in regards to that topic, you could write a post concerning the recent developments. Or you might have just covered a particular subject briefly. You could then go back to the same subject and write a more detailed post. This is a great way of adding new content since the post is already partially written. All that is required is just a little more research to update the post.

Current events

It is vital that your blog contains content which is current. Stay abreast with the news and incorporate it into your post. However, don’t just repeat the news. Interpret it in your own way. Share your thoughts and ideas on the subject. Analyze the news and invite your readers to share their opinions.

Influential blogs

What are the common topics being discussed in your niche? Check out popular blogs and find out what people are talking about. Feel free to share your opinions and reactions. Find out if the blogs would allow you to share your posts. This is a great way of getting more readers and building a network.

Your audience

Queries which are received through email or comments on your posts can be transformed into blog posts. Find out from your older posts which subjects attract the most traffic, and then create more content on these subjects.