12/15/2011

Social Media Mind Control – Say What?

Social Media Mind Control � Say What?  阅读原文»

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As you sit there, slogging away at the social networks, has something titilated your brain? Have your senses been “tweaked” alerting you to some unseen element? You may be an unwitting victim of social media ruining your mind.

That’s right, you read correctly, recent studies may have revealed links tying social media to all manner of ills. Not only could your ability to multitask and your focus be adversely affected by your incessant networking, so might other cognitive functions. As the infographic from Assisted Living Today below shows, science may have once again found fodder for hazard warnings and labels, this time maybe on Facebook!

How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds Infographic

Infographic by Assisted Living Today � Assisted Living Facilities

Facebook, Twitter and now Google Plus, social media has supplanted blogging as the most popular outreach and expressive tool, at least for many. Social media participation, as the graphic tries to illustrate, my in fact dull the senses dramatically. But, is social media really running our minds? More data will be needed there, but until then perhaps your personal blog and an IM can be a preventative?


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10/12/2011

How Timing a Blog Post Can Increase Your Exposure

How Timing a Blog Post Can Increase Your Exposure  阅读原文»

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Timing a blog postIs timing all that important in the world of online marketing where information flows freely twenty four hours a day, seven days a week?

Some bloggers and users of social media are satisfied to hammer out a post or send a tweet whenever they can. Others stay up late editing the next day's blog post and setting it to auto-post at 4 AM. Is there really any advantage?

In a word, yes. In two words: definitely maybe.

Online marketers and community managers want to know one simple thing: when can they put their information, products, and special offers in front of the greatest number of people at one time. By learning about the timing of blog posts and social media updates, they'll be able to maximize their exposure relative to the time they invest and even capture audiences that online marketers have neglected.

When to Use Social Media

Many businesses focus their blog posts and social media efforts on the work week, assuming that their audiences are most attentive during week days. However, consider this statistic from a 2009 Wired Magazine survey: 54% of companies block Facebook and Twitter. That means a ton of readers will be looking for something to read in the evenings and on the weekend. With that in mind, let's look at some advice on when to use social media and to post blog content.

Two years of researchby Dan Zarella of the marketing firm Hubspot found that the morning isn’t necessarily the best time to use social media.

  • All Social Media: Interaction levels remain fairly steady on the weekends in comparison to the week.
  • Twitter: Click-through rates for links shared are highest between 11 am and 5 pm EST.
  • Twitter: The most retweets occur between 2 pm and 5 pm. In order to monitor the effectiveness of your retweets, check out the website Tweet When.
  • Facebook: Linking to your blog or website more than once a day will not bring significant benefits. In fact, posting too frequently on Facebook will back-fire.
  • Facebook: Weekends and off-peak times are also effective for click-throughs since there are fewer links shared and many readers are still looking for good content in their off hours.
  • E-mail Campaigns: The highest open and click-through rates happen on Saturday mornings. If you send an e-mail newsletter or a digest of your blog posts, schedule it for 4 or 5 am on Saturday. Publishing professionals Jane Friedmanand Michael Hyattsend their newsletters at that time and offer many tips valuable tips to her readers.

Whatever you do, you need to test the response of readers to your blog posts and social media updates. Different industries and users may respond in their own ways. For example, if you're blogging in order to receive links from experts, Zarella recommends aiming for early in the morning.

One of the most important things to keep in mind for blogs targeting readers in the United States, the majority of the population is located on the East Coast.

If you want to dramatically increase your page views, you need to also focus on your post frequency. However, if you can't keep up with one, two, or three posts a day, post timing will become far more important. In addition, entrepreneur and blogger Tim Ferris suggeststhat a lousy blog post can be far more harmful to your influence than no blog post.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger wroteback in 2008 that his weekend posts are typically lost in the shuffle compared to weekday posts. When he hosted Daniel Zarella to share his findingsabout blog viewing trends, his findings continued to hold true. Weekday mornings EST are when blogs have the most readers.

This means that marketers can still reach a lot of readers on social networks on the weekends and in the afternoons. However, when it comes to attracting links and more blog readers, the majority of readers are looking for content on week day mornings. Though the audience on weekends may be smaller for a blog post, social media tools and a lack of competition and a companion e-mail campaign may make weekends a highly effective time to find readers and customers.

About the Author

This guest post is written by Lior Levine, a marketing consultant for a web hosting company that lists the best web hosting companies online. Lior also consults for the MA in political science international program at the Tel Aviv University.


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7/05/2011

Custom WordPress Design vs. WordPress Templates

Custom WordPress Design vs. WordPress Templates  阅读原文»

Looking for really affordable premium WordPress themes?

Custom WordPress design solutions provide multiple advantages over the pre-designed WordPress templates available out there today. The customization and other capabilities created through the use of customized WordPress design really do make a difference.

A WordPress template that is pre-designed can serve as a bridge in the beginning stages. But in working with a template, the design and branding options often times become a limiting factor. As the brand begins to explore its own identity, developing a strong awareness for the type of message it wants to present, the custom WordPress solution becomes more of a necessity. It's difficult to achieve the level of branding desired through the use of a standardized template. The template can only do so much. When a company decides ultimately on how the brand is to be represented, the custom WordPress option becomes the best option.

The template also presents a challenge for version upgrades. It is common for individuals to download a template from a site that is quite close to becoming obsolete. Because the WordPress platform continues to change and update regularly, the use of the template can present a problem for a blog. When a version of WordPress issues an upgrade, the template in use must work in harmony with the newest version of WordPress. If this does not happen, issues with the plug-ins and loading errors can occur. This could diminish the user experience, so it is best to get a customized template from a resource that can be adapted and modified as needed to perform consistently between the different types of upgrades.

Impressive templates appealing to the eye may not function well in different browsers. Because users surf the internet with a variety of different types of browsers, the template must perform consistently. In working with a template, some may find that it works with one particular browser best. In using the pre-made design, one may have to encourage the users to view the site through a particular browser. Individuals who prefer viewing certain websites through a particular browser could decide to go to a similar site without such restrictions in place. When the custom design services are used, the expert tests to make sure that the templates work across all browsers in a number of settings.

There are also plug-in considerations worth exploring. Many of the plug-ins provided through WordPress are made to work specifically with certain types of templates. Some of the plug-ins are upgraded frequently while others are not. This presents a problem for those working with templates. Because the templates aren't maintained or tested often enough beyond the initial version, an individual may find it impossible to use the plug-ins that they want. One of the best ways to ensure that all of the preferred plug-ins are available to the user is to work with a custom designer. This means that the plug-ins selected aren't dictated by the template itself, but rather the individual's preference.

Advantages of working with a custom design include improved branding and functionality which become paramount to a business trying to take things to the next level. More latitude, more flexibility and more options are available to the person utilizing the custom template. The user experience is improved, and the performance is guaranteed with each subsequent upgrade.

About the Author

This is a gues post by Rodney Warner – A full time SEO & Denver WordPress Designer.


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7/04/2011

How to Choose a Blog Topic

How to Choose a Blog Topic  阅读原文»

With the StudioPress WordPress themes you can really take your blog to a higher level!

Choosing a blog topic is the most important factor in having a successful, well-read blog post that attracts comments and attention. Here is how to choose a topic for your blog post.

The most basic way to choose a blog topic is to look for an attention-grabbing story in the news. This can then be used as part of the blog post and title. The title is the first thing that people read, and it’s the most important factor. As long as you grab their attention you will convince them to continue reading. Choosing a topic that is controversial will also help you to create a good blog post, as people love to read about controversy.

Create an angle on a popular blog topic. In order to do this, look for those topics in your marketplace that always get lots of comments and attract the attention of many blog owners in your market. You should then use the same broad theme but create an angle, in order to make it original. This is a very simple way to choose a blog topic and will ensure you have a market for your blog post.

Another solid approach to choosing a blog topic is to make it personal. People love to read about the lives of others, and are always interested if you reveal something about yourself. However, ensure that the blog topic is also related to the market and gives them information that can be put to use. You could offer a story of how you used a certain technique in order to improve your skills in something. Make it personal, reveal an unknown truth and then provide a solution.

If your market is one that enjoys humor then you can reveal a joke as part of the blog post. This will not work in all markets, but it is an effective method to choose a blog topic. The idea is to link something that your readers are interested in to a joke that they will enjoy. This has been done with great success and can be used to connect to your subscribers and readers.

One of the most popular blog topics is to make a list of seven secrets or tips. This is done every day and still works to generate attention and attract a lot of readers. When you create a blog post around seven tips, you will almost be guaranteed to have readers, comments and increased traffic.

Using the methods above to choose the topic for your blog post will make the process much easier and will ensure more readers to click and read your content.

About the Author

Pat Lindle is an avid writer and blogger for his metal deck / steel deck company in Phoenix AZ. When not writing and blogging about his passions, Pat enjoys scuba diving, mountain climbing, and vacationing with his family.


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6/20/2011

Use a Blog to Build Your Brand

Use a Blog to Build Your Brand  阅读原文»

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Brand building is the only route to business success in the present global market scenario. Sales alone cannot make a business successful since they do not increase until the brand becomes a forceful tool that will launch the business into the big league. Brand building is a tough task needing an investment of a lot of time and money, and every step needs to be done right. Even then, something may hold back the branding initiative.

In such a scenario blogging may prove to be savior in helping in the branding exercise and making it successful. Blogging can help in various ways, some of which are discussed below:

  • Build an online image through blogs- Part of the branding initiative includes the addition of a jingle or a catch line that is so catchy that it stays in consumers' minds. This is often to such an extent that the very mention of the brand first brings a very distinct image of the brand and then anything else. This has been termed as creation of a "franchise" in the mind by experts, and companies spend billions to create this mind franchising exercise. One last effort can be to use blogging for increasing the branding endeavors, which will definitely help in creating an online presence for the brand and the products associated with it. Also, blogs are an open, free for all board where your brand stories can be narrated time and again, new thoughts added, and updates that help to keep the reading public in the loop. A blog is like a guided tour that continues over time. A personal perspective for a brand is possible only through blogs, and it makes people warm up to it.
  • Blogs for initiating conversations- Blogs need not be a one way communication channel. It is a great way to initiate a conversation with consumers, get their views, feedback and recommendations. Often it is the end user who is able to point out flaws and drawbacks that can be rectified to improve the image of the brand and the products attached to it. Personal interaction helps to develop a personal rapport and with it comes faith and trust in the people behind the brand. A personal angle to a strictly professional or business relationship only adds to the advantages without any negative effects.
  • Blogging helps in marketing by word-of-mouth- Blogs have a double effect. Besides opening a communication channel between brand owners and brand users, it also helps to create a network involving people connected to users, since all people talk to each other about good products and services. This can easily have a viral effect, since path breaking innovations will reach all the networks of the people you interact or communicate with. This word of mouth marketing is perhaps the best marketing tool there can be.
  • Using connections for brand building- Blogging helps to build connections and these connections pay off in promoting brands. Blogging makes it easy to become powerful through knowledge and expertise in your field, and sharing this with others makes them see the extent of your knowledge. Once the target audience realizes this, they begin to accept your influence and warm up to the brand you promote. Connections are easy to make through this knowledge route. Being honest, letting your true self come out in your blogs, adds life to a few lines and the reading public loves that. Blogs thus become a perfect medium to showcase honesty, sincerity and expertise in your field, without any need for rhetoric or flowery writing styles. Connections will then naturally follow.
  • Create communities on social networks through blogs- the impact of blogs can be extended to social networks like Facebook and Twitter as well. With shared interests the viral effect of a blog can do wonders for the brand a sword spreads, and so does the name and fame. Additional layers can be created through message boards, review sections, customer profiles and so on to form a whole community for a brand. This is assisted by social network platforms like Ning, CrowdVine and KickApps, which serve precisely this purpose.
  • Using Cost effective brand building exercises- Brand building can be an expensive exercise and companies that have no dearth of resources go all out to spend on brand initiatives. However, this is neither warranted nor a necessary rule of thumb. Brands can be built on shoe string budgets, with little spending or none at all, as is the case with blogging. Many blog platform come free of cost and knowledge of blogging can improve over time to yield the best results.
  • Partnerships help in reinforcing brands- Modern brands are based on the concept of distributed power. Brands are less an in-house brand expert's forte and more can be gauged from the interactive consumer platforms where a true, unbiased picture emerges. Using these inputs to restructure and improve the brand and its image subsequently, are the way smart companies work. Partnership with meaningful participants helps. Blogging is one effective way to initiate partnerships that will help the brand.

According to Brian Solis, a famous media expert and business blogger, a humane blog with genuine and helpful advice combined with the ability to cultivate relationships and sustain them helps to form good connections, improve customer service, revise perceptions and improve the reach, resonance and loyalty of the brand in question.

About the Author

This is a guest post by Neil Jones, who Specializes in launching ecommerce sites, he is currently plying his trade as head of marketing for eMobileScan. With 18 websites based all around Europe they are on course to be one of Europe’s largest online retailers of Industrial handheld computers and label printers like the Motorola MC75 terminal or the Datalogic Memor. Neil has been an online marketer for the past 6 years and in that time he has owned and run a range of sites all built around the ecommerce platform.


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6/03/2011

Best 3 Advanced Chrome Extensions To Manage a WordPress Blog

Best 3 Advanced Chrome Extensions To Manage a WordPress Blog  阅读原文»

With the StudioPress WordPress themes you can really take your blog to a higher level!

Chrome Extensions for BloggingWhen it comes to choosing a web browser, Internet Explorer and Firefox tend to be two of the most popular. However, Google Chrome is now making its mark in the browser sector. Many people are enjoying the easy to navigate and simple Chrome features, though one problem has cropped up for bloggers.

Up until fairly recently there have not been many decent extensions for bloggers that support Chrome. If you run a WordPress blog then you will be pleased to know that there are a few good Chrome extensions available. They can help you to better manage your blog, and make it more successful.

Extension Number One � WordPress Comments Checker

When you run an online blog you will often receive comments from visitors to your blog. There could be questions asked about the content in your post, or they could be praising you for your hard work. Whatever it is, comments should be answered in a timely manner.

It can be hard enough finding the time to write the posts never mind keep checking for replies! Luckily there is a solution and it comes in the form of the WordPress Comments Checker.

This handy extension keeps track of your comments and shows you how many pending comments you have. The results are easy to see on the header section of Google Chrome. It doesn't matter what you are doing you will always know if you have a new comment. You must be logged into your blog in order to see the number of comments that you have pending.

When you click on the counter in the Chrome header, you will be taken right to the Admin section of your blog. Currently the extension is being developed to include even more features. For more information on this feature click here.

Extension Number Two � WordPress Stats

The WordPress Stats extension enables you to see how many visitors your blog has at any point in time. This will give you a good idea of what time of the day your blog often receives the most traffic. You can then aim to release new posts at around that time.

Once you click on the extension, you will be presented with many statistics regarding your visitors. You can find out about your most popular posts, how many referrals your blog has, and what search terms have been used to find your blog.

You will need to be using the WordPress Stats plug-in for this extension to work properly. It will take your information from the WordPress blog via your API Key. You should find this extension really simple to use. You can find out more here.

Extension Number Three � WordPress Checker

This is almost exactly the same as the WordPress Comments Checker only it is better for those with multiple blogs. Pending comments are generally displayed the same way that they are with the other extension. It just shows you the comments for every different blog that you have in one easy to manage section. Once you click on the extension you will be able to view pending, spam and approved comments for all of your blogs.Check out this great tool at WordPress checker.

These are the best 3 extensions that support Google Chrome. If you manage a WordPress blog then it would definitely be a good idea to invest in these extensions. They will help you to better run the blogs and monitor your traffic.

If you are strapped for time then you need tools that can help you. Blogs can be very hard work as they do need to be constantly monitored and updated. Why not let the extensions monitor your blogs for you to relieve some of the pressure?

About the Author

This was a post sent to us kindly by Lior Levin who is a consultant to a PSD to XHTML service and also works with a neon signs store that sells neon and LED signs.


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5/03/2011

Quick Writer’s Guide to Finding Free Images

Quick Writer's Guide to Finding Free Images  阅读原文»

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Finding free photos

Writing for the web often requires a great deal of self publishing, especially if you run your own blog or news/feature website. Because of this, there is a good chance that at some point, you will be required to find images, resize them, and add them to your articles.

Nothing can fully replace having your own photographer at your side, but there are many photographers who use the web as their digital portfolios and allow writers and website owners to use their images royalty-free. Just because an image is on the web does not mean it’s a free image and you have the right to use it, and if you start making money off your blog while illegally using copyrighted images, you could be in for a world of hurt.

There are several types of royalty-free photo sites out there. Some have their own licenses, and others use copyleft licenses like Creative Commons or GNU Free Documentation License. Still others allow the users to specify the terms such as notification and crediting. The following are several sites you can use to find free images for your writing.

Where to Find Free Images?

stock.xchng – One of the most well-established free stock photo sites, stock.xchng showcases an amazingly large number of photographers. Licenses include the standard restrictions, which do not require attribution, as well as an attribution, permission, and/or notification requirement. All of the images are high-quality, and all are free of charge.

Flickr – Since Flickr itself is a photo sharing site, there are plenty photos with “all rights reserved” that are off-limits to you unless you gain the photographer’s permission. With the “advanced search” feature, however, you can locate usable photos by scrolling to the bottom of the page and checking: “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”. If you need to use the images for commercial promotion, also be sure to check “Find to use commercially”.

A word of caution: Flickr uses the Creative Commons feature trusting that the person who uploads it will honor its terms. Unfortunately, some are prone to later change the license or upload images that they do not have permission to license in the first place. Therefore, always use your best judgment.

Wikimedia Commons – Created by the same non-profit organization that runs Wikipedia, this free image site has a plethora of usable photos and art. Because of stricter requirements for submission, Wikimedia Commons photos are all reusable under Creative Commons. Most require attribution, so be sure to credit your sources.

OpenClipArt – Although clipart may be the last type of image you want to include in your writing, OpenClipArt has some quality vector SVG artwork that may cause you to reconsider. All of the images on this site are released to the Public Domain and do not require attribution.

Google Advanced Search – Rather than an image hosting site, Google image search is a meta search tool that you can use to find reusable images. Simply click on “Advanced Search” and for “Usage rights” select “free to use or share”. Most of the images will come from Flickr, but it may also find additional ones, and best of all, it relies on Google’s speedy search interface.

everystockphoto – Another meta search tool, everystockphoto searches many of the sites mentioned above, such as Flickr and stock.xchng. Each entries clearly defines the license type, resolution, image source, and more.

morgueFile – An interesting concept, morgueFile is designed specifically for creative people looking for free images to use. The site license does not require attribution, and the collection of photos is quite impressive and high quality.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog – The Library of Congress has tons of digital images, and it would make this article unduly long to list all of the categories. If you are looking for art, historical photos, or things you might not be able to find elsewhere, LOC probably has it. Most of the old photos and art are in the public domain, but be sure to check the restrictions for each collection you use.

Now you have no excuse not to include beautiful free photos and art in your writing. Like you, a writer who shares your creations with the world, there are plenty of photographers and artists who do the same. Enjoy their work, and be sure to give them credit when they request it.

About the Author

Tavis J. Hampton is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in writing, information services, and Linux system administration, relying on only quality web hosts like server hosting company 34SP.com.

You may also want to read: Where To Find Free Images For Your Blog
Photo credits to Miguel Ugalde


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5/02/2011

Optimizing your Blog for Google Panda

Optimizing your Blog for Google Panda  阅读原文»

Have you read "How To Be a Rockstar WordPress Designer" yet?

Google Panda and BlogsThe recent update made by Google (Panda) is the first major change since 2009. There were many blogs that were affected by this update. Some experienced a drop in their traffic, while some experienced a surge. Whatever change your blog experienced, I'm sure you have noticed a lot of buzz around these algorithm changes. What is Panda all about? Let's take a look:

No gibberish

According to Google, the Panda update was made to enhance the quality of search results. This made spammy sites disappear from the results. Though there still are some gibberish sites on search results, there are many websites that were pushed down in the search rankings. The Panda update is not perfect, but it did make considerable changes.

The update targeted low quality sites with superficial and shallow content, and brought down their rankings. The websites that were hit the hardest by Panda were content farms and article sites.

Content farms

Talking about a content farm, many people generally ask what exactly a content farm is. This is actually a very hazy area. Following the definition on Wikipedia, a content farm is a website that uses a lot of freelance writers to write content in order to rank high on search engine results. These websites earn money by getting many page views and thus selling ads on those pages.

This definition brings all the article directories under the definition of content farms. There are many content farms that are still standing strong, though some were penalized.

If you allow guests to post articles on your blog, chances are that some people add low quality content just for some backlinks. If this happens, your blog might have been affected by the recent updates. Opening your blog for guest posts is a good way to encourage reader activity, but some level of moderation is required so that it does not become a content farm.

Keep it Panda friendly

There are some basic steps that you can follow to optimize your website for Google Panda. Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing CEO, prescribes four steps that can work with the post Google Panda update.

1. Evaluate your blog for these characteristics: low informative value, short form, too many ads or duplicate content. If some part is being duplicated, just remove it. If the content is not too useful, add bits of information. Remove extra panels of ads. Make sure the person doing this has enough web development expertise and SEO knowledge.

2. For subsequent blog posts, focus on high quality useful content that is not duplicated from anywhere else.

3. Promote your content in such a way that it attracts links from other blogs. You can do it by providing content in a way that makes people comment on it. When people get interested in your website, they will talk about it, or post links to it on other sites. This will increase your page rank. But remember- keep it original.

4. Offer users a chance to share your blog on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Social engagement will popularize your blog faster than other mediums. This will be useful for both your blog and your readers.

Though there are some legitimate sites that got caught up in the Panda update, it has proven to be a windfall for real content marketers – the blogs that provide great content to their readers. Continue to feed the Internet with the best content with less stress on the sales pitch, and you will stay good in the eyes of Google.

If you are looking for something that would let the Panda update work in your favor then use all the organic SEO strategies that you know, and stop building low quality links. Maybe some content farms have been spared by Google, but judging by the direction Google is taking, their next update might not be so kind.

About the Author

June Buckley is an SEO specialist and avid blogger. She likes writing about social media, business blog hosting, internet marketing and mobile technology.


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4/28/2011

Why You Should Add A Podcast To Your Blog

Why You Should Add A Podcast To Your Blog  阅读原文»

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Blog podcastWhile podcasting is much bigger than it was a few years ago, it's still not as big as a could be. Many bloggers have yet to get into the art of podcasting. Some are shy and aren't ready to take that next step, while others want to, but just don't know how to take that step.

Whatever your reason may be for not adding a podcast to your blog, you may want to consider the benefits. Podcasting is not just a marketing tool, it's also a way to set yourself apart from the competition and really get in touch with your subscribers. So before counting it out, take a look over these reasons why you should add a podcast to your blog.

Educate Yourself

Having a weekly podcast can be a great learning experience for you because you'll get to learn about new topics from the people that you talk to and interview. What better way to expand your knowledge than by talking to experts in that area? Your new-found knowledge is also a great way of increasing your authority and establishing yourself as a great source and leader in your industry. You'll be able to expound in greater detail on the topics that you cover on your blog and build more trust with your readers.

Expand Your Reach

Through your podcast you'll be able to network, connect and get noticed by new people. You'll really get to do a lot of expanding because the people that you invite on your podcast will of course share the podcast with their network. It only gets better from there because some of those people will then share the podcast with their networks and so on.

Also, with the ability to publish podcasts for free on iTunes and other places, you're bound to reach an entirely new audience. It's a great way to build your brand and increase your exposure. People that may have never even heard of your will come across your podcast just by searching or browsing within your category.

Convenience

Your readers will now become listeners and they'll really appreciate the convenience of being able to listen to your content on the go (via a mobile device) or while multitasking right at home or in the office. Listening actually takes less cognitive effort than reading, plus the Web has really made people more lazy. So, it's only natural that your readers will enjoy listening to your podcasts because it will save them time and energy.

Build Relationships

Your podcast will give you the ability to improve your relationship with your current readers and build new relationships as well. It’s much easier to build a personal connection to a human voice than from writing; text can be so impersonal. Hearing your voice will let your listeners into your life and get to know the real you. You can also interact with them more and even respond to questions, remarks or feedback that they send.

If you’re now ready to take that next step, there are numerous resources on the Web to help you get started. Some methods are easier than other; so just be sure to find the method that best suits your needs and you'll be a podcasting pro in no time!

About the Author

This post was written by Lior who advises to a live chat support software company called iAdvize. Lior Also works for an MA in Israel studies program.


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4/27/2011

Starting The Article Writing Process

Starting The Article Writing Process  阅读原文»

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Article Writing TipsArticle writing is more than just sitting down and writing out your thoughts. In order to get people to keep on reading you have to almost instantly capture their interest. You must get your reader interested enough and curious enough to be able to get your message across to them.

The most important ingredient in putting together an article is creativity. Some people are just naturally very creative, while others go crazy while suffering from a seemingly endless bout of writer’s block. It can be extremely frustrating and aggravating when the words that you are looking for just don’t seem to want to come. But you must learn to relax and let them come.

Writing words that magically transform themselves into an image in the mind of the reader is an art form in and of itself. Your words need to be crisp, clear, and concise. You can use metaphors to help yourself out, but the way an article is woven together word by word and sentence by sentence is how it develops its essence and personality.

You are sitting there and you just can’t seem to get any words to come to mind, what do you do now? Since the beginning of the written word, all writers have faced this situation. There is no perfect or guaranteed answer to the problem of writers block. One secret that I use, as well as a lot of other writers, is to keep a notebook near you at all times and write down any ideas as they come to you. Write down everything you think of, everything you see, and everything you hear that might prove useful. You can use this notebook for future reference when you are in need of an idea.

Another thing that you can try is to simply relax and empty your mind. We all from time to time end up with a head full of life’s little worries. If you are having some sort of problem or difficulty in your life it will make it very hard for you to concentrate and keep focused on what you are trying to do. Every time you sit down to write, take a moment to relax and clear those troubling thoughts from your mind.

The area in which you work is very important and can have a direct effect on the quality of your work. A cluttered workspace can be a distraction and hinder your productivity. This doesn’t mean however that you have to have a sterile and drab work area. Put up some pictures that inspire you. Place some small objects on your desk the bring back those kinds of memories that you just can’t help but smile when you think of them. A peaceful work area will greatly increase your output.

Figure out how you work best

A good place to start is the speed with which you write. Some writers once they get going, the words just fly across the paper. Other writers are much slower and more methodical. You need to find your own pace. Some writers having a never-ending cup of coffee always on the desk, while some have been known to sip on a glass of wine or put away a few beers while they write. There is no right or wrong way, there is only you finding your own way.

And if it all gets to be too much, and no matter how hard you should try the words just won’t come, get up and walk away from it. Take a break, go for a walk, do something that is unusual and will break up your normal routine. Once you have let go of all those little things that are bothering you, the writing process will flow effortlessly.

About the Author

Thomas Alling runs a blog where he writes about how you can make money from blogging. He also writes articles in the internet marketing niche. To read more from Mr. Alling, visit his blog MakeMoneyHelper.com


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4/26/2011

WordPress Essentials: All in One SEO Pack vs WP SEO by Yoast

WordPress Essentials: All in One SEO Pack vs WP SEO by Yoast  阅读原文»

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For those people who have been using WordPress for years, the first plugin that they would recommend anyone starting out with the WordPress format would be the All in One SEO Pack. All in One SEO Pack was one of the first comprehensive WordPress plugins and since it was launched has been downloaded over 8 million times. It is without doubt the daddy of all WordPress plugins and the one most people download first when they set up their WordPress blog.

All in One SEO Pack allows you to quickly and simply configure the meta tags, meta description and Title for each and every post that you write for your WordPress site. This is particularly useful because WordPress will use your blog tag as a keyword. Thus the plugin is brilliant for customizing every post or webpage to get the maximum benefits of optimization. This automation of the SEO process is brilliant for beginners, because it not only generates the correct tags but it also avoids duplicate content.

However, the problem with being the top dog is that someone always comes along and tries to steal your crown. And lately another SEO package has been getting a lot of attention. The WordPress SEO by Yoast is the most recent, and certainly most discussed, SEO plugin around. Boasting a whole raft of new features it promised to be less high maintenance than All in One SEO Pack. And it comes with a good pedigree with Yoast and his team being a reliable source and having been downloaded a great deal as well.

Indeed it is well designed and very easy to use with a bunch of great options for tweaking your search engine optimisation settings. The page that takes the place of the old All in One SEO Pack page works extremely well and allows you to simply customize the titles for differing page views, with numerous options for flexibility. However, there are also some problems with Yoast at this stage, that still need ironing out. Some category tags and templates didn't work once the plugin was enabled, and after the installation of the plugin the category permalinks also stopped working. In addition there were problems with sitemap functionality and a few other minor teething problems that still need to be sorted out.

To be fair Yoast’s SEO plugin has not been around anywhere near the same length of time as All in One SEO Pack so it needs some time to bed in. But for a plugin that does one basic job � generating and organizing meta description, title and keyword tags � and does it well, All in One SEO Pack is still the only plugin worth installing.

About the Author

Alex Simmonds is a copywriter and journalist based in the UK.


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4/13/2011

Community Chat: Time for a Blogsessive Redesign

Community Chat: Time for a Blogsessive Redesign  阅读原文»

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Hello friends and readers of Blogsessive! Today I have an announcement to make and with this occasion, launch a debate with you, Blogsessive’s community.

Blogsessive has been around for a while, sometimes more active, sometimes less active, but right now it’s time for a major change. And this change will start off with a redesign of the blog.

Since I’ve always treasured the voice of my community, I’m launching an open debate (this post will remain sticky) on this step in Blogsessive’s existence with a few questions:

  • What do you like and dislike most about the current design?
  • What would you want to see implemented in the future design?
  • Are there any elements/functionalities that you find hard to access right now?

Aside from these questions, feel free and encourage to express your opinions as feedback is always kindly appreciated. Also, another change of policy is to open up Blogsessive to more guest post articles. It is an excellent way to help Blogsessive’s readers get to know each other better and I am 100% positive that everyone has a wonderful point of view, experience and tips to share with us all. So, go ahead and write a wonderful guest post and contact me.

Lets talk

Looking forward to reading your comments and setting the base of Blogsessive’s future together!


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4/12/2011

Build Your Audience with Facebook and Blogging

Build Your Audience with Facebook and Blogging  阅读原文»

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Facebook blogging audienceFacebook and blogging, if both are done right, can be a powerful combination. Linking up your Facebook Page with your blog is a great way to get your blog readers more involved with your Facebook community, and it's also a great chance to let your Facebook fans know what's going on over on your blog.

It's not difficult to link up your Facebook Page and your blog, in fact some of it can be set once and then will automatically continue to work for you. It's just a matter of getting the pieces in place so that both your blog and your Facebook Page are communicating with each other and your people can easily connect with you where they are most comfortable interacting.

Let's start with some things you can do on your Facebook Page.

Automatically Post Your Blog Updates

Every time you write a new blog post, you can have Facebook automatically publish that on your Facebook Page. This is a great way to let your fans know that there is new content over on the blog, and they can get a quick sneak peek to see if it's something they want to check out or not.

All you need is a Facebook Page app that posts from an RSS feed. RSS Graffiti is a good example of one that is completely free and easy to set up.

Blog Directly In Facebook

Most bloggers will want to continue to have an external blog outside of Facebook, however, Facebook's Notes app can act like a blog inside Facebook. With Notes you can write and post an article, include images and links, and post it right to your Facebook Page Wall. The Notes app is automatically added to any new Page, so you can easily find it by going in to the Apps section in your Edit Page backend.

The Notes app can also be used to import your blog and works great if your blog is primarily written. {Videos do not import properly, so if your blog has a lot of video, then I recommend just using the RSS Graffiti app for your blog.} The Notes app will import your new blog posts right into Notes, so that it's now in your Facebook Page and your fans can comment on it there.

There are also a number of things you can set up on your blog to point to and connect to your Facebook Page.

Facebook Share Button

There are a number of good plugins for WordPress that add a Facebook Share button to each post on your blog. You can have one that shows the number of shares, or one that simply has the Share button with no count.

A Facebook Share button is a quick and easy way for readers to share your post if they like it. They are able to add their own comment, and Facebook pulls in the title, URL, short description and thumbnail, so it gives your blog some great exposure to the Share-er's friends.

Facebook Comments

Adding Facebook comments to your blog can be a great way to bring some more interactivity with Facebook to your site. Facebook comments sync between your blog and Facebook so that user's comments are posted to their Personal Profile when they comment.

Readers who are not on Facebook are not able to comment, however, so some people use Facebook Comments alongside the regular WordPress comments, or only use the Facebook Comments on certain pages of their blog.

Facebook Like

You can also add a simple Like button to each blog post. When readers click Like, it publishes a quick story to their profile saying that they Like it. The Like button also typically shows readers if any of their friends already like the post, so it can be a great way to show them that their friends are already interacting with your blog {if they actually are, of course}.

The Like button doesn't let them add a comment or share the actual post, but it does give your post just a bit of visibility on Facebook. And visibility equals new fans and more interaction from current fans. Use it as well as the Facebook Share button to give your readers two easy ways give you some Facebook love.

Facebook Page Icon or Like Box

Many of your blog readers would love to be fans on Facebook, as well. Give them the option to do so right from your blog with a Facebook Page Like Box, which has the Like button right on your site, so they don't have to leave your blog.

Or if you prefer to have them leave your site to go to Facebook, then use a Facebook icon that links to your Facebook Page. You can use just a plain text link, too, but if people are looking for how to connect with you on Facebook, they'll be looking for the blue Facebook "F". Don't be shy about displaying that icon!

How to Find Apps and Plugins

If you're not familiar with finding and installing new Facebook Page apps and WordPress plugins, just start doing some searching. You can use the search bar in Facebook to search for apps – just start typing what you're looking for and Facebook will show you a list of suggestions. If looking for WordPress plugins, you can do a search on WordPress.org for plugins.

And don't forget that Google is your best friend. You can search for Facebook apps and WordPress plugins right in Google, as well, and will find recommendations from others, as well as the actual apps and plugins on Facebook and WordPress.

Your Turn

Are you already using some of these tools and techniques? Which new ones are you going to start implementing? And are there any other techniques that you would like to add to the list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Image Credit: Anirudh Koul

About the Author

Jess is a quirky entrepreneur who helps fellow quirks EXPLODE their business on Facebook. She loves all things Facebook and being able to help business owners learn how to build an active audience to grow their business through Facebook. If you’d like to learn more, you can attend her FREE webinar, The Facebook Explosion Blueprint, or join The Facebook Explosion community on Facebook. You can also follow Jess’ blog and website over at www.jessilicious.com.


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4/11/2011

That’s Why I Have Just Deleted Your Business Opportunity Email

That's Why I Have Just Deleted Your Business Opportunity Email  阅读原文»

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Delete business opportunity emailHello everyone! My name is Alex. Most of you, readers of Blogsessive know my name and clearly know what this blog is all about and that’s great. Others don’t and that’s fine too. But there are those cases in which not knowing who I am is a bad thing, and yes, now I’m talking to you Mr./Ms. Internet/Email Marketer. Unfortunately, I have absolutely NO idea what your big business opportunity was all about because I have just deleted your email. Why, you ask? Because…

My name is Alex

Not admin, not webmaster. I have a name and if you really want to reach ME, think of me as a person with an identity. I am not defined by my status in regards to how I technically operate this blog or website, but by my thoughts, actions, writing and virtually all that in the end constitutes my identity in the eyes of my community. You can start by simply using my name.

My blog is called Blogsessive

Not http://blogsessive.com, not ‘your website’ – the one that you ‘stumbled’ across by some sort of accident and decided to pitch me. Call me arrogant but I love my blog and have put a lot of work and passion into it. Show me respect by using its name, just like you should when addressing me. It is part of my identity and if you did not get it by now, I couldn’t care less about what you have to propose as long as you show that you have no idea who I am, what my blog is about and I’m basically just another ID in your database of contacts.

You did not pitch me with a win-win

The second you decide to pitch me it is clear that you have something to gain. In case you don’t realize, like it or not most times that puts me in a position of power. Make sure you clearly state what you offer and make sure it’s at least decent. Under certain circumstances I will promote stuff out of my own belief because you pointed it out, but statistics say that most likely I’m not running a charity, nor pushing big amounts of BS to my community. Thus, all you have to do is to follow these simple rules:

  • Offer something of value to me and my community;
  • Offer something of virtually the same value with what you are asking for;
  • If you cannot provide any of the above, make sure you state why and think of alternatives.

You did not pitch me with something fit

If you take a moment to browse my blog, you’ll see what it is all about and see if your proposal fits in. I will not go out of my way to help you with something and by doing that, disrupt the flow of this blog. Make sure you pitch me with the right stuff.

So, the next time you pitch me via email and don’t get a reply, know that it went straight to the trash bin and that’s why I have just deleted your business opportunity email.

What should you do?

Other than following the 4 common sense rules above? You could first consider the following relational pattern: Me <-> My blog <-> My community. If you get that, I’m sure you’ll be able to personalize your business opportunity email in less than 5 minutes and chances are that I’ll read it and reply. Also, let me give you an example of how it’s done.

A couple of days ago I was approached by a person offering a subscription to a pretty major website, asking for a review of their service. They used my blog’s name in their pitch and their offer clearly stated what I had to win out if it. A decent free subscription. Yet, their service is not that new to me as it relates to my job of over a decade – a web designer. Being a member of similar services, out of courtesy and respect of their approach I replied back asking for a similar subscription to offer one of my readers too in a contest after I’d review their site. Of course, we came to an agreement and everyone will be happy. It’s just a matter of common sense. And with this, stay tuned to Blogsessive in the next couple of weeks as I’m preparing the contest I previously mentioned.

Photo credits to Dan Mulligan


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4/07/2011

6 Habits of Successful Writers

6 Habits of Successful Writers  阅读原文»

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Writing habitsIn most industrialized nations, literacy is well over 98%. This means that nearly everyone is capable of reading and writing and, as such, are capable of being writers.

However, only a very small fraction of people who can write ever attempt to actually become serious writers and, of those who do, only a fraction ever become successful at it.

There are many reasons for this, some of which include natural talent, time and other issues over which there is little control. However, there are several habits that separate those who become successful writers from those who never go anywhere with their writing.

In short, while taking on these habits may not guarantee that you'll become a successful writer, not having them will virtually guarantee that you won't. As such, they are crucial for any writer to have if they want to make a career or even a reputation out of their writing.

1. Writing

Successful writers write almost constantly. It's important to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) at least once a day to keep your mind in the writing mindset.

Try to set a word count goal for yourself every day, even if it is a low one at first, and try to hit it. Not only is this a great way to tackle longer projects, such as a novel, but it forces you to write even if you don't have a deadline looming, letting you work on projects along and along rather than rushing to completion.

2. Editing

Most great writers are also avid editors. While it's important to have others read your work and to take their suggestions humbly, you have to be your own best editor.

Learn how to edit your work carefully, reading the words aloud as you go back over it or even reading it backwards to ensure you take your time and look at what was said. Very few great works come out as diamonds in the first draft and most need a lot of polish to make them shine.

3. Reading

To be a successful writer, one has to read as much, if not more, than they write. Reading not only lets you see what works and what doesn't but also lets you feel the natural cadence of the written language and bring that into your work.

It's important, however, to read a variety of content. Newspapers, books, blog posts, etc. all have different styles and different elements that you can incorporate into your work. Exposing yourself to all of the content you can is crucial to having a broad understanding of writing and being able to bring in the best of all worlds.

4. Focus

Writing is hard work and there are many distractions that can cause you to lose your focus. Finding ways to keep on target and keep putting words on the page is crucial to completing projects, which, in turn is essential for being a successful writer.

Whether you use a full screen word processor or just sheer willpower, finding a way to stay focused on your words will help you immensely as you try to hone and improve your writing.

5. Self Promotion

This one is a problem for many writers as marketing is not a skill that comes naturally with writing talents. However, in order to go from being a talented writer to a successful one, one has to be prepared to tastefully trumpet themselves.

Marketing and promotion is far from easy, but the quicker one masters it, the faster their career will grow.

6. Delivery

Finally, all of the above habits mean nothing if the writer isn't capable of delivering what they promise on time every time.

A writer who hasn't submitted a completed work hasn't written anything at all. So getting into the habit of meeting deadlines and constantly turning out excellent work when you do is the habit that will build your reputation and help you climb the ladder of success.

Conclusions

All in all, there's no real magic to becoming a great writer. It's all about working hard at your craft and constantly churning out high quality work in a timely fashion.

However, these are not skills that one develops so much as they are habits, habits that become ingrained by making an effort to do them over and over again.

Once that happens, there's almost nothing that can stop you from finding success as a writer. At that point it is only a matter of time and patience.

About the Author

This was a guest post by Lior who works for an applicant tracking software and who also advises to a neon signs store.


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