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why-blog-how-blogging-can-improve-your-websiteNow for the BIG question, why blog? What reason do you have to start a blog, and more importantly how would a blog help you? This is what I want to talk about today, but first I want to read to you the dictionary definition of the word “blog”. According to Dictionary.com, a blog is: a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

But a blog is so much more than that, and blogging has evolved from a simple personal journal to a content-marketing strategy that builds traffic, authority and personality. There’s a reason why big business and companies blog, and here’s some good reasons why you should start a blog, too.

What or Who are some famous blogs?

Some of the most popular blogs

  • Gizmodo: (10,000,000 + Unique Visitors Per Month)
  • Mashable: (10,000,000 + Unique Visitors Per Month)
  • TechCrunch: (7,500,000 + Unique Visitors Per Month)
  • Lifehacker: (5,500,000 + Unique Visitors Per Month)
  • SmashingMagazine: (4,600,000 + Unique Visitors Per Month)

Interesting and popular blogs by individuals

  • The Oatmeal:  (Comic or caricature style blog created by an individual, making over $500k a year)
  • Seth Godin:  (One of the most popular blogs in the world written by an individual)
  • Smart Passive Income: (Pat Flynn shares with you how he makes a living by blogging)

Is Blogging for Everyone?

Well, no. But whether or not you think of blogging as a money-making technique, or just a personal diary that someone would make just because, I want you to at least consider how blogging on your website could help you in your goals.

[ Related Article: Blogging with Affiliate Marketing – Making Money ]

Who is Blogging for then?

Blogging is for those individuals who either like writing about something or feels a need to say something to someone about something. I’m not going to spit out statistics or quote authors, but here are a few characteristics of a blogger:

  • You have something on your mind and want to let others know about it
    (Maybe you have a political stance or want to share how you feel about a specific topic like the environment. A blog may really help you).
  • You want to document something and share it with others
    (Maybe you want to show people how to fix a computer or car, a blog could help you document these things).
  • You either like to write, or produce content in some other way
    (Making videos, recording audio, creating artwork – a blog can help you achieve this).
  • You like to learn from others and share what you’ve learned
    (Maybe you’re not an expert about something, but you want to learn and connect with others – a blog can show your dedication to learning about that topic).
  • You just want to connect with other people online with similar interests
    (Maybe you just want to share your thoughts with others with similar interests – a blog can help you start conversations).

If you’re any one of these, blogging may be right for you!

So then… Why blog?

Why start a blog instead of just a static website? Or better yet, why not just write Facebook posts and use Twitter and all those other social networks to share your thoughts, tips and advice? Well in short, you should be doing those anyway! But they aren’t quite the same as blogging on your own website. First of all, blogging on your own website gives YOU the power to control your content and how it’s delivered. Not Facebook, not Twitter and you don’t want to be under the mercy of some company out there that could just take away all of your hard-work in an instance. Secondly blogging on your website makes it YOUR creation. It’s your website and no one else’s.

Blogging is…

  • Not hard: Anybody can blog. You don’t have to be a professional web designer.
  • Most affordable way to market your website: Each blog post is +1 more web page that could show up in search engines.
  • It’s a growing stream of free, organic search engine traffic.
  • A great way to fuel SEO: Search engines love valuable content, and the more you update, the more search engine spiders will crawl your website.
  • A way to show you’re the expert: Show everyone what you’re made of.
  • Its creative, inspirational and makes you think
  • Builds confidence and relationships: If you can educate or entertain someone, you’re in.
  • Visitor engagement: Allows visitors and potential customers a way to communicate with each other through commenting on your posts.
  • A voice for you or your business that can educate and inform your followers.

What can you do with your blog?

Now back in the day, blogs were just text and maybe a few images here and there. But today, you can transform your blog into a multi-media frenzy. It’s not just about writing anymore, it’s about content-marketing and allowing your visitors to consume your content in many different ways.

[ Related Article: What is WordPress – Blogging with WordPress? ]

You can make your blog however you want it, and include the following technologies and platforms:

  • Photography and illustrations
  • Embedded videos on YouTube
  • Slides, presentations and reports
  • E-Books and digital downloads
  • Podcast shows and audio posts
  • Social Media and sharing

So what should you talk about?

This is where you need to reflect and think about what you want to blog about, and in the beginning phases you should just let your mind roam for a bit. Don’t worry about if your idea is already taken, or if you’re blog would be read. Just think about one of these three things:

  • Your passions: What gets you going and excited?
  • Your interests: What do you want to know more about?
  • Your fears: What are you afraid of, and how can you conquer that fear?

And then write about it. This is the start of you finding out what you really want to blog about, and after that, you want to consider this:

  • Does my topic help someone solve a problem?

If you can solve a problem that people are having, then I encourage you to start a blog. If you can solve a problem through your blog, you have the potential at gaining traffic for your website, authority and possibly even money.

Build trust through your blog

Consistency is the key, and posting randomly here and there is not going to work. Posting a lot and then disappearing for a few weeks is as bad not posting at all, because readers want to know they can rely on you to provide their content. Imagine your favorite show coming out with an episode… randomly? I love watching the Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and How I Met Your Mother, but if those shows did not have a regular schedule, I would go nuts! Why would I tune in to something that wasn’t consistent? You want to establish consistency in your blog posts whether it’s posting every single day, or even just once a week.

In addition to being consistent, you can build trust with your blog by:

  • Great quality and valuable blog content
  • Clean and easy design
  • Correct spelling and grammar
  • Allow people to easily share through social networks
  • High-quality images and visuals
  • A good quality photo of yourself or the author(s)
  • Memorable, easy-to-read domain name
  • Professional-looking logo design
  • Social proof and being active

DO’s and DONT’s of blogging:
DO:

  • Make time: Blogging costs no money, but does take a lot of time.
  • Use social media and sharing: Put social sharing buttons on your blog posts.
  • Have a goal: Whether it’s to gain popularity, or eventually gain money.
  • Use SEO: Key spots to put your keyword is the headline, body content, meta description and your blog post’s URL.
  • Give a good reason for visitors to return: Such as consistent blog posts and freebies.
  • Cross-link posts: Add links on your blog posts that link to another one of your blog posts.
  • Use images: Use at least one image for each blog post.
  • Spell check and use good grammar: The minimum is avoid obvious spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Use lists: This is a list post…!

DONT:

  • Don’t shut off comments: Let your visitors interact with you and each other.
  • Don’t think you’re a one man army: Put your ego aside, and ask help where you need it.
  • Don’t blog just to make money: You will be disappointed if you think you can make quick cash.
  • Don’t over self-promote or advertise too much: Avoid trying to hard sell all the time.

How to avoid failing

I want to share with you an excellent article on “Why Bloggers Fail”. And notice it says, “Bloggers” and not just the “blog” itself. The truth is, if a blog fails, it’s because of the person in charge. Thisarticle was written by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers  and here he talks about why bogglers fail as well as gives you 3 time-wasters that I want to share:

Tip #1: Creating too much content and not promoting it.
Here Derek talks about bloggers who think that the more content they have, the better, and although that IS TRUE in some sense, it’s also false. If you create 100 awesome blog posts that nobody reads, then you’ve failed. But if you write 3 awesome blog posts that hundreds of people read each day, then you’re doing something right.

His main tip here, is to figure out a way to get your existing content into the hands of people.

Tip#2: Promoting content the wrong way.
In this tip, Derek mentions how 90% of us try to promote our blog. And I’m 100% guilty of this, and trying to improve, myself. Most people say they promote their blog by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and all their other social networks. But the truth is, that’s NOT promotion! That’s something we all should be doing, yes, but it’s not the most effective way to promote your blog.

This blew my freaking mind, and yes, this scares me… but he writes… “The easiest way to promote your blog and get readers is to convince another blog that has website traffic, to send you some traffic as well”. Or, the best way to get traffic, is to get help from another blog that already is popular! Mind blown. Wow.

This is truly one of the best ways to get traffic, and although I need to work on this myself, I wanted to share this very important blogging tip with you, by using a more credible sources, from Social Triggers about “Why Bloggers Fail“.

Tip#3: Not focused enough on a topic
This tip is for you to get more specific on what your blog is about. Instead of writing about “general” things, get laser-focused on a specific topic or niche, and become the expert in that field! You want to stand out from the crowd, even if it means getting less visitors, because they will be “targeted” visitors for your specific niche. Like I’ve said in the past, it’s better to get 10 qualified visitors who will make you money, then 1,000 ghost visitors who just wade in and out of your website.

Want to get started with your own blog?

If you want to start your own blog, the easiest thing to do is follow my video and blog tutorial on “How to get a website”. You can read, listen and watch all about this by going to http://markammay.com/howtomakeawebsite

Here you will learn the benefits of having your on website, how to choose a web hosting service and get a free domain name. You will also learn how to install your own WordPress website using a one-click install, and also how to install a free WordPress theme to get started.

Overall, if you need help, feel free to ask me either through my Facebook fan page or by leaving a web voicemail on my website.

Intense Resources for Bloggers

Here is just a list of resources I follow and read, especially for blogging and in my early days (which was not too long ago – February 2013)

http://www.problogger.net/recommended-blogging-resources/
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/08/12/essential-books-for-bloggers/
http://probloggerbook.com/
http://www.problogger.net/31dbbb-workbook/
http://mashable.com/2007/06/19/blogging-toolbox/
http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2007/05/23/101-essential-blogging-resources/
http://www.seobook.com