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Thursday, January 22, 2009

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Blogging Demystified
Top Ten Blogging Tips & FREE Tools
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Issue: #09-01 January 20, 2009

Welcome to another year!  2009!  Of course, by this time, most of us are likely sorting through our collective shoe boxes of New Year's resolutions, throwing out the ones that don't make sense and trying to find time for the ones that really matter.  If you're like me you've placed marketing at the top of your list.  So, I'm dedicating this newsletter to Internet Marketing. Below you will find tips, tools, ideas and hopefully a little inspiration to get your 2009 marketing efforts off to a great start! 
Blogging Demystified
blond Get Inspired
Articles about Blogging are for the most part boring.  It's the same story over and over: you should be blogging-blogging drives traffic-blogging is a great marketing tool....  And yet, most bloggers quit after a few weeks, or worse yet, never get started.

There are a slew of reasons people have for not blogging:  I don't have time. It doesn't seem to be doing my site any good. No one reads my blog?  I don't know what to blog about.

The truth is, blogging does help drive traffic, blogging will build your audience, and it will establish your name in the marketplace!  The trick is this: you have to be patient and consistent.  You won't see results right away, in fact, it can take up to a year before your blog builds a steady and loyal following-but it will, and that's the exciting part.

Admittedly, when you first start blogging, it may seem like you are stuck on a desert island pontificating to the palm trees.  Persevere!!  Those smoke signals will reach your market eventually, and here's the best part: even if no one ever reads your blog, search engine spiders will.  Here's how it works: the more you blog, the more relevant content (and keywords) you have for crawlers to index, and the more likely you are to appear on a search engine results page.

Let's say for example you are trying to increase your ranking for the term "kids and guns."  Google will rank your site for this term if it appears in your site frequently and it is relevant to the other content of your site. The best way to ensure relevance for this term is to blog about it frequently, but don't overdo it. Always blog as if you are speaking directly to your audience-if you say the same thing over and over, people get bored.  Even if you don't think you have an audience now, you will.  With this example, after a few months of blogging, your site might start to appear in the search engines for "kids and guns," and slowly people will start to find you, read your blog, and tell others about you.  If your content is relevant to this topic, and you blog consistently, readers might subscribe to your RSS feed or book mark your blog.

You see, it's not really about how many people are commenting on your blog-although it's certainly nice to get feedback. In the beginning, it's about creating content!  You know that saying, if you build it they will come?  Well, this is true, but you have to upkeep your blog by adding new content a minimum of once a week-otherwise the cobwebs will build up and no one will ever visit your blog.  Believe it or not, Internet spiders and crawlers don't like cobwebs either (bad Internet humor).
Top Ten Blogging Tips & FREE Tools
2009 Make it work for you
There are so many incredible blogging tools and easy ways to create a dynamic blog-below are ten of my favorites.  Remember to only tackle the items that make the most sense for you and your schedule. 

1.  Setup Google alerts for your keywords (five to ten).  This will help you research your topic, inspire you with new ideas, and also tell you what your competition is up to.  Remember, it's okay to share your findings with your readers, in fact they will appreciate it if you do all the research and become their number one resource for valuable content. While your at it, setup an alert for your name-it's good to know what others are saying about you.

2.  Join online content sharing sites like Digg. Here you will be able to find additional content. You can even post someone else's article to your blog, this is a function offered through the Digg membership, it's easy to use and a great way to populate your site when you are having trouble finding something to write about.

3.  Create a FeedBurner account and add a subscriber button to your blog.  This makes it easy for people to subscribe and you can track your subscribers too!

4.  Offer a ShareThis function so people can both share and bookmark your blog posts.

5.  Link your blog with your FaceBook account so your blog content posts directly into your FaceBook account, less work for you (it's best that your content appears in your blog first, so Google indexes your site as the originator-if your content appears elsewhere that's okay, but Google will not index duplicate content).

6.  Create a Flickr account to store your photos and link them to your blog-this way your photo files are stored on Flickr instead of taking up space on your server.  Another fun tool is called bookr: this allows you to create a photobook of flickr photos, but they appear as a flip book within your blog.  Very cool.

7.  WebResizer is a free online tool you can use to resize and crop your images for your blog and the best part is you don't need any fancy software, just log-on, create an account, and start editing. It's fun and easy. Be sure to optimize your images for the web so they load quickly-72 dpi is optimal.

8.  Google Analytics is a fantastic program that allows you to easily track the traffic to your blog pages.  Most hosting companies offer free traffic tracking as well.

9.  Social Networking:  mybloglog, Blogcatalog, and Blogarama are just three of the many social blog communities/directories available to you.  This a great way to increase your blog exposure and network with other bloggers.

10.  Avoid SPAM. Kontactr is a free contact form service that generates a form for you to embed within your blog; it can be used with any blogging software. This helps you cut down on the amount of spam that you receive. For bloggers using WordPress, there is a WP contact form plugin that's easy to use.

Ten Easy Ways to Brighten Up Your Site
bulb Bright Ideas
As another calendar year passes by, it's time to look around your site and clean out the cobwebs.  Here's a quick list to get you started:

1.    Don't let your URL expire, make sure you know when to renew your account.  Not sure?  Look it up using a Whois service.

2.    Is your copyright up-to-date?  People will often see if your site is updated and current by checking your copyright date.  If your stuck back in 2004, your audience may wonder if you are still in business. 

3.    Are you blogging?  Make the commitment.  Once a week is enough to make a world of marketing difference.

4.    Bad Links: Check your site for broken links. Not only do bad links annoy your readers, but they stop the search engine crawlers dead in their tracks-when a crawler hits a bad link they back out of your site and move on.

5.    Add new images: iStock.com is a great source for inexpensive images.

6.    Change your colors seasonally-don't let your site get stagnant.  Need some inspiration?  Try this out.

7.    Track your traffic to see where people are coming from, where they land, what they do on your site, and from which page they are leaving. Knowing the habits of your potential buyers will help you meet their needs.

8.    Offer monthly coupons that can be downloaded from your web site (notify your audience through your newsletter).  Constant Contact is a great way to manage your subscriber list, we use them for this newsletter.

9.    Update your media page: Do you need a new head shot?  Is your one-sheet up-to-date? Is there a press release you can send out to EzineArticles and post to your media room?

10.    Create an author interview video for your web site. Video is a powerful way to extend your reach and touch your readers profoundly.  We love creating video, check out our Author Book Videos.

BONUS:   Join FaceBook, Digg, and LinkedIn-all are great ways to network and increase your visibility.
If I leave you with one piece of advice, it is this:  Persevere, don't give up - blog, blog, blog! I know it can be daunting but the key is to not load yourself down with too many goals, pick a few that work for you and stick with them. Also - we invite you to call our office if we can help in any way.  We offer blog tips, blog training and yes, if you need someone to get you fired up about the exciting world of blogging and Internet Marketing, we can do that too.
All my best,

Jeniffer Thompson
Monkey C Media
Web Site WOW
cover Turn Your Web Site Into Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool
Your definitive guide to building a web site that sells. Jeniffer Thompson shares in easy to understand language, savvy tips and tricks that will turn your web site into a powerful marketing tool.

Limited Time Offer: $16.95

Order now and get the Web Site WOW book and E-book for one low price.  E-books will be sent upon receipt of order.
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Need to update your copyright? Are you ready to add a blog to your site? Looking to spruce up your look? Whatever you need, we're ready to help! We are offering a special $20 an hour discount
for web maintenance - regularly $85 an hour. So if you're ready to make some changes, now is the time-give us a call today!!
Coupon Code: 012jgt2009 
Offer Expires: February 28, 2009
Not Valid for new site projects or work currently in progress; discount applies to hourly work only.
Sylvia Hubbard
Author, Blogger and Founder of Motown Writers Network
NOW AVAILABLE: Secrets, Lies and Family Ties

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