BLOG stands for Better Listings On Google!
By Benu Aggarwal
Wednesday, 26th December 2007
What are Blogs? A Blog (also known as weblog) is essentially software or an online service that allows you to quickly post your thoughts and interact with people etc.

Sort of like an interactive online journal. Blogs are web pages which typically consist of time stamped, frequently updated links to news items and websites.

Blogs can also be short for Web Logs – simple, templated websites that enable people with no technical knowledge to publish on the internet. The word blog is short for web log and refers to a website written in a diary format, with regular entries, or posts, by the blog author. Blogs can cover any topic and can even be written by multiple authors.
Perhaps the best way to familiarize your self with blogs is to read one.

Bloging has developed into an online publishing tool used for many purposes - traditional journalism, personal diaries, collaborative journals, digital note-taking, topical group discussion forums, and hybrid combinations. Blogs are also considered the perfect formula for the ultimate high-ranking page in Google!

So Why Blog?

• Blogs are updated frequently and visited often by Search Engines
• Blogs gain PageRank quickly
• Blogs easily acquire an abundance of inbound links
• Blogs are content-rich and topic-focused
• Blogs can attract an intensely loyal readership
• Blogs Establish Credibility and Trust

Running an online business on the cold, anonymous and impersonal internet is a real challenge to the entrepreneur. How can you persuade your website visitors to take out their credit cards and buy from you? How do you gain their trust and build credibility in their eyes? The answer is Blogs.

When you blog, you allow visitors, prospects, and customers who read your blog a chance to know you, to interact with you. It's a chance for you to build a relationship, and to establish credibility and trust with your visitors, subscribers and potential customers. As we've mentioned before in our articles – the most important asset in your business is Credibility and Trust!

How it can help your business?

FastLane Blog is one of the best examples of a business using a blog to promote itself. GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz writes about cars (particularly GM cars) and the auto industry in a candid and interesting way, and his blog has created a huge following.

Let's face it, most car buffs don't have much reason to check out the GM corporate site everyday, but they do tune in regularly to hear what Bob Lutz has to say about cars (because he says it so well). As for Lutz, he gets to interact directly with his consumers, link to GM's official website, and promote GM and their products. Blogs work!

Blogging for Traffic

The second most important reason for blogging is search engine traffic. Search engines love fresh content. Every time you update your blog, "weblog trackers" get notified that your site has new content. Then, within 24 hours or so, the search engine spiders will come crawling.

What Do Blogs Look Like?

Blogs tend to list the most recent post at the top of the page, with the posts getting older as you scroll down. This tends to be a model of what your readers will expect, and most blogging software is configured this way.

A typical blog post includes a title, the body of the post, optional images, the date and time of the post, a permalink (or permanent link to the post), a comment link for readers to leave their feedback, and a trackback link (which we'll cover in a moment).

What makes blogs different from other websites?

There are a few important ways that blogs differ from traditional web pages. First, blogs are designed to be frequently and easily updated. Creating a new blog post usually involves nothing more than entering some text into a form and clicking Submit. No HTML or programming skills are required.

This is great from a search engine point of view because search engines love frequently updated pages. If a search engine finds that your page is being updated every day, it'll return to re-index your page every day to ensure that it always has the most recent copy of your site.

What's a Ping? Similar to RSS feeds, pings automatically let people know that your blog has been updated. It alerts the weblog trackers that you've added new content to your blog. The advantage of pinging the weblog trackers is that you're telling the blogging world, and more importantly, the search engine spiders that monitor these services that you have fresh, new content. This will bring them to your blog – and from there, you can lead them to your website.

What's a Trackback?

The fact that a good blog creates large amounts of frequently-updated and topic-specific content plays a huge role in helping blogs rank highly. However, the single biggest current advantage blogs have over traditional websites may come from a technology called the trackback - when you link to someone else's blog post, their blog post automatically links back to you.

Choose the right blogging software . . .Here are some software you can use to create your blog. Blogger by Google, Movable Type, WordPress, BlogHarbor, and Radio UserLand.

Three Steps to Developing Powerful Blogs

• Know your audience, choose your topic and write interesting content. You only get one chance to make a second impression.
• Make sure your site feed is clearly visible. Most blogs will have a little orange icon somewhere on the page. This indicates the link to their RSS feed. Adding this link to your RSS aggregator will allow you to subscribe to their blog.
• Make your blog posts do double-duty. Your best blog posts can be rewritten or expanded slightly to function as articles, which can then be submitted to article directories such as EzineArticles. Getting your articles in these directories not only supplies you with a new source of traffic, but you'll also get a link from every directory your article gets listed in. This can help your site rank higher in the search engines.

Optimizing And Promotion of Your Blog For Search Engines

Submit your site to the major blog directories and services. There are a number of sites you can use to promote your blog. Some of these sites are directories that will list your blog for free, and some are blog search engines; some rank blogs according to popularity and monitor the activity of various topics in the blogosphere, and others are online services that will send out notices to various sites around the Internet whenever you ping them to let them know your blog has been updated.

Submitting/promoting your site to these services when first starting out will give your blog a big boost when it comes to traffic and ranking well in the search engines. Some of the popular blog search engines and directories are: Technorati, Feedster, Globe of Blogs, Blog Search Engine, GetBlogs.com.

Note: Adding your blog to many of these services means adding the address of your blog's RSS feed, not the address of your blog. You may have to search around to find it. Typically, if your blog's URL is http://www.your-blog.com , then your RSS feed would look something like http://www.your-blog.com/index.xml.  On Blogger, the feed URL is usually the link behind the little orange box.

A Few Additional Things to Remember While Promoting Your Blog

• Create a list of keywords for which you want your blog to be found and
make sure to use those keywords in your blog posts.
• Make sure each post generates its own page. Post frequently.
• Read other blogs and comment in them regularly. Most blogs have a feature that allows readers to comment on a particular post. Usually, this comment feature also allows the commentor to include a link back to their blog.

Remember, by finding other blogs that interest you, and posting your own comments, you not only get a link back to your own blog, but you'll also make people aware that your blog exists. This is the winning formula for boosting your blog's traffic and readership!

The Boost of Business Blogging

Creating a business blog is an effective and easy way to communicate directly with your customers. Blogs don't just add a unique, personal touch to your online business, they give visitors a reason to visit your site again and again. This loyal traffic translates into more and greater business opportunities for you!

Any business can tremendously take advantage of blogging. Just remember, your blog is an extension of your business, so don't blog lightly! Once you post something on the internet, it's out there forever. Make sure it's something that you actually want to be read by complete strangers before you blog it!

About the Author: Benu Aggarwal is founder and president of Milestone Internet Marketing, experts in creating complete internet marketing solutions for the lodging and hospitality industry. Please contact Benu at benu@milestoneinternet.com   

Some portions of this article is taken from the Planet Ocean Newsletter written by Esoos Babnar and some from RSS Made Simple.
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