Tag Archives: Blogging

5 Tips for Effectively Branding Your Blog

Branding. It’s a word you’ve probably heard quite a bit about. It is no longer enough to simply throw a blog on the web and write some posts. You need to build a name for yourself. You need to earn your reputation as someone the public can turn to and trust. The reality of the situation is that it is not just your blog that needs a good brand. It’s really all about you.

Simplicity is Key

You’re going to need to start by making sure your site’s domain is short, sweet, and easy to remember. Say, for example, you want to create a site about how much you love cats. Let’s call it Cat Lover. Your domain should be just that – catlover.com. The term “cat lover” is very easy to remember and you will need to use that identifying tag on every single social media site you encounter – from Facebook to Twitter and on. You should be THE cat lover people think of when they think of their own cats.

Stop Making Stuff Up

The world of marketing changes every single day, but our vocabulary is pretty set in stone. Don’t make up a new word to describe an idea or process we should already be familiar with. It may seem catchy to you, but it is confusing to the rest of the community you’re trying to reach. Stick with familiar terminology and try to avoid using buzzwords as much as possible. Otherwise, you’ll simply be remembered as that “odd” site I stumbled upon and not the genuine expert I was hoping to find.

Start Guest Posting

Guest posting is an incredible method for branding yourself and your blog. You’re going to start by going to some of the site owners in your own niche. In this case we’re still talking about cats. Hopefully you’re already a fan of a few cat-related blogs. You’re going to approach those owners and ask if you can write a guest post for your site. Many blog owners are open to guest posts and by writing one of your own you are doing two things. First, you are putting your name out there as an expert in your field. Second, if your lucky you will get a backlink to your own site in the process.

Build a Social Media Presence

Earlier we mentioned making sure you are using the same name across all of your social media sites. Now’s the time to talk about how important it is to have a presence on social media. Did you know that Facebook is currently competing with Google for the top ranking as a search engine? People spend tons and tons of time on social networking sites, talking to friends and searching for information. You need to be where the people are. You need to have professionally designed pages that are active and up-to-date, allowing you to communicate with followers, build a reputation, and send readers back to your site.

Create a Logo

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a logo that stands out in the eyes of your viewers. Once you have that logo, make sure you are consistent with the design, fonts, and colors in all of your marketing materials, websites, social media profiles, and even offline items like business cards. People who consistently see your logo will begin to associate it with you.

These are just a handful of the things you should be doing to brand yourself and your blog. Make sure you are taking some time to think about the way you are portraying yourself online. The message you send will make or break your business.

Corinne Dominski is a huge fan of communications and social networking. She also loves using sites like Adecco USA temporary staffing services and online faxing services to make communicating with others just a little bit easier.

Bloggers Worst Enemy?

I was going to say that carpal tunnel was the worst enemy to bloggers, but Jeff already chose that for his post, and so I will select John Chow (not linking him, go search him out) as the worst enemy to bloggers. Sure, it has been done many times before, and picking on John, who I’ve met and is a great person, seems kind of silly, but let me explain why.

John Sells the Dream

One of the biggest misconceptions still out there regarding blogging is that you can make a bunch of money overnight. John earns $1000 per day from his blog, and he built that little empire in a year, so anyone can do it, right?

Well, not quite. Even if you took all of the same steps towards building and monetizing your site as he did, you would still fall quite short in terms of traffic, fame and revenue. Things have changed online and I highly doubt anyone could copy his steps to get to the same point in the same amount of time.

John, also rarely adds valuable content to his site, with a strong mix of paid reviews, affiliate program posts, and a variety of content on his own life. These posts really only help to earn him more money without providing much content worth remembering and serves to only persuade people further that what he does is easy to replicate.

I hear, “I could blog about food and weird products all day too” and shake my head. If only it was that simple, then everyone would be doing it.

People have long since forgotten that “if it is too good to be true, then it probably is” and this rule holds even more true online than any other medium or communication space before it.

John Chow is a blogger’s worst enemy. He shows the world a slanted picture of what it means to be a blogger, and is probably solely responsible for many horrible blogging trends online.

Focus is Hard

There are many people that don’t understand what I do for a living. They assume that I can start and stop at any time, and that I am free to go with them to do the things they want me to do. They don’t understand my long hours or why I need things to be structured a certain way, but it all comes down to focus.

If you want to succeed at working from home and making a living online, be it from blogging or something else, you need to have focus, and you need to find ways to make others understand that the focus to do your job well isn’t easy.

Right now my focus is really messed up. My wife is only working casually right now which means she is hope a lot more. I am used to her working between eight and twelve hours a day, and so having her home all of the time has absolutely destroyed my normal daily flow and disturbed my focus immensely.

It isn’t that she is always bothering me, or getting in my way, but she does take advantage of the fact that I am home, no matter how plainly I explain to her that I need to work. She doesn’t understand that I need to take many short breaks between projects to unwind, as well as having uninterrupted periods of time, sometimes for many hours, where I can be productive.

Without being able to focus on my work, certain extra projects that I used to have time for fall by the wayside. Everything takes longer because I am not getting into that “groove” where I reach my peak productivity, and certain tasks that would normally take me three or four hours, now seem to stretch on for an entire day, only making me feel more stressed, further behind and a little annoyed.

It definitely makes me want to have an office outside of home, and it is taking a huge amount of time to re-adjust how I get into my focused state so that I can produce quality content in a timely manner.

So if you have been wondering why this blog has been a little slow lately, now you know. If anyone has any tips to increase my focus, work from home while the wife is home and making the most of such close quarters, I would love to hear them. Please let me know in the comments below.

Question: Reviving a Dead Blog

So, I am not sure how to go about this, but I need to know what everyone thinks. I have a few blogs that I have let fade away, but I really want to revive them, and over the next two weeks especially, I feel like I have the time, energy and hopefully continual focus to make them part of my daily routine.

Do I just start writing on them again and act like they never faded? Do I give up on them, and start again fresh without any of the baggage and the apparent break in posting? What do you think? What is the best way to revive a dead blog?

Let me know in the comments below.

Organizing a Blog Post

So many people have a hard time hashing out blog posts in a consistent and efficient manner, and so I wanted to take a minute to talk a bit more about my own system which I have found can decrease the time between starting a post and publishing it.

The Idea

The first part of posting is to come up with ideas. I sometimes find it necessary to just start writing down words related to my industry and working outwards from there. After coming up with a few different ideas, I bring certain main points together as a single post and I have a fully conceptualized idea.

It can also help to see what other people are writing about. Do you have an opinion? Look back and see what was interesting to people a year ago, two years ago. Have things changed or are they still the same? Some of my favourite posts by authors are the ones where they compare/contrast two different products or two different time periods.

The Questions

Everyone knows about who, what, where, when, why and how, and these questions are infinitely more important when getting ready to post on a blog. They are especially useful when you don’t know everything, and can come up with things you’ll want to research to include in the post.

For example, if you are doing an article about a car company you could easily add information about who designed their main cars? When did they perform the best? How well has the public received their cars? Why are they producing cars with bigger engines than another company? What do you see them dealing with over the next few years?

The Research

Don’t take too much time researching, or you can get bogged down in what others have said. For longer articles, you shouldn’t be spending more than an hour researching for a post. This can be one of the longest time sinks in creating an article. Don’t spend time writing the post as you research, or you can get sidetracked, and unable to create proper flow in your article.

For any niche you should be able to, over a period of time, pick out a few resources that are consistently useful for research, and that will save you massive amounts of time. Try not to stray from these main resources too often, unless you aren’t finding the answers you need. Too much variety, and you can land into information overload world, where nothing productive ever happens.

The Post

The amount of time you need to write an article always depends on its length, but now that you’ve come up with an idea, answered some questions, and completed your research, the words should flow from you. Don’t worry about what you are writing, as you can come back after you are done and edit. The hardest thing I ever learned was not to self edit as I was writing.

As paragraphs are written, your mind will come up with other things to say, and usually, if you are properly prepared, the article will flow together nicely.

You should easily be able to tell how long your article is going to be by this point, and don’t try to push it too far beyond that point, or you’ll find yourself adding useless filler. Brevity can be just as important as details, but with the attention span of most people dwindling, shorter is most likely better.

The Call to Action

After you have written, and edited the post, I always suggest going back and adding in a call to action. It might be a question at the end of the post, links to further reading, or just a simple request to have people comment. You are much more likely to have people act upon what they read, if you ask them to.

I enjoy asking people to comment. I want them to know that I’d love to see them participate if they have any thoughts on what I’ve written. Some bloggers put in affiliate links, strange questions, or a list of other articles they have written along the same lines. These can all be important to increasing the longevity of an article online.

The Pretty Additions

Now you are ready to add in links, images, proper text formatting of headings and whatnot. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will add some pizazz to your article. Don’t give it too much time. You can edit articles after they have been published, but no one can see the content until it is published. Far too many people play with formatting for so long that the information that they wanted to share becomes stale.

I take the time to set proper headings, bold certain lines of text, italicize what I think would work best, work on the coding for my lists, and insert block quotes at this point.

The Publishing and Promotion

Once everything else is complete, publish. Your articles don’t do you any good unpublished. Get them out into the world. Feel free to edit them after the fact, or to write whole new articles giving more details, or adding onto your original points.

Don’t forget to let the world know about what you’ve written. Don’t be shy. People are hungry for new content, new ideas, and new perspectives, so find a way to get your work to them. The best thing a writer can receive is constructive criticism on how to improve, so open yourself up to that.

Conclusion

If you are trying to merge all of these steps into one, you might find your articles taking forever to craft and it is fairly easy to see why. There are so many areas between crafting the idea and publishing that breaking it down is really the only way to remain consistent and efficient.

Post inspired by Tom Leroux, check out his blog Leroux.ca.