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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Your Blog Archives

Your Blog Archives

Your blog will feature at most a dozen articles on your front page, and when users pay you a visit, that’s all they’ll see.  But once you’ve been blogging for a few days, you’ll have written posts that begin to scroll off the page to be lost to your readers and history. Or are they?  They’re not lost if you have an easily-accessible archive.

An archive is simply a collection of posts that are no longer displayed on your main page.  When someone comes to your blog, they are generally greeted by a page with the name “index.html” or something similar.  The index page displays the content of some of your recent posts, but each of those posts also has an individual name.  When those posts are archived, they are available through search engines – either on your site or across the web – so readers can find what you’ve written or presented in the past.  As your collection of posts grows, you’ll need to ensure that your readers have a way to easily find those prior posts, either through a search box on your site or through an object that allows the reader to browse either by subject or by date.

With your information and pictures archived, your site will be well on its way to being the kind of reference that people will read, not only to find out what you’re saying today, but to search out information you’ve shared since the first day you began your Blog Empire.

Your Blogs' Graphics And Images

Are Graphics and or Images Necessary When Blogging?

When designing a blog or blog entry, one of the immediate questions that will arise is whether it will demand a picture or image to give it “life” or “zest.”  If your blog is an art blog that will feature visual presentations, the answer is obviously in the affirmative.  But what if your blog is a political or technology blog?  If your blog’s content is mostly information rather than visual art, an image can occasionally help get your message across, especially if it helps to illustrate your content. 

In that case, an image, which will necessarily be small in order to fit on your page, can be hyper-linked to a larger version in order to give your readers access to more information or detail should they desire it.  In this case, it’s helpful to have the image open a separate browser so the original story remains in the main browser.

Images, like your entries themselves, should be consistently sized.  They do not have to be exactly the same, however, because not every image will be the same shape and should not be forced into an arbitrary mold, especially at the expense of proportion. A skewed image is generally worse than none.  However, it is important to avoid haphazard sizing, especially when you feature multiple images close together.  Images of vastly differing sizes will scream ‘unprofessional’ at your readers.

Successful bloggers will occasionally use humorous or “cute” pictures to illustrate content or to make a point.  This is acceptable so long as it is used only occasionally and does not detract from the image you’re trying to create for your blog.  It also provides a nice break for your readers if your content has been heavy, repetitive, or intense.  They deserve a break just like you do. 

A look at the successful political blogs, for example, will illustrate the acceptable use of images in blogs that seek to be taken seriously.  When introducing someone (e.g. a new musician or an obscure, state-level politician) to your readers, a small photograph is helpful, as it is in the newspaper, to give them a visual reference point.  When discussing documents, it’s helpful to present a copy of the document, either hyper-linked (.PDF files are best for this) or as a small .JPG or .GIF image.  Making your own illustrative notations on the images where appropriate (so long as they are done in a professional manner) will help to make your content even more original.

However, unless your blog is a humor blog, overuse of humorous or ‘cute’ pictures can damage your blog’s reputation.  Because you seek to be serious and taken seriously by your readers, it’s important to design every entry in a way that supports and furthers your reputation.

Of course, if your blog is dedicated to holidays or cheerleaders, then by all means, load it up with as many pictures as will fit on the page!

Hosting Images In Your Blog

When a small-time blogger or diarist finds an image that looks like it might fit his post, he’s likely as not to simply link the picture where it exists, leaving it on someone else’s server, but displaying it on his page like it’s his own.  For those who are not taking credit for the work, or whose blogs are not “professional,” it’s generally a non-issue.  However, occasionally an image will appear on their site which is not the image they displayed, but which instead informs all their readers of what they are doing.  It will say, in obnoxiously large letters that can’t be missed by the reader, “This person is stealing bandwidth.”  It’s not a reputation you want your blog to have, and many sites are creating technological locks that that display such warnings or keep people from doing it altogether.

Stealing bandwidth is, in short, linking directly to another’s site in a way that causes the reader’s browser to download others’ content as part of your page.  When a browser asks a server for a web page, the page points to the locations of other components of that page so that the browser can assemble it for viewing.  If every word and image your page displays is stored on your server, then the bandwidth used for that page load is charged against your account.  That’s fine; it’s your traffic and you should pay for it.  However, if some of those components are hosted on the servers of others, your bandwidth is charged against their account.  Once your traffic starts to grow, they will notice your theft and will be rightly upset with your practices.  The solution is to take responsibility for your own bandwidth by hosting your own images.

In addition to being honest business, hosting your own images allows you to re-size or reformat those images to fit your page.  While many blog programs allow you to do that when setting up the entry, unless you have physically re-sized the photo or image, the browser will be forced to download it in its original size and then fit it to the page.  This can cause slow loading times, which are to be avoided at all costs.

The final advantage of hosting your own images is that you know they’ll always be there.  As your blog grows in popularity and your archives spider their way into search engines, people will visit your prior entries as an entry point into your blog.  Those entries will also be linked to and commented on by others (remember, what you’re saying is important).  Ensuring that the images in your entries are under your control will eliminate the possibility that others will move or delete the images, rendering your entries less useful.  Of course, be sure to respect all copyright laws when copying or modifying the work of others. 

The easiest way to host your own images is to simply lease space from an internet service provider, uploading the images as you place them in entries.  Check with your current provider first: you may receive a significant amount of server space assigned with your regular internet account.  If you decide to lease space (and you’ll probably need to as your blog grows) be sure that the amount you have will fit the growth you plan for your business.

Copyright Content

Copyright Content 

You’ll take a lot more from the Old Media than just lessons on consistency, however.  If you have a news blog, you’ll take parts of stories that will set up your own commentary.  A technology blog may quote articles and experts speaking in interviews you did not give.  In other words, unless you’ll be presenting completely original work on your blog, you’ll have to deal with basic issues of copyright.  This book is not a legal guide, and we recommend you familiarize yourself with the basic issues of copyright before you copy another’s material - there are some very good blogs which cover the issue – but there are a few principles that can help you lay the foundations of a safe and legal Blog Empire.

The first issue is attribution.  The blog owner must always attribute the work of others to them and not to himself, even by default.  That means interviews, passages, and photographs found online are the property of others and their rights should be respected.  If you quote a passage of text, make sure you tell whence it originated (either through a link or a description) and be sure not to claim it for your own.

The second issue is “fair use.”  Americans may copy and distribute the work of others under the doctrine of “fair use” under certain legally-defined terms.  This generally includes short passages, and certainly includes passages that the user is commenting on.  For news and technology blogs, copyright is not as much of an issue as for other blogs.

However, if your blog is an art blog, these issues become complex enough that seeking competent legal counsel is a must.  Copyright law does not allow you to distribute, for example, .MP3 files from your favorite bands or the photography of your favorite artist just because you have the technical know-how to copy and upload them.

Also remember that copyright laws and issue differ from nation to nation.  Many people believe that they can get away with infringing the intellectual and artistic rights of others because the web is international.  However, as your blog is meant to been viewed by millions, you should respect copyright and work within your nation’s applicable laws if for no other reason than that your reputation as an honest business will depend upon it.

List Building Secret #4

List Building Secret #4 - Use Free Viral Ebooks To Get New Subscribers

Want to get thousands of new subscribers for your ezine without spending a cent on advertising and you've tried all the methods above but you still want more?

Viral marketing is the way to go! Writing viral ebooks that get passed around

Writing viral books is nothing new, but it's still a great way to get your newsletter noticed.

There are a few methods you can use when creating viral ebooks.

You can either create them as a free product, or charge for them and give people the reprint rights to the product so they in turn can give your product away while making some money in the process.

I prefer the reprint right route. The key here is tho, once the momentum of the first book wears out, write another and another and another and another! All in the same method, all with reprint rights and all with your newsletter subscribe from plastered in them.

The goal really isn't to make money from the sales of the book, it's to get more subscribers.

So again, find a group of publishers in your markets, let them know you created a new ebook with sales letter that they can use and plug straight into their website and give them a mailing promotion to use and tell them they can have the book for free and that they can either sell the book or the book and the reprint rights to their customers.

This is easy money for them and more subscribers for you!

Doing audio interviews with experts in your field also is a great idea to get more subscribers. I'm not going to get into how to create audio products as that's a whole other book, but interviewing experts over the phone and recording it on mp3 will get your newsletter splashed all over the Internet, especially in fields other then Internet marketing where people don't expect to get this much quality information for free

When you take marketing tactics from the Internet marketing field and apply them into other niche markets where they have never been seen before, you will get noticed more. Everything has been done in the Internet marketing field, we are all  immune to even the most brilliant marketing tactics as we see them almost everyday, but other niche markets eat these things up.

Creating audio interviews isn't hard at all equipment wise and finding experts to interview is a piece of cake.

Do you know how I find experts in any field almost instantly?

Well most FAQ pages at FAQS.Org/faq/ have who its written by and an email address for them. These guys are obviously knowledgeable in their fields, and they would make great experts to interview.

Tell them you want to interview them because you've read information they've written and it was great and you think your subscribers would appreciate the information.

Most will do this without charging you a cent if you are outside the marketing field, they will just get a thrill out of being interviewed.

Once you have these interviews, tell all the publishers you've been in contact with recently that you have this great set of mp3's just completed and you want to offer them for free to their lists.

Setup a section on your website with the download link to these mp3's and also put a subscribe form near them for your newsletter and you will be surprised how many people will sign up AFTER they listen to your mp3s.

Don't make is so these people have to sign up for your newsletter before they get the mp3s.

List Building Secret #3

List Building Secret #3 -  Offer An Outstanding Bonus Or Gift

I've had a problem in the past with offering freebies to get people to subscribe to your newsletter, but I also know it can work well, if done properly.

Why do I have a problem with it? Well I really want subscribers to be signing up for my newsletter because they want my newsletter not because they want the freebie im offering.

The best way to offer a freebie is to create one yourself and not something you have reprint rights to with 500 other people. You want it to be unique, and you want it to be something that plugs your newsletter heavily.

Do you know what makes a good bonus? Back issues of your newsletter!