Kumita tayo, kaibigan!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Panoorin muna po ito..

If You are Already Blogging, Money May be Just a
Click Away

If you already spend a fair amount of time blogging,
money may come to you literally as soon as you ask for
it. Once you have an established blog with a regular
readership, it is easy to turn a profit through advertising.
By hosting sponsored links or banners, you can see
income from your hobby almost overnight. Even if you
did not start your blog intending to turn a profit, making
supplementary income from your blog may be easier
than you think.

I speak with bloggers every day who have heard the stories of blogs that make big dollars and who want to try to make an income from blogging also. One of the pieces of advice that I attempt to convey (and I’m afraid it doesn’t always get through) is that it’s worth pausing, before running out to slap ads on your blog, to ask yourself whether making money from your blog is right for you.

While this might seem to be a silly question to some (what’s wrong with earning money?) I think it’s worth at least asking the question.

Make headlines descriptive.

Avoid vagueness and ambiguity in headlines. Readers scan down a list of titles in a feed, so the article title is telling of whether they’ll read the post. With millions of blogs and new content daily, readers have to skim, scan, and jump around just to keep up. Make it easy by clearly describing your post’s content in the headlines. Copyblogger has some excellent advice for crafting headlines. You can also entice readers with some copywriting techniques, such as asking interesting questions, making lists, stating paradoxes or contradictions, or just being exuberant.

Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog — Condensed from Dozens of Bloggers’ Experiences

I’ve been doing research on what distinguishes good blogs from poor ones, especially by reading “lessons learned” posts by bloggers. I’ve come up with 20 principles I think are worthwhile. Let me know which ones you agree or disagree with.
1. Pick a topic for your blog.

Pick a general topic you are passionate about, and stick with that focus as you post. Near the title of your blog, identify your blog’s focus so new visitors can know immediately whether your blog aligns with their interests. In the following image, the blog identifies its theme in the tagline and provides an explanation of the topic on the home page. Paradoxically, having a specific focus actually gives you more to write about. Like a novel, your blog takes on direction and purpose.

2. Encourage comments.

Allow comments, and respond to comments. Blogs are dialogues, not monologues. If you turn commenting off, you lose out on the Web 2.0 aspects of your blog. Comments enrich your thoughts and take you to a higher level of analysis. You benefit from the additions, corrections, tips, and other feedback from readers. To encourage comments, don’t require sign in. Activate Akismet and this math plugin to avoid spam. Add the Subscribe to Comments plugin so users can be aware of follow-up comments. When people comment, respond to their comments, and keep the dialogue going because this is what Web 2.0 is all about: connecting users to each other and sharing information.

3. Make it easy to subscribe.

Make it easy to subscribe to your feed by placing an orange RSS button in a highly visible location. Route your feed through Feedburner so you can keep track of your subscribers. You can also offer an e-mail subscription using FeedBurner. In the example below, subscription information is prominently displayed in the upper-right corner.

4. Include an About page.

Include an about page to let people know more about you. Are you a technical writer based in Seoul, a developer working at Microsoft, a Russian open-source business mogul? Your blog reveals your personal views, so introduce yourself to your readers. Don’t blog anonymously. You can include a photo in your About page — some think it makes you more real to your readers. Include some basic facts, such as where you live, your job title, your interests, and other biographical information. You may want to omit the company you work for, if content on your blog inappropriately reveals company information.

5. Present your ideas visually.

In this culture of scanning and clicking, long blocks of text aren’t read. Break up your text with visuals—graphs, charts, photos, blockquotes, and videos. Annotate the images to reinforce your meaning. Creating Passionate Users always reinforces its message with visuals. If you get photos from other blogs or from Flickr, include a link back to the source. Most popular blogs are visually rich.

Best Books for Bloggers

Best Books for Bloggers

Inspired by the popularity of my last post, 10 Gifts for Bloggers, I’ve put together Blogger’s Bookstore: my picks of the best books for bloggers!

In case you’re wondering, yes, I have every book on the list. What can I say? I’m a booklover and a blogger!

I used PopShops to build the bookstore, so my affiliate links are embedded right in there. If you decide to buy through me, thank you very much!

Where to find a blogging job

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is: can I make money blogging?

The answer is, of course, yes. You can make money setting up your own blog, writing about topics close to your heart, and earning through Text Link Ads, Google Adsense, or similar blog monetization techniques. You’ll have to work on publicizing your blog, though- and if you want to really earn money, you’ll need a healthy dose of good marketing techniques.

What’s easier? Blogging for someone else. Many of the big blog networks are always on the lookout for new bloggers, and they’ll usually take care of the marketing side of things. Here’s where to find the best blogging jobs:

How to Make Your Streaming Video Look Like TV

If you're lucky enough to have Mac running OS X, then here's a wonderful tool, to help add glitz and glam to your show. (And if you have a MacBook, or MacBook Pro, it already has a webcam built into the lid, so it's like having a TV studio where ever you go.)

It's Camtwist, a Freeware app by Steve Green. It's a virtual camera driver that can be selected just like a camera, and used as your recording or streaming source. It can take your basic "talking head" streaming video on Ustream.tv and make it look like a professional TV studio.

Camtwist lets you add things like chroma keys (green screen effects), picture in picture, scrolling text, RSS feeds, bugs (logos), pictures and slide shows into your program. It even lets you show your desktop, or present entire movies into your video stream.

Notice that I said Camtwist is a virtual device driver. That means you can stream 'any' video source into sites like uStream or into recording software like QuickTime. And that's what makes it so powerful. It literally becomes a broadcast studio, allowing you to switch between multiple cameras and video sources.

Download CamTwist for Mac OS X: http://www.allocinit.com/index.php?title=CamTwist

Go there and click on the 'documentation' link. Watch the intro videos there by Benjamin Higgenbotham. They'll give you an overview and help you get started. Then you're ready to download the software and have some fun with your Ustream.tv show.

Oh, one more thing. Here's an important tip. You can record 30 second QuickTime videos, queue them up, and have them ready to play during your uStream show.

Why? For several reasons.
1) In case you need a break.
2) You need to ban a spammer in your chat.
3) To monetize the stream with your own commercials.

Get it? If you have a show about dogs, wouldn't in make sense to play a commercial (with your affiliate link displayed) at the 8, 18 and 28 minute marks? Remember, once you add Camtwist into the Ustream mix, you have a full TV studio.

4 Ways to Attract FREE Traffic — With a Blog!

logging — both writing blogs AND reading blogs — has gone from being a "fringe" activity to one of the most popular pastimes on the ‘Net. In fact, blogging is now a global phenomenon. There are currently 112.8 million blogs in existence, with 175,000 new ones launching every day.

… But did you know that blogs are also a great way to drive traffic to your site?

Blogs, by design, are built to quickly and easily attract free traffic, whether it be from search engines or from a rapid influx of links. The moment you publish a post, your blog goes to work for you letting the world know that you’ve made an update - the search engines come running and you find yourself ranking #1 for keywords in no time.

Here are 4 ways to attract FREE traffic to your site using blogs (and 4 reasons why you NEED to start blogging):

1. Long-Tail Keywords

Instead of using only the most obvious or generic terms related to the topic of your post, focus on more specific words and phrases, i.e., long-tail keywords.

For instance, if you are writing a post about nordic skiing at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia, you don’t want to target keywords such as ‘travel’ and ’skiing’ which will put you in direct competition with Expedia.com, SkiNet.com and the like.

Instead, target "cross country skiing at Sun Peaks Resort" and not only will your post show up in a blog search, but it’ll soon rank in the top ten in Google’s organic listings as well.

Blogs are notorious for ranking high and fast for long-tail keywords. Over time with hundreds of these, the traffic is more targeted and far more valuable than having one "highly competitive" keyword.

2. Bookmark with OnlyWire

Onlywire is a service that allows you to automatically bookmark your post on well over 17 high-traffic sites.

It takes just a few clicks to do this every time you post. You simply click a button on your browser, type in a few keywords and hit "submit." Yes, the service is absolutely free.

Onlywire is a great way to not only attract visitors but to also get the search engines running in to index your new post.

3. Leave Blog Comments

One of the best ways to get traffic and highly valuable links in the beginning is to leave comments on other high-traffic blogs in your niche.

Finding these blogs is easy — either just search Google or visit Technorati and find the most popular in your topic.

A couple of key techniques to use:

A) Don’t use your name, use something catchy (or a keyword). When the post LINKS to your site, they link the "name field" — so as long as you use something enticing, you’ll get people to click.

Or you can use a keyword and that way you get more search engine recognition for the term you are optimizing for.

B) Don’t abuse this — You can easily find yourself blocked from leaving future comments. Leave a comment that is useful and shows that you read what you’re commenting on. Not only will this make the blogger happy but it’ll get you more traffic and credibility.

4. Involve the Press

Too many people have forgotten how great press releases can be for traffic — mostly because they don’t know the "right" way of using press releases.

The trick is to base your press releases on information that actually MATTERS to people.

The easiest way to generate the valuable content for press releases is to quickly poll your readers (or get another blogger to help generate the results). So long as you can get at least 50 people to respond, you can issue a press release with your new-found data.

The press loves data, readers love data — posts and press releases like this make their way around the Internet very fast.

The above 4 tactics represent less than 20% of the ways that a blog can generate free and targeted traffic to your website.

If you don’t already maintain a blog, you should seriously think about starting one up right away. It’s the easiest way to establish a solid online presence.

… And if you’re not sure how to go about setting up your own blog, don’t worry — we can help!

Earning in the internet? Watch the Video Below!!

A poster in a popular webmaster s discussion forum recently said that he is on-track to reach and even exceed -- seven-figures in revenues this year. That's a million dollar, folks, from a year-old website that does not even get a tremendous amount of traffic. According to the poster, the revenues are mostly from a combination of contextual advertising, affiliate programs and banner advertising. Just ads and no products!

Whether the poster is bluffing or not, the Web has truly revolutionized the way business is done. It is the most dramatic economic phenomenon of the decade. More importantly, it has opened doors to those seeking to start or grow their businesses. By creating websites, many have realized their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs; where the Web now provides either their full-time or part-time additional income. And yes, the Web has created many millionaires.

While the Web has brought fortune to some, there are many more people who can't seem to make the Web work for them. They join various programs, buy every possible business opportunities they can find, and create sites on a wide variety of topics all to no avail. All they earn is a couple of hundred a month, if at all.

So what are the ways to succeed online? Below is a list of some of ways you can ensure the success of your online business. Use and apply them to your own online businesses:

1. Give Value to Customers

Despite the Web being the "new economy," the old fashion business rule still applies: the most successful businesses are those able to create value for their customers. The website exists first and foremost to fill customers needs whether for information, a product or a service. You will only succeed if you give customers something that they want

The success of your website depends on the value that you give them. The more your site is able to make your clients lives easier or help them save money, the more your business will be valuable to them. It means not just creating an online brochure but guiding visitors how using your website can actually help them. Your site must have enough information for the visitors to make a decision and take the action you want them to take. If you are selling a product, provide a clear description of each product along with its features and benefits. If you are selling a service, the prospect must be able to get a price on the site or at least be given a phone number to call for an estimate. Your prospective customer must be able to get most of his or her questions answered on your site. Collect your client s questions and put them together in a FAQ page, or Frequently Asked Questions. This way, your visitors will get the answers to the most common questions asked on your site.

Many webmasters make the mistake of creating a website primarily to pull off the fast buck. Instead of creating a site where users could actually get value , they create useless spam pages in the hope of tricking users and search engines alike. This strategy, while it may bring short-term financial windfall to the owner, is not likely to be sustainable (search engines could punish the site and their revenue source could kick them out of their programs).

2. Focus on Win-Win Situations

The Web has shown that working alone is the fastest way to fall on your face. Search engines reward sites that are linked and recommended by quality sites. Successful online businesses enlist the help of other websites to promote their products through affiliate programs.

On the Net, you win if you are able to find ways to let others share in the wealth your innovations created.

3. Focus on Customer Service

The challenge facing every small business owner on the 'Net is how to keep customer service alive and well in a medium where personal interaction is inherently limited.

One way would be to keep your web site functional and personal. But how do you actually make a site personal, when your customers never get to see you or shake your hand, much less touch or see your product up close? Well, it all starts with your design and content, which should be based on a deep understanding of what your customers are, what they expect and why they actually need your product.

If you are selling quilts and handcrafted items, your site may be designed to have a very homey feel. Detailed text can explain the inspiration of the design of a particular quilt. If you are selling pillows made from balsam firs on the Web, your site may be designed to evoke memories of mountain forests and scents of pine trees. It is important that your overall look and feel must set the tone of your entire business. There is no need to go for the technological overkill and aim to become the trendiest site. Instead, your web site should be an integral part of your business plan.

4. Under-promise, Over-deliver

Customers love it when you deliver way more than their expectations. There is a lot of hype on the Web, particularly among the small Web entrepreneurs (ever seen one of those websites with extremely loooooong sales letters that are full of hype?). While those sites may be effective in drawing out the sales from the customers, many customers are left wanting given that their expectations were raised to the stratosphere by the sales copy. As a result, they are left with many unhappy customers. But if you underpromise to your customers (whether you are using short or long sales copy), and then beat out their expectations, customers will be pleasantly surprised and love your site all the more for it!

5. Tighten the Belt, but not the Service

Contrary to the dot-com s excessive and free-wheeling spending, you can run an Internet business on a tight ship. You don t have to hire a brassy consulting company to develop your Web strategy or to create your site (you can t afford them anyway). If you have limited resources, the key is to start small then slowly grow your way up. In fact, many online entrepreneurs launch their Web sites while keeping their daytime jobs.

Whatever your site may lack in terms of technological features, you can compensate for the quality of your service. While you may not have live customer service applications, you can answer customer queries through email quickly. Show your customers that you are willing to go the extra mile for them, even referring them to your competitors if you cannot provide their needs. Good personal service is the core that makes a company, and customers always appreciate that.

6. Design the Web Site for Your Customers

Although a well-written, well-designed Web site with great content can make a positive impression on your prospects, the design should focus around getting the visitor to take the action you want.

Think of your site as the Yellow Pages. Users checking the Yellow Pages are looking for a solution to an immediate need. Your site visitors may not have an immediate need, but he or she definitely has some interest in your site (or otherwise, the person will not click on it.) Now, notice why the Yellow Pages have remained popular with its users: it is heavy on content (the ads) but it uses minimal design. Adopting this strategy, your focus should be on improving copy and content that sell. Remember, the Web site is a means to an end -- and that end is making more sales. It's a waste of money to put up a site unless the site is designed to increase revenues or achieve some other marketing goal.

In creating your web site, your best resource is your customers. Seek the feedback of your customers and ask them if the site is working for them or not. Are they turned off by the requirement to register before using the site? Is the site confusing and hard to use? Are the graphics too slow to load? Is your search engine not flexible enough? Listen carefully to their comments, and adjust your site accordingly. See what works, and what doesn't.

If you are technically savvy, you can also establish a personalization option. Customers often want to feel like they belong in a community ­ a feature that Internet has fostered tremendously. You can allow shoppers to set up a customized page and receive recommendations and gift services from your store.

7. Team Up with the Right Partners

Try as you might, you may not be able to provide everything that your customers may want and need. You may want to be THE destination of all Web users for your topic, but it may be tough to achieve your goals if you have limited resources – limited manpower, technical capabilities, not enough writers, and too little time. As such you may want to team up with complementary websites (not direct competition) to boost your content, provide additional resources, and offer more tools for your visitors. Partnering with the right groups or individuals can help increase the exposure of your website, build its reputation in your industry, and move on to become the industry authority.

8. Focus on Creating a Brand

The most successful businesses have created strong brands for their products, such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Disney, McDonald’s, Mercedes, and others. On the Web, Google, eBay and Amazon also have built strong businesses based in part on great branding. These big businesses understand that an integral part of success is building strong brands – yet many small or home-based Web business owners feel that creating a good brand is way out of their reach. Effective online branding does not require big budgets, just an understanding of what brand attributes you are trying to build. By making every Web transaction brand-relevant and providing your customers with brand-based value, you will increase the depth and stickiness of your customer relationships.

9. Put on a Face!

Automation is the name of the game on the Web, but it does not mean that personal touches that will assure your customers that they are dealing with humans have gone out of style. In fact, customers are more likely to trust, use and patronize a Web site repeatedly if they know that they can communicate with a person easily. They want assurance that their orders will come through, their complaints will be addressed and their feedback will be heard. Many successful e-tailers are generating sales through click-and-buy (e-commerce) but a hefty percentage also comes from telephone calls after customers found the number on the websites. If your sales are done without the assistance of a live person, send out personal "thank you" emails, including a real name and phone number of their personal customer service representative so if there are any questions, they can call or email a real person!

10. Don't Predict the Future

One important lesson of the Web is that you cannot predict the future. What is hot today may be gone tomorrow. Take search engines for example: only about five years ago, Yahoo was the buzzword, then Altavista, and now Google. Who knows what will be the reigning search engine five years from now?

On the Web, it is simply hard to predict the next hot product or the next big use of an existing technology. The key is to be vigilant and flexible in the creation of your site and products. Take the long view of your business. Observe carefully if new uses of your products emerge. Get customer feedback on your site and monitor what the competition is doing. Forums and chatrooms are some of the easiest ways to check out what is happening on your industry and on the Web in general.

Kumita tayo, kaibigan!

Panoorin muna po ito..

If You are Already Blogging, Money May be Just a
Click Away

If you already spend a fair amount of time blogging,
money may come to you literally as soon as you ask for
it. Once you have an established blog with a regular
readership, it is easy to turn a profit through advertising.
By hosting sponsored links or banners, you can see
income from your hobby almost overnight. Even if you
did not start your blog intending to turn a profit, making
supplementary income from your blog may be easier
than you think.

I speak with bloggers every day who have heard the stories of blogs that make big dollars and who want to try to make an income from blogging also. One of the pieces of advice that I attempt to convey (and I’m afraid it doesn’t always get through) is that it’s worth pausing, before running out to slap ads on your blog, to ask yourself whether making money from your blog is right for you.

While this might seem to be a silly question to some (what’s wrong with earning money?) I think it’s worth at least asking the question.