One of the great features of the WordPress platform is the ease of selecting the first view your visitors see when they come to your web site. Some people choose to use a static page welcoming the visitor to the site, describing the site, or delivering some kind of call-to-action. Others may want to use that front page to highlight their very latest content. To make browsing recent posts even easier, many bloggers display just post titles and summaries in order to let the visitor see what their site is about. The following video walks you through these options.
I came across yet yet another reference to Steven Pressfield’s The War Of Art (I really will have to break the cover sometime soon). This most recent post I came across was at the Pushing Social blog, in a post called, ‘The Tale Of Two Bloggers’. I described a hypothetical couple of bloggers, each publishing on the same topic in the same industry, yet one developed a successful blog while the other didn’t. The distinction for the successful blogger was that she wrote for herself rather than her readers.
The analogy used in Pressfield’s book is of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the gym. When he’s in the gym, he’s following his passion. He owns that gym and uses it as a tool of his self-identity.
To an extent, this idea flies in the face of the concepts of SEO, keyword research, and publishing for an identified market. The idea is that if you create based on your true passion, that passion will show through in the quality of your work. The example I often use in my classes is the hypothetical cricket fielder who writes the world’s greatest book on the slip position technique. Even though it’s the greatest book on the topic, if people aren’t looking for that topic he’ll have a tough time making sales. Continue reading →
After recalling some glossy-eyed faces during the discussion in last class comparing free blogging platforms with self-hosted options, I wanted to bring in some additional guidance.
Many of the discussions comparing the WordPress.com and WordPress.org platforms very accurately describe the technical details and distinctions. Here’s one such discussion directly from the folks that run WordPress. However, many fail to address the differences in their respective Terms Of Service (TOS).
If you are wanting to create a blog for generating revenue, it’s important to pay close attention to certain distinctions on what’s allowed or not allowed. In general, if you use the WordPress blogging software from WordPress.org and host your own blog (yes, paying for hosting) you can advertise anything and everything to your heart’s content. Your particular hosting company may have specific terms that prohibit you from providing/selling certain things such as pornography or engaging in illegal activities, but these restrictions are not related to the WordPress platform itself. It’s very common for people to run all kinds of advertising programs and sell affiliate products on their self-hosted WordPress-backed site. Continue reading →
This is a question that comes up often, and indeed, is a challenge posed to professional marketers. While there are some advanced strategies for marketing commercial blogs there are some sound practices that will support any blog, even a local or hobby blog. These fundamentals are free and ultimately come down to creating a positive experience for visitors.
An blog post titled, The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging Success is posted at the Social Media Examiner (highly recommended for tips on using social media), and it outlines some of these fundamental concepts that go into creating a blog worth visiting. The ‘pillars’ are:
Plan your blog
Content – relevant, purposeful, easy to consume…
Design – make it easy for readers to engage with the site
Marketing – using keywords properly, staying on topic, and syndicating the content
Engage the visitors
Truthfully, each of these pillars could be a full course on their own, but it gives you an idea of things to think about. Keep these points in mind as you visit other web sites and think about what the sites do to either keep you engaged or turn you off.
Also remember that everything has a starting point. Don’t be discouraged by the high level graphics you see on some sites and shrink back because you don’t know how to do that. Content trumps everything, and if you have content that at least someone in the world likes, they’ll come back and maybe even tell their friends (i.e., on Facebook). And that’s the beginning of your blog community….