One of the reasons to choose a blog over a traditional website is the ability to interact with visitors via comments. However, you don’t have to activate comments. In fact, sometimes it’s a good idea to turn your commenting feature off. What are the Benefits of Commenting?
Many people judge the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive. And it’s true that an active blog does tend to draw more numbers. The more visitors and subscribers you have the more potential there is for profit. And an active blog is a fun blog.
However, commenting doesn’t always mean success you can have a very successful blog that doesn’t receive many comments at all. What Are the Options?
You can turn off comments – Many blog owners decide to turn off the comments completely. The goal for them isn’t to generate interaction but rather to establish credibility or to simply provide information.
You can turn them off, for now – Some other blog owners decide to turn off comments until the blog has a certain number of subscribers. Then they make commenting a possibility. This strategy can prevent the image of the lonely blogger and instead let you focus on simply providing quality content.
You can turn on the comments – Most bloggers enable comments. If you choose this option then consider:
* Installing a spam filter like Askimet
* Requiring people to register before they can comment
* Giving them the ability to link to their blog or website during the registration process
* Allowing an avatar or a photo
* How much time you have to reply to comments. It’s important if you allow commenting on your website to make it an interactive process. You want to respond to their comment or at least thank them for it.
* Creating content that motivates a discussion. Ask readers for their opinion. Say something controversial and start a discussion. Ask for experience or advice.
* Give CommentLuv. Consider using a plug-in that tracks and displays comments from others. It can really get the comment section of your blog active. In fact, this little plug-in can motivate more comments.
* Policies – Do you have a language or content policy? For example, do your commenters have to keep their comments PG for approval? If so, you will want to display your comment policy on your blog.
How does commenting play into your goals, purpose and vision? Make your decisions based on how you can provide the best blog possible. If comments aren’t a part of your user experience then turn them off. No one says you have to enable comments on your blog. It’s your decision. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
Have you ever wondered how other bloggers are making so much money? What is their secret? How can you make money with your blog?
Here are three ways you can make money with your blog.
Affiliate commissions. Many bloggers use their blogs to promote the products and services of others. They are affiliate marketers. You can create quite a successful business by choosing a blog topic that interests you. The more specific the topic, the better. For example, if you love reading mystery novels, you can create a blog that reveiws mystery novels. Each review could include an affiliate link so your readers can buy the book. You might also include ads in your sidebar that advertise ‘how to write mystery novels’, and writing programs. The foundation of a successful affiliate business is content and there is not better content tool than a blog.
Advertising Revenue. Many profitable blogs earn all of their income from advertising revenue. There are two ways you can earn money from advertising. You can participate in programs like Google’s AdSense. You simply sign up and paste the code on your blog. Google inserts the ads. You can choose the ad category so they match your visitor’s interests. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you earn money. You can also sell space on your blog. The more readers and subscribers you have, the more you can charge for ad space on your site. In the meantime, consider placing affiliate banner ads in the sidebar. This will get your readers accustomed to ads on your blog. It might earn you some additional income in the meantime. It may also help your readers visualize their ads on your site. You should also place an ‘advertise with us’ or ‘your ad here’ link somewhere on your blog so anyone who wants to advertise on your blog can contact you easily.
Your own products or services. You can use your blog to sell your own products or services. If we continue with the mystery novel example, you might decide to write a ‘how to write a mystery novel’ downloadable course. You can use your blog to promote your product and earn a nice profit. You could also offer manuscript critique services. You could help aspiring mystery writers get published while earning an income. Again, you can use your blog to promote your services.
Once you have established your blog and you are meeting your initial goals, it’s time to look toward the future. How do you want to grow your blog? What are the possibilities for doing so? You can add monetization methods. You can offer more value. Of course, you can also grow your subscriber base.
Here are five tips and strategies to help you grow your blog.
Get involved. Hopefully, in addition to posting on your own blog, you have been participating on other blogs in an effort to promote your own blog. If you haven’t, then you should definitely integrate this tactic into your blog marketing strategy. If you are already commenting on other blogs relevant to your industry then look for ways to become even more active. You can become a guest blogger. You could be adding a few more relevant comments to other blogs each day. By getting involved in your own community, you are more likely increase the traffic to your own blog.
Offer new value. Is there a way you can add more value to your blog – over and above what you already offer? For example, you might consider offering a free report, ebook or online course. You might find a few guest bloggers to help you round out the content on your blog and help provide more information for your readers. You can also mix it up and offer different types of posts like videos, downloadable checklists and worksheets.
Hold a contest. Contests are a great way to help drive traffic to your blog. Make sure, though, that the giveaway you offer is related to the topic of your blog. For example, if you blog about sugar gliders, give away a gift certificate to a pet supply store. When holding a contest be sure to spread the word. Tweet about it. Post it on Facebook. Ask others to help spread the word too. You might offer them extra entries for every person they refer that enters the contest. You’ll recieve more traffic because a lot of people will want to enter your contest. You’ll also gain new subscribers.
Network. The right connections can help change the success of your blog rapidly. Can you imagine if a prominent person mentioned your blog on their blog or show? For example, imagine what would happen if you have a blog about crafting and Martha Stewart mentioned it on her show. Networking can make a huge difference for your blog so get out there and meet people. Offer value and connect.
Add a method to monetize your blog. If you have already done so, super! What else can you do to make money on your blog? You can place a few affiliate ads in the sidebar or footer. You could join Google’s AdSense program. A little extra income can make a big difference.
The foundation of any blog is, of course, content. You can create any type of content that fits your needs and the needs of your audience. You can create video, print or audio content.
When it comes to print content there are many options including:
how to posts
pros and cons
You can also create checklists, blueprints, worksheets and may other useful items.
Audio and Video Content
If writing doesn’t fit the purpose of your blog consider creating audio or video content. Interviews are great in both audio and video format. You can also create how to video posts. If you are comfortable in front of a camera, video is actually a great way to create quick and relevant content. Make sure you have good lighting and sound when you record your video.
How do you come up with content ideas?
Creating posts that are consistently valuable and interesting can be a challenge. In fact, many consider it to be the biggest challenge of owning a blog. Here are several creative ways to find inspiration to create content.
Read. Read magazines, blogs and industry newsletters. Sometimes, just a headline can inspire a few ideas.
Social networking. Participating in social networking is a great way to promote your blog. Also pay attention to what others are saying. What information are they looking for? What problems do they have that you can discuss or even solve on your blog? Great topics abound on social networking sites…all you have to do is visit them and pay attention to the conversations.
FAQs. What questions do people commonly ask you? These can make for some great blog posts.
If you don’t know, then ask. Ask your readers what they want you to write about.
Organizing your content.
There are many approaches to organizing the content on your blog. You can wing it if you want to. You could plan ahead. Planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches. Consider sitting down monthly and planning out the content for the next month. Think of it as a brainstorming session. A good idea is to always carry a notebook with you. Ideas can come to you at any time and you need a place to write them down so you don’t forget them. If you can capture ideas as they come to you, it will save you time and energy later. Content is the most important part of your blog. You should spend some time deciding what kind of content you want to create. Develop a system that works for you to plan your content in advance. This will make it easier for you to sit down and write several blog posts at one time. You can schedule them to post and then spend your time on other tasks. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
You can, of course, blog about anything. However, when you choose a niche, your chances of becoming successful – and reaching your blogging goals – increase. Choosing a niche topic helps you find a loyal audience. It also helps you compete against other comparable blogs and profit. Here are some tips to help you choose your niche.
#1 What do you enjoy?
A blog is a long term investment of your time, money and energy. Therefore, you will want to choose a topic you very much enjoy. Make a list of the topics you enjoy discussing. Rank them in order of your most to least favorite. You might have a few items on your list or a great many. You can start with generalities like exotic pets, gardening, baking, etc.
The next and very important step is to narrow down your topic. For example, sugar gliders instead of exotic pets, organic gardening instead of gardening and gluten free baking instead of baking.
#2 What are you interested in?
Add to your list a list of topics you are interested in. For example, maybe you’d like to learn more about politics or investing. Wonderful! Again, list general ideas then narrow them down into specific ones. For example, a guide for beginners on how to invest in precious metals or the stock market.
#3 Explore trends.
Trends are a good way to tap into a growing market. When you are analyzing trends, make sure you capture something that is on the upswing, not on a downswing. You want the topic of your blog to have longevity.
Use social networking sites, media, and on trend websites to get started. You may also research industries you are interested in and look for their trends. For example, if you are interested in gardening, an up and coming trend is hydroponic gardening. You can even further narrow this topic down to indoor systems for small spaces.
#4 Keyword tools.
Use keyword research tools like Google Adwords External tool to help you expand on your growing list of niche ideas. The keyword tool can help you brainstorm ideas. They can also help you take a broad topic and narrow it down into niche ideas. Look for keywords and keyword phrases that have high demand numbers and low competition numbers.
#5 Research the competition.
Again, using the keywords tools or simply by searching online, you can find blogs that are currently covering the topics you are interested in. You might use these blogs to generate niche ideas for your own blog. Other blogs can be a great source of inspiration.
Once you have a healthy list of ideas, start narrowing them down. Consider who your audience will be for that topic. Research demand. Brainstorm ways you might differentiate your blog from others. Finally, consider the type of content you will offer. As you mull over these ideas, a few will stand out. That is when the serious research or soul searching can begin. Finding a niche is the best way to blogging success. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.