Out With AssociatedContent and In With Yahoo! Contributor Network

I loved the idea of Associated Content because of your ability to become your own writer, contribute something of value to the Internet community and make some money for it–that is until I realized I didn’t need this platform because I already had my own blog!

However, I joined anyway and decided to use the site as a platform for publicizing myself, which included the site you’re on now. It works really well too! I write a few exclusive articles for their site and it naturally points back to other related articles here. I make a few dollars from them and everyone is happy.

AssociatedContent.com Bought by Yahoo!

Back in May of 2010, Yahoo! announced that it was buying AssociatedContent for about $100 million and they did. That’s right around the time I joined, so I don’t really know what the site was like before, but I do know that Yahoo!’s presence at that time was very minimal. In fact, I believe the only real trace of Yahoo! besides a few mastheads here and there was the fact that you could log in using your Yahoo! username.

Anyway, as of recently, AssociatedContent has now been fully integrated into the Yahoo! Contributor Network which contains the following sites:

Yahoo! Contributor Network
Yahoo! Contributor Network

One site that I was sure would be part of that group was Yahoo! Answers considering that’s another HUGE contribution site from regular web users, but oh well.

How does this change things?

It doesn’t really change anything except that it probably outdates my previous article about AssociatedContent! Thanks Yahoo!! But, generally you can still join the Yahoo! Contributor network, write to your heart’s content and make money doing it.

My recommendation is to continue using the site even if you run your own blog. One of the ways you can publish content to Yahoo! is to publish it as non-exclusive in order to be able to “legally” have it in both sites.

I think one of the only downsides to having a site like this opened up to everyone and anyone with little or no oversight (and probably less now) over the content, you tend to get a lot of inexperienced writers/bloggers out there that either don’t have the proper knowledge of a subject or simply don’t have proper command of the English language to make the content worth reading. That and you have 1000 people writing about the same topic. In fact, Slate technical writer Farhad Manjoo said:

Associated Content stands as a cautionary tale for anyone looking to do news by the numbers. It is a wasteland of bad writing, uninformed commentary, and the sort of comically dull recitation of the news you’d get from a second grader.

Get Involved

Still want to be a part of Associated Content? Great!! Let’s prove the skeptics wrong by producing quality and unique content all while building up your professional image and portfolio no matter what career path you may be on.

Here are some things you should check out if you’re still interested:

10 Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Blog

All over the Internet, you’ll find lists like these and some are just basic, mindless collections of the same old ideas re-written to look new. While a lot of what you’d find on these lists are very obvious ways to increase traffic to your site, there are smaller details that you may not have thought about.

One such list I recently found was over at Espreson.com. I was reading through it and even though I was already employing about 9 of the ideas, I noticed that there were at least 15 new things I learned. How is that possible? For one, there were new angles on old games. So, what I’m doing here is I’m going to reiterate the same list, but add a few of the things I thought were missing. In effect, I’m updating it slightly since the original post was published back in 2007.

Top 10 Tips

10. Write some pillar articles. Your blog will mostly contain small to medium-sized posts about a variety of related topics, but pillar article is a big one. These articles should generally be larger content pages aimed at providing a wealth of information to your visitors. They are also not news-based articles as news posts have a short shelf life. Pillar articles will round out the content on your site and provide clearer focus to your overall agenda.

I recently became acquainted with a site called AssociatedContent.com that allows you become a freelance writer for their site. The biggest draw for me what getting my content in front of many readers all while pointing them back to my own site.

9. New content everyday. First off, let me say that you blog frequency should be decided up front and you should stick to it often. This doesn’t meant that you can’t start off at 3 posts per day and then drop to 1 per day and the change to 2 per day, but it does mean that you shouldn’t go 6 months at one post per day and then go 2 weeks without a post and then the next week is 2 posts per day and then nothing for a month and a half! Your posting frequency will never be perfect–I’m sure you have a real life!

The goal here is to allow your users to reasonably expect new content at various intervals. This is especially true if your blog contains of lot of project posts like you’re doing a 3 month test on Google AdWords and your posting your daily updates.

8. Get a domain name. There are countless blogs out there that a just sub-domains of Blogspot or WordPress and a lot of them are doing very well. However, getting people in the real world to see your site might be more of a chore than a pleasure. Having a great sounding domain name or at least one they can remember will ultimately increase the odds that it will be remembered. For example, I’ve noticed my domain kind of sticks with people because as soon as I say ‘ledfrog‘ to them, the first question is always “What does that mean?”. Once I tell them, they usually remember the definition and therefore the domain name. If all else fails, I have plenty of “backup” domains that I use as forwarders so depending on the person, I can give out the easiest to remember.

If you’re thinking of making it as a semi-pro or pro blogger, you may want to consider getting “YourFullName.com” so that way people who meet you and remember your name will inherently remember your blog. For me, I own BrandonHann.com and also Brandon.me even though I have them pointed to my other site.

7. Comment on other blogs. I can’t tell you how important this step can be. You literally have to see for yourself. As an example from my own experience, I posted one comment on one article with a link attached to my site and from that, I get about 80 hits a month. Of course this isn’t a whole lot, but imagine if you got that same result from 100 comments? That would be an extra 8000 hits per month! I advise you to comment wherever you can, but don’t spam anybody. Leave genuine comments that provide actual conversation and where applicable, leave a trackback (see next step).

The reason why comments work is because other bloggers can read what you thought of a post and if they find value in it, they are more likely to click through to your blog to see what else you talk about. This may then lead to them linking directly to your blog which again, brings in more traffic!

6. Leave trackbacks and link to other blogs. I wrote this post explicitly in response to the top 10 list on Espreson.com and I left a trackback and a comment on the original blog for this very reason. A trackback tells the other blog that you wrote about them or linked to a post on their site and most of the time will create a comment-link post that mentions this. Once again, this helps you because it creates a link back to your site!

Just keep in mind that blogs are supposed to be connected. We’re all a community here and no one site can provide you with everything you need to know. Help others out and they will help you.

5. Submit your site to directories. Back in the day Dmoz.org was IT. If you were listed here, your site was golden. It’s amazing to see that Dmoz still holds a lot of clout and being listed here is still a great benefit, but there are more options. There are even options that are specific to blogs. Adding your site to these lists is usually free and will provide two things: new people reading your posts and more traffic to your site.

My favorites: MyBlogLog.com (no longer in service) and Technorati.com.

4. Guest blogging. Many blogs out there allow visitors to write blog posts on their website to help further community interaction. Adding your own blog posts will obviously bring more traffic to your site, but it also helps build your reputation. However, all this depends on the quality of your content. Remember when your guest blogging that you’re a guest so follow any posting rules that the webmaster has laid out.

3. Add your site to Blog Glue. This allows you to add your site to a service that reads your content and makes recommendations of other blogs related to yours right on your content pages. The ultimately drives focused traffic to your site. For example, if you wrote an article about how to get links to your blog, the Blog Glue plugin will search other Blog Glue blogs to add related articles under your content. See below this post for an example. (Update: Blog Glue is the new name for Arkayne)

2. Submit your site to blog search engines. There are plenty out there. Do a Google search for sites that specifically focus on sorting out blogs and you’ll come across names like BlogSearchEngine.com, BlogTopSites.com, BlogDigger.com and many more. Remember, some will be better than others, but in the end, you just want to build your reputation and get your site’s name in the public eye whenever you have a chance. Every 1 visitor to your site counts!

1. Content, content, content. This is more of a grouping of all the underlying techniques from above, but the point is you need to have content and lots of it! Generally, you want your content to be similar in subject, but if you have a blog that covers a lot of topics or it’s your personal blog, you’re bound to have many types of posts. If that’s the case, just make sure your site flows.

This not only helps users find your content, but it helps search engines catalog your site better. Remember that linking of all types count. Google PageRank is based on things like anchor text, keywords, topic relation and more. Typically, the more content you have, the higher you’ll rank in the search engines.

Make money with Kontera

You may have noticed the double-underlined links on various phrases on my site. These are link ads that are dynamically generated through a service called Kontera. You may already know about Google AdSense and how it works by generating ads based on your page’s content, but if not, check it out now. Anyway, Kontera works very similar to AdSense, but I’m very excited to say that it’s much better!

Kontera doesn’t place ads in a single, static location. This is an important fact because there’s such a thing known as “banner blindness”. The term actually references a phenomenon where people will sub-conscientiously block out banner ads on a website. You probably noticed this by going to some website that has a banner ad on it and you skipped right over it to get to the content you were looking for. Well, unfortunately, the same thing happens to AdSense ad blocks and banners.

How does Kontera work?

  1. Page content – Kontera uses its patented software to analyze your webpage through the use of a small snippet of Javascript.
  2. Keywords – Every time a page is loaded, the script kicks in and dynamically creates ad links on certain keywords found within your page. These keywords are based on what advertisers are purchasing.
  3. Dynamic ads – Even though your pages have static content (things that don’t change), the Kontera ads are all dynamic (things that do change), which means that a page loaded by one user will have different keyword ads than the same page loaded by another user.
  4. Fresh ads – Because the ads and the links are generated dynamically, your users always see fresh ads no matter how many times they come back to the same page!
  5. Non-intrusive – The ads don’t show up right when a page loads; only the links do. This means that your webpage can appear to be completely ad-free! When a user sees a link they think they might be interested in, they hover over it and out pops a Kontera window. The user can then decided to click through or not. If not, the mouse is moved and the ad goes away.

Kontera vs AdSense

  • Placement – Adsense uses static ad placement which means your AdSense ads are always located in the same areas of your website and will stay there unless you move them. Kontera changes ad link placement every time a page is loaded.
  • Visibility – Adsense ads are always visible and can be ignored by simply not looking at that area of a site. Kontera embeds ads directly into keywords on the site and a user is more likely to click on a targeted keyword ad. Since the ad links appear on page load, they can show up just about anywhere each time.
  • Site restrictions – Adsense can be placed on just about any website you can think of–including spam and duplicate content sites. This reduces effectiveness. Kontera restricts websites based on strict guidelines and even page length. This increases effectiveness and welcomes higher quality advertisers.

My two cents

I’m not out to destroy Google AdSense and as you can see to the right, I still use it! However, I am already starting to see major improvements and response with Kontera over Google and I’ve only started with Kontera a few days ago.

My suggestion is to get and use both services for your website. Optimize your site with Kontera In-Text advertising now!

Google PageRank 101

This is an introduction to PageRank–a ranking system used on Google and starting to be implemented on other major search engines.

To understand PageRank, you have to understand complex algorithms and the relationship from one website to the next. In my previous post, we discussed a meta tag called rel=nofollow which is used to control and shape PageRank “flow” from one site to another. Now, we’ll go over what PageRank is and why it’s important to make your website stand out above the rest.

PageRank was created by Google co-founder Larry Page and although the name is perfect for what it does, it was actually named after Larry and not a web page. It’s a patented system of assigning weighted values (PR0 through PR10) to a set of hyperlinked documents, or in other words, a website. It’s used to distinguish important websites from less important websites and as you would imagine, the higher your PageRank, the more valuable your site is.

Back in the old days, the success of a search engine was based solely on how many webpages it had in its index. The more sites you can list, the better your results. Today, however, there are just too many sites to manage and it seems that there are at least 100,000 websites for every topic you can imagine. On top of that, the majority of these sites all contain the exact same content. This is because everyone wants a piece of the pie when it comes to making money online, but nobody wants to work for it. Sounds like the real world!

So, Larry Page decided that a search engine shouldn’t be focused on how many sites they can list, but what kind of quality these sites have. Of course, just asking people would be foolish because everyone has a quality site, right? The PageRank feature is such a powerful scoring system and in my opinion it almost encourages development. As an example, my site is a PageRank 2 site and I’m striving to climb up that ranks by providing a 100% original content site and to get backlinks from higher PR sites.


A major part of the PR system is backlinking. This is simply when a website links to your site. The following diagram shows a series of websites. The smaller the circle, the lower the PR score. When a lot of sites link to one site, the circle becomes larger, thus a higher PR score. In the example, Site B has a high PR because a lot of other sites like its content and have linked to it. We’ll discuss Site C in just a bit.

Getting backlinks is not always as easy as it sounds. I can write a whole post on this alone-I just might! Mostly, backlinks come from visitors who view your site, like something on it and link to it from their own site. Alternatively, a lot of webmasters will scour the Internet asking other site owners to trade links with them. One thing to remember is 100 links from 100 PR0 sites is worth far less than 1 link from 1 PR6 site.

PageRank Value

Looking back at the diagram above, you’ll notice that Site C only has one backlink to it, but it’s bigger than Site E which has more incoming links. This is because the one link that Site C has is coming from a high ranking site (Site B). What has happened is because Site B “likes” Site C, it has allowed its own PageRank score to flow into Site C. Of course, Site B doesn’t actually give it’s points away, but it has just told Google that Site C is worth looking at. At first, it seems like this system can be a little unfair, but if you think about it, it really helps to keep quality sites at your fingertips.

When you search for something, you want it fast and you want it right, so how else would we determine which sites get placed at number 1?

There are many resources out there to explain PageRank in much more detail, but I wanted to get you some basic information to help you understand just how important it can be for your site. I will be creating guides on how to get backlinks and to increase your PR score in the near future.

What is the "rel=nofollow tag"?

When it was introduced by Google, a lot of people were skeptical of it’s purpose. It is generally believed to have been created for the sole purpose of controlling how a website’s PageRank is shared among external links. As an example, if your website has a PageRank of 6, every external link you have on your site will get a piece of your high score, which means one link from you might be worth 10 times that of a single link from a PageRank 1 site.

Now, I don’t have all the numbers and nobody really knows for sure what the exact formula is, but that’s the general idea. Higher PageRank sites are considered “authorities” on their subject matter and are therefore granted with the ability to make other sites more important in terms of search rankings. The thought process behind this is that the high PageRank site is a legitimate site with actual, helpful information and in turn, they are rewarded for their quality contributions to the Internet. Google then realizes that if these site’s are going to link to someone else, they must be serious about it, so they allow the PageRank to “flow” to the next location.

What exactly is it?

The tag is used in a link such as this:

a href="https://www.ledfrog.com/links/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here.

It tells Google that this link can be followed (meaning the GoogleBot will go to that page and crawl everything there), but it does not have to take into account the PageRank score of the referring site. Other search engines take the meaning literally and do not even go to the site. I believe Ask.com is the only site that simply ignores the tag completely.

So, where does the rel=nofollow tag fit in? The first automated occurrence of this tag can be noticed on most blogs out there–more specifically, the comments section. It’s true, if you thought that by running around the Internet, posting comments on other blogs in hopes that all those website links were creating backlinks to your site, you were wrong (most of the time)!

There actually are two valid reasons for doing this to blog comments. The first one is obviously spam. I can’t even begin to tell you how much spam comments I get on my site each day and my site isn’t a high traffic site so far. Spammers in this sense will generate some very generic comments for a random posting on your blog and somewhere within the comment or attached to their name will be one or more external links. The second reason for doing this is that you might not want to be passing on your PageRank to sites that are completely unrelated to your site as this, in time, may actually cause your own score to go down.

My view on this is I don’t use the rel=nofollow tag on my post comments for two reasons. One, spammers don’t get through on my site. I use the Akismet plugin and it stops almost everything! When it doesn’t, the comment sits in queue and waits for my approval anyway, so what do I care? The second reason is that I feel when someone makes a comment on my site, they are taking the time to contribute an opinion of some sort and the sheer fact that they were even on my site usually means they run a blog that’s similar in content, so I give them some credit.

The rel=nofollow tag that was supposed to help with spam and the degradation of PageRank has now become a useful tool in the art of PageRank Sculpting. In the coming days, I’ll be going over more about PageRank and SEO tips to maintain control of your external links.

I recently found a blog post that discussed this topic more in depth, including a blurb about the opposite for no-follow called do-follow. If you want to read more about these tags, check out Jack Nguyen’s blog post.

How do you get links?

Getting those links that will pay out the oh-so-important “link juice” can be a difficult task. I wrote an article describing 10 ways to increase traffic to your blog and while these tips will most certainly pony up the links, one thing to remember is link building takes time. The normal way of doing this is a perfect balance of creating great content that other sites will link to automatically and getting out there and literally trading links.

However, there are services out there that can help you build your links. Professional link building services can save you the time and frustration of having to go out all over the Internet and round up links by yourself. They can also tailor linking campaigns specifically for your website–something that you may not have the time to do. This way you can guarantee that the links you’re getting aren’t simply random, unrelated websites.

Ultimately, as enough time passes by, the amount of links that your website obtains will grow. As long as you keep creating great content and providing services and information that people want, your site will grow as well.

Using Arkayne to bring focused traffic to your site

I discovered a new, free service that you may have already noticed on my site, but didn’t even know where it was coming from. I’m talking about a new form of link building that actually makes sense. It’s called Arkayne and the two best things about it are: it’s free and it integrates with WordPress. Getting quality backlinks has never been easier!

I found them during my search for a plugin that would display related content on my blog posts to help link my site together because we all know how hard it is to keep our visitors on our site and if they don’t actually search for something, they may never see it! All I was looking for was a feature that allows me to write a blog post and have the plugin run around all my previous posts and display some links with related tags and/or keywords.

I can’t tell you how awesome this service is, so you’ll have to take my word for it.


If you don’t have a few minutes to spare to finish the video, this is basically what it does. You have an account profile on their site that you use to promote your site plus your social networking account which include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You then add some basic information about your site. Over on WordPress, you install the free plugin, insert your custom API code and let the magic begin!

In time, Arkayne will read through your entire site and essentially index your content on their site via links in your account. This makes you searchable to all Arkayne users. What will happen is people on the site will find your blog and if they deem it interesting and/or useful, they will click on Recommend and you basically have a “follower”. You, in turn, will also recommend blogs you find interesting and useful. This is a very useful tool for link building, which will get those coveted backlinks your site needs.

As time moves on, all of your posts will start to generate related links to other sites in the network and those sites who have recommended you will have your link show up on their posts. So just like other ranking sites, the more people that find your site useful, the more sites your links show up on.

Beyond that, you still get the feature I was originally looking for and that is this plugin will scour your site looking for related content that you’ve posted and place those links as well. You can even set how many links of each type are shown, from 1-5. You can see below that I currently have it set to show 3 of my links and 4 outside links.

The site appears to be running with a small amount of users so far (or least in the searches I did), but I have a lot of faith in this site due to it’s nature. Of course, only time will tell.

Join Arkayne Today!!

The power of 'autoblogging'

Whether you know it or not, the key to the success of your blog is post consistency. Imagine if you went to MSN.com every time you opened your browser and for three days straight, you saw the same news stories, videos, etc. Would that make you want to go back? Probably not, and for your visitors, this is more of a reality! You’re not MSN, you don’t have the manpower or resources to be MSN, so you have to work especially hard to keep your visitors coming back.

Welcome to the power of autoblogging! What this is, is a simple plugin that you install within WordPress that enables you to configure automated keyword searches throughout the entire Internet and have content posted directly to your blog. No longer do you have to try and fit consistant blog posts into your busy schedule!

Although I don’t use this plugin on ledfrog.com, I do have a couple of other blogs that I use it on and I can tell you first-hand, this thing is amazing! It’s almost like I have a full-time writing staff constantly updating and adding new things to my site. The best part is that I can control everything such as when the posts appear, how many per day, what topics I want to include, etc.

Advantages of autoblogging

  • Your blog populates content about whatever you choose based on keywords
  • You determine post frequency
  • You can customize the actual post times
  • Content is fresh and always sourced from the latest articles online

Just the first reason alone makes this software worth it. But, this software is EXTREMELY powerful as you can imagine and you want to be careful about how you use it!

DIS-Advantages of autoblogging

  • Your blog can become “polluted” with recycled content
  • Some keywords can pull up mis-information (i.e. you want in article on Windows 7 and it pulls up an article about 7 different window treatments you can buy for your home)
  • Since the content is not entirely original, your blog can suffer in the rankings if you don’t add your own content
  • You will become a lazy blogger!

All-in-all, I love auto blogging software because I do it the right way. I’ll have it scour the Internet for me, grab a few articles and once they’re posted, I’ll go back into them and write up some additional notes or commentary. However, I never use content from any other source without given the original author credit. For example, in every single case where I might use someone else’s content, I’ll post a backlink and some very obvious text that clearly states I’m not the creator of the content.

Doing this will ensure that people know you’re not copying content and information just to try and rank higher in the search engines.

My advice is if you want to increase your post frequency, but you just don’t have the time, use PowerAutoblog and let it build your blog for you!

There’s a limited time offer (ONLY $47!!) on this software, but you’ll have to act now to get it. I’m kind of upset really, because I had to pay $150 for this when it first came out!

Download PowerAutoblog Now

Writing a press release

When you hear the term, you might get the impression that this form of media exposure is intended only for the “real” businesses out there and people like you should stick to the YellowPages. The reason for this thinking stems from the fact that people mistake press releases for sales pitches. In reality, a press release is a form of newspaper advertising used to generate buzz around your business and/or product.

A press release can be a sales pitch, but you don’t want it to sound or look like one. The idea is to give an editor something to write about. Newspapers couldn’t exist without news and they’re reporters don’t always get the stories because they happened to be caught in the middle of it. So, let’s bring the story to them!

This guide will focus on HOW to write a press release. Finding out where to send it varies greatly on who you’re sending it to. Generally speaking, you can send a press release alone as nothing more than a one-page writing or you can go all out and develop a full press kit. More on this later. Right now, let’s get into the creation of your first press release.

The easiest way to do this is to break apart a standard press release template and focus on each section. A standard template I recently found online looks like this:

Top Section/Headline

The very top is self-explanatory as you can see. Simply start with some professional letterhead for your company or website and begin thinking of your headline. This headline should be written just like you see in a newspaper and should grab your attention just like it too. Keep it short and concise. Again, remember that you don’t want to come off as promoting your business. Use the headline to offer the best part(s) of your story. Pretend that you know the editor is only going to read the headline. He/she needs to know right from the start what this release is going to be about. Formatting tip: the headline should be in all capitals.

For our example, we’ll be writing a press release for a webhosting company. As we go along, I’ll show you a good and bad example for each section.

A bad headline:


A good headline:


Body – Introduction

This section is known as the lead paragraph and its goal is to provide a more detailed description than the headline can offer. This paragraph should condense the entire story into an “introduction-style” format that enables the editor to gain a firm grasp on what’s about to be told. Use this section to speak the facts and stay far away from lies, exaggerations and sales pitches.

A bad lead:

A new webhost named Serverocity.com, which offers the lowest priced webhosting plans anywhere and is regarded as a top webhost has just announced that they will be offering no bandwidth limits on their already extremely valuable webhosting plans.

A good lead:

The Internet is a changing forum. Today, websites are packed with more and more content-rich media such as music, videos, Flash and web applications. While the Internet has evolved, hosting providers have not. Anyone who operates a website knows how expensive it can be if their website goes over its bandwidth limit. To top it off, these sites can be shutdown for the remainder of the month until the counter is reset. A new hosting provider seeks to change this. Serverocity.com has recently announced their plans for providing webmasters worldwide with no bandwidth limits every webhosting plan. According to John Smith, the CEO of Serverocity.com, web hosts need to wake up and realize that limited accounts will no longer “fly” in this new wave of Internet technology.

Body – Bulk

The rest of the body is used to reiterate the text you wrote in the lead paragraph. This is where you dive into all the little details of your story. Use quotes from people that express a concern that your business is addressing and/or quote other articles that can also relate to your claims. Ideally, you want to provide credible backup to your claim. Of course you still want to remain concise, so don’t overdo the quotes or you may not sound legitimate. If you’re offering particular services, try not to make this section look like a flyer, but if you can integrate the information with related sentences, you can get away with it.

For example:

…and Joe, from Cnet.com says, “I can’t believe the amount of overages I pay every month!”. Serverocity has gotten fed up with webmasters that share the same sentiment. Because their plans have no “overages”, nobody feels gouged.

In the above example, I was able to make a specific claim about my business’ service, but you can see how well it fits into the previous quote.


‘boilerplate’ is an old term that defines a block of text that is continually used over and over. It referred to an unchangeable section of text that could be used on printing presses. Right after the body, you are now free to discuss more clearly what the business is with details such as when did you first open, who founded it and what the overall purpose is. This, again is not a sales pitch–it’s simply a short paragraph that talks about the business.

Bad boilerplate:

Serverocity.com – the world’s leader in webhosting services. We offer 5 hosting plans to choose from that will fit well in anyone’s budget! Stop by our website today or give us a call now. We can work with you on any number of specific addons or needs that you require.

Good boilerplate:

Serverocity.com was founded by John Smith in 1998 and is home to thousands of websites. Serverocity also offers free web design tips, how-to guides and industry news through its website and monthly newsletters.

After the # # #

The three hash symbols simply means “no more copy”. In other words, anything written after this line is not part of the release and should not be considered part of any reporting done with this document. After this line, you would want to put some personal information like:

To receive more information on this subject, please contact John Smith at: 555-555-5555 or to request an interview, please contact press@serverocity.com

That’s it! You’ve just created your first press release. So what should you do with it? Start sending it to your local newspapers or if you can offer a service nationwide, send it everywhere you can. It costs nothing more than postage to send these out, so as many as you can get to, the better. Of course there’s no guarantee that anything will get printed, but that’s ok. If you do get printed and your business benefits from it, then you just got more customers and didn’t have to pay much for them!

Promoting your new blog

You now have a blog up and running, you have your own domain name and you have your ideas for original content. Now what?

It’s time to get some readers and hopefully turn them into subscribers! Naturally, your blog will get picked up by the major search engines, but the question is how long will that take and once listed, how long will you last? To increase you chances of becoming popular, start with the content of course and begin using the tools you already have in front of you.

Social Networking

You might already be a member of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, so start promoting your website there. Of course you don’t want to hound your friends every five minutes to look at your site, but you do want to display your recent additions whenever you can. For Facebook, get the WordBook plugin installed on your blog and let it do the work for you!

WordBook will seemlessly connect to your Facebook account and post a note to your wall that links back to your blog’s entry. This way, when you write something on your blog, your friends will know right away what it is after reading a small excerpt and then they can click through if they like what they see. In time, you may start to notice backlinks appearing for your site. More on how to get links to your site.

You can add all your Twitter tweets right to blog using downloadable widgets to show your web visitors what you’re twittering about and in turn, you may end up with a few more followers.


Create a signup form on your site that allows users give you their email address in exchange for daily/weekly/monthly updates. Don’t slack on this one! If you promise a weekly newsletter, make sure you have one! Once your readers start to see that you’re not updating your site, they will lose interest fast.

SEO Firms

These companies will charge you a fee to optimize your site and they often promise certain results based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Although I will say “be careful”, I don’t mean to imply that these “results” are impossible to achieve. I’m just saying that some of these companies are less-than-reputable and even though you might see a huge spike in traffic at first, you could end up ruining your web image down the road.

Anyway, what they do is go over your site and offer information on how to create better pages, how to correctly use keywords, titles, descriptions, images, etc, etc, etc. In theory, the idea is to get your site looking great for your users and even better for search engines.

A word to the wise–all of the information that you will pay someone else to tell you and/or do the work for you is available for free on the Internet. I might actually be creating a section just for this topic!


You know all that free stuff you get at conventions and concerts?! Well to you and I, it’s all about the free t-shirt and a lot of stickers because we obsess over “free” things. But if you turn the tables, you’ll notice that the company giving it away couldn’t be happier that you’re wearing their t-shirt. After all, they don’t have to pay you to do it and you’ve now become a walking billboard!

You can do the same thing for your website. Make up some cool products you can give away with your logo on it and start handing them out. Or maybe you can run a contest on your site. How about giving stuff away to everyone who signs up for your newsletter? Of course, this costs money to you, so you want to make sure that the stuff you give away is actually something that someone is willing to wear or use.

By the way, for those of you that don’t know, SWAG has been defined as Stuff We All Get.

Print Advertising

This one is more relavent for those of you who actually provide a service or product, but anyone can use ‘free press’, right? Don’t underestimate printed materials just because you think they’re antiquated! A lot of people still read them and the best part is that it’s printed material. Printed materials often get much better exposure than other forms of advertising.

Take for example a tv commercial. If your commercial plays once on tv, you were only able to show your ad to the amount of people that were watching that exact channel at that exact time. Let’s say that number was 10. Now take a print example: a newspaper or magazine. One copy can lay around a home or office for weeks and be read by everyone that happens by. Even if that one copy only reaches the same 10 people, imagine what hundreds of thousands of copies could do for you?!

Press releases in a newspaper are a way to not only announce your new business, but promote it at the same time. Contact your local newspaper to find out more about this. More on writing press releases.

Trademarking and copyrighting

Let’s clear this up first. A copyright is an implied right to one’s creative work no matter was field it’s in (music, literary, art, etc.). A trademark is an implied and/or expressed right to one’s mark of trade (business name, logo, domain name, etc.)

How are they different?

A copyright is immediately “issued” once a work has been completed. There’s nothing special you need to do to get a copyright. It’s already done. In fact, this page and for that matter, this whole site is copyrighted to me, since I wrote every single word in it. You could go a step further and registered copyrighted work(s) with your local government, but this usually costs money and is nothing more than just a hard copy publication of your creation.

In today’s world, even posting online can warrant you a copyright and as long as you can prove you’re the originator, you’ll be fine. Now if you’re writing songs, I’d go get it published. You wouldn’t want your music to be copied by someone else after posting it on the Internet.

Trademarks are implied when they are first used and there’s no law stating that you have to register it with the federal government, but it does have more value if you do. Take for example my name and logo. Right now you only see a TM icon. This is my implication to the world that the name “ledfrog” and the logo I created are the marks of this website and represent my online venture. In time, I will have this registered and the TM will change to a ® symbol.

What this will do for me is prove that I have taken the necessary steps to ensure my name and logo belong to me and cannot be used by anyone else without my permission.

How are they relavent to my website/blog?

This all depends on how you look at it. First of all, as mentioned above, anything you write on your blog is already your copyrighted property (including images that you created). You don’t have to travel down the trademark road unless you want to further secure your case against any would be thieves.

If you’re building an online image or brand, I strongly advise you to explore your options about getting your brand trademarked if you’re serious about it. I’ve compiled a list of how this will help you below.

How do I get trademarked?

The first thing you want to do is declare your trademark by marking your logo, images and name(s) with TM symbols and/or copyright notices. And remember the date you start this because this will be your “First date of use” for your application.

The next step is to decide what product class(es) your trademark will cover and take note that each class you choose costs $275 to register. For example, when Coca-Cola registered their name for their soft drinks and the glass bottles they put them in, that was two registrations (mainly because their bottles were specially shaped).

At this point, you should head on over to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and review as much information as you can about the process before submitting the lengthly application. I am no lawyer and if you’re concerned about any of the information I’ve given you and/or the application process, I advise you to seek one out.

There are many places online that will walk you through the setup and they are much more qualified than I am.

Pros and Cons

I have created a basic list of pros and cons for you to peruse, but by no means is this list exhaustive.

Pros Cons
  • Greater legal protection in court against trademark infringment
  • National recognition and usually international recognition
  • More professional image
  • Ability to license your brand’s usage to others
  • Protection of your company’s assets
  • Not cheap–costs $275 per class of goods
  • Process can take about 6 months and there are no guarantees of successful registration
  • No refunds if the registration does not go through
  • No automatic renewals or reminders–you must monitor your trademark manually

As you can see, there are more positive reasons to trademark your company’s assets. Above and beyond all, you’ll own a valuable stake in your own company and/or image. By the way, you can own a trademark personally or as a company.

Now you just need to figure out if you’re going to register a corporation or not!