VYou.com – Video Responses To Life's Questions

In the NEVER-ENDING quest to socialize online, expand your reach as a blogger or to become an internet star, VYou brings together the desire to post videos online with that of providing opinions on everyday questions from everyday people.

The premise is simple…ask a question of someone and get a video response back and/or find questions already being asked and create your own video response. In either case, VYou is providing a large database of searchable answers to topics of interest. As a user of some other ‘answer’ sites like Yahoo! Answers or Answers.com, I actually find this service to be pretty damn cool. While most of the questions I’ve watched so far seem to be merely opinions, there are a few people who consider themselves experts in various topics and do provide detailed responses.


Just like any respectable social networking platform out there, VYou offers the ability to follow other users, create status updates and link your account to Facebook and Twitter. However, the entire service is all about videos. This means that instead of posting savvy one-liner status updates to your wall, you’re actually posting videos. You can no longer hide behind your keyboard!

On a technical side, VYou is highly portable in that you can embed your videos and/or entire profile just about anywhere. There doesn’t appear to be an official WordPress plugin, but given that the videos are embedded using a simple iFrame, there really doesn’t need to be one. What’s really cool is that because these videos are short and to the point, you can embed them directly into your articles without having your visitors sit through any fluff or advertising. As an example, I’ve posted a video answer here for your viewing pleasure.

That’s pretty much it. 🙂

My Two Cents

I have yet to record my first video, but so far I like the idea of this site. As an example of a serious use of this site, I was thinking how cool would it be for politicians or other people with clout to be able to sit down and record a series of short video answers to questions that all us regular people send in. Google+ has Hangouts, but it can be a process to set everything up and even when it’s all live, you still only get 9 people max in the session.

Celebrities can use the service to reach out to their fans. While Twitter and Facebook offer ways to do the same, the video response is far more engaging than simple tweets and Wall updates.

Dashes, En Dashes, Em Dashes and more Dashes

Commanding your chosen language is essential to everything your blog is and will be. Poor grammar, mis-spelled words and inappropriate use of words will not only make your readers confused, but it can also damage your reputation. Throughout history, these bad traits have made writers seem uneducated or just plain dumb.

Today, I was dealing with an issue that I’ve often wondered about, but never really took the time to figure out. I was writing in Microsoft® Word and I wanted to use a “double-dash” which I knew to be an element that allows you to separate two very distinct phrases, but not distinct enough on their own to create two different sentences. Naturally, Word will do this for you if you type in the two dashes and continue to your next word. My question was simply, when do you use this dash and are there any other variations. I was surprised to learn that there was.

Hyphen ( – )

The hyphen is your standard dash line that you can use to separate compound adjectives, verbs or adverbs. Some examples of proper usage are:

This site runs on an Linux-based server.
Creating a WordPress-powered website is easy.
The German-designed car was much faster.

Hyphens can also be used to separate proper names as well as any other wordbreaks that may be required.

En Dash ( – )

For some reason, you can’t see the length in the title, but the En Dash is slightly longer than a hyphen and is used to show range between something. For example:

The Lakers beat the Heat 91–87.
The Los Angeles–New York flight was about 6 hours.

The reason it’s called an En Dash is because it’s approximately one ‘N’ long. To get the En Dash to show up in HTML, the code is – or –. In Word, you have to click on Insert → Symbol. The En Dash can also be used in conjunction with hyphens too, such as in:

Dual-core–64-bit processors are much faster than 32-bit–single-core processors.

Em Dash ( — )

The longest of the dash family is named accordingly due to its size being that of about one ‘M’ long. As previously mentioned, in Microsoft® Word, this symbol is created when typing in two hyphens together. In HTML, you can get this by using — or —. It’s used to separate parenthetical elements that tend to be abrupt.

This is contrary to commas, which separate parenthetical elements that are not abrupt. Some examples of proper Em Dash usage:

The cake—with chocolate sprinkles and all—was amazing!
There were many people at the reunion—most of which were old classmates of mine.

My two cents

Great writers aren’t made overnight and even though some people have a knack for their native language, anyone can become great at writing. The first step is to be aware of how the language works. Avoid slang and other non-conventional ways of writing. Learn how to spot errors and always, always proof-read your work before posting! I think one of the biggest mistakes bloggers often make is that they write with their audience in mind. While that is great strategy for topical content, it’s not a good move for grammar. In other words, just because your Internet audience often types like this: “hey u, wats up? hows ur day been goin so far!?” doesn’t mean your blog should reflect that same style.

What can BlogGlue do for you?

UPDATE: BlueGlue is no longer in service. Per an email I received yesterday, the company running BlogGlue has decided to shut down the service and seek some sort of buyout. It’s possible that this service could be resurrected under a new owner, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It was fun while it lasted! I’m leaving this article up for historical purposes, but will be removing all outgoing links. This was the email sent out to all users:

BlogGlue Closed

Original article:

Just over 1 year ago, I joined a little known website called Arkayne. I even wrote about how to drive focused traffic to your site with Arkayne being the central topic. The purpose of Arkayne was to enhance your blog’s presence by connecting the posts you create with other blog owners who write about similar topics. It was such a simple concept; one that has helped my site grow in ways I didn’t think were possible. Today, Arkayne is now BlogGlue and their concept has remained simple, but has become much more powerful.

For me, blogging isn’t about ranking high in search engines or making thousands of dollars a day selling useless information or products—it’s about sharing ideas and providing valuable information about the things I know with people who want to learn. Of course, if I made thousands of dollars doing this, that would be great, but I don’t intend to sacrifice quality for quantity. This is where BlogGlue really helps out.

BlogGlue Partnerships

The give and take process of BlogGlue starts with a recommendation. As you browse the ever-growing community of blogs, you’ll start noticing many websites that share some common interests with your site. As you click through each one, you can choose the ones you like based on how well they complement your site and submit a recommendation.

The site owners you recommended are then notified of your recommendation and have the option to review your site. If they like what they see and recommend you back, you both become partners. At that point, your blogs are linked.

The plugin

The BlogGlue plugin on your site will add Related Links at the bottom of each post. It gets these links from your partners, so it’s important not to just add every partner under the sun to increase your count. Your site, your partners’ sites and your visitors will all benefit from these partnerships.

The process works both ways as well. Your links will start appearing on partner’s sites in the same location. This is the main function of BlogGlue and it works really well! The more partners you have, the most choices the plugin will have in pulling quality content. And as you would imagine, if you don’t like a particular site’s content, simply delete them as a partner and their links will never show up again!

When writing a post, the plugin also offers some instant help with basic SEO tips. After you saved your first draft, you can click the Test Now button and see exactly what you might be missing and how you can improve the page’s optimization.

The costs

There are three service plans available.

  • Free – $0.00/month – You accept up to 5 partners, but you can have unlimited recommendations. Your site content is limited to 200 pages/posts.
  • Basic – $9.97/month – You can have up 15 partners and still have unlimited recommendations. Your site content is limited to 1000 pages/posts.
  • Unlimited – $19.97/month – You can have unlimited partners and unlimited recommendations. Your site content is limited to 5000 pages/posts.

The best part about these plans is that you can grow into them. Start out free and as you start to notice your traffic increasing, just upgrade instantly to the next plan. At some point, your site will be getting hundreds or thousands of hits a day and the unlimited plan will be needed, but you’ll likely be making money at that point!

There are no contracts, hidden fees, cancellation charges, upgrade charges, taxes, etc, etc.! What you see is what you get.

My two cents

I’ve been using BlogGlue for over a year now and I can tell you just by looking at my stats, they have helped my site grow almost 300% and the numbers continue to rise as I become partners with more and more quality blogs. Their customer support has been super gracious and exceptionally fast with any issues I’ve had and I haven’t had many…that’s for sure.

I can’t say enough great things about the operation they’re running over there. Check them out over at www.blogglue.com.

Proper Grammar and Presentation

Writing a blog or creating a website can be easy when you know what your subject is, who you plan to approach it and how often you’re going to update, but if there’s one thing that can grind your hard efforts to a stop, it would be grammar and presentation.

Among other things, grammar can make a huge impression on your professional image and ultimately make or break your site. This is especially true when you’re selling things online. Imagine if you were buying from a online retailer and their site was loaded with spelling errors, incorrect product descriptions, wrong prices or just sloppy command of the site’s language? I’m fairly certain you would be less likely to buy from them if you had a choice of purchasing somewhere else.

It’s not just grammer, but your overall presentation. I was watching a video on YouTube about just this subject and it brought up a great point about presentation. The example was about online retailers who all share the same generic item description, so if you’re shopping, you might see the same product on thousands of different sites with the same description, price and everything. At that point, what’s going to make your decision on who to buy from?

Don’t let a visitor’s decision to be narrowed down to the name or even color of your site! Let them see your site as the more professional. Chances are if you’re selling products online, you’re going to be selling something that is out there more than you can imagine, so the best way to stand out is to create a better experience. Besides, Google is aware of the massive amounts of duplicate content out there, so give them a reason to rank you higher than the rest of these sites. You wouldn’t believe how little changes to your site can affect your search engine rankings.

The same rules apply in the real world. I guarantee you’re more willing to buy a tv from Best Buy than you are from a van in the parking lot. Ok, that was an extreme example, but you get the point!

Put some time into your site. Your visitors will notice. Nobody said it was going to be easy to manage a site, but if you really want to bring yourself forward in a sea of millions, that’s the only way you can do it. At least initially. As time goes on, you’ll gain more power and leverage, allowing you to accomplish more with less.

How to write perfect web page titles

Ok, so perfect might be too strong of a word, but the point is that most people mistake the title of a particular web page to be the same as the main title of their site. Unless ALL of your web pages have exactly the same content on them, this is not the case.

I like to think of it like this. Let’s say you’re a book publisher called Ledfrog Publishing. You want to publish three books with these subjects: ‘making money online’, ‘how to play the game of soccer’ and ‘how to make a website’. Now you want to title them, so naturally you come up with “The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online”, “Playing The Game of Fútbol” and “Create a Website in 10 Minutes”. These are all great titles because people would know exactly what they’re getting into just by looking at the cover. What you wouldn’t do is name them all “Ledfrog Publishing”, right?

If that came so naturally to you, then why are you making simple mistakes when naming your webpages?! I’m not yelling at you, but I am here to help! For the record, the reason people make these mistakes is because they think of their website as being one giant book and therefore, as long as they name the site correctly, every “page” within should follow a natural order.

Well this is true if everybody who came to your site stopped off at your homepage and then navigated through it page by page from there. However, I can almost bet that most of your traffic comes from a search engine and visitors likely found it by clicking on a keyword they searched for. What this means is that they landed at your site on some random “page in your book” and unless they click on something else, they are completely unaware of your site!

So instead of your site being a giant book, think of it as being the publisher and all the books are the web pages within. This will help you think of creative (and valuable) titles for each page.

I found a great guide online for creating titles and I wanted to summarize the process here. Remember that search engine optimization is extremely important to your site and it will dictate how much traffic you get.

What is a title?

Go to Google, do a search on anything you want and when you look at the results, you’ll see the blue titles that provide the text that’s closely related to your search. Try a few searches and even switch the keywords around a bit. You’ll notice that the results drastically change based on a few changes. This is because one site or another has written a title that better matches your search query. A title rests within the HTML code and is often overlooked by a web designer.

How do I write an effective title?

Read your page before you post it online. Read it twice if you have to. Start extracting keywords that summarize that page and write them down. You can even write down the most commonly used keywords. Once you have a nice list, start creating 60 character titles that match those keywords. Don’t just list them. As a helpful tool, search for high-ranking sites that have similar content and see how they’re naming their pages. You don’t want to copy them, but get an idea of the format.

Remember that you will be ranked for the words you use in your titles. If you start adding words like: about us, contact me, home, etc. you’re going to be ranked for those words first and not for the content of your site. This is another reason not to name every page the same as your site’s title.

Why do some sites consistantly rank high?

As with all other SEO tips, no one trick works alone. You need a combination of great titles, original content, good keywords, backlinks and regular updates to keep your site ranking high. As a result, some sites hit the nail on the head for more than one SEO category and that usually explains why they’re always at the top.

There’s really not much to it once you change your thought process on what a title’s function is and how it relates to your page. The goal is to show the usefulness of the page to Google and your visitors. The last tip I can give you is take a look at your titles and ask yourself if you would click on your own site if you saw it pop up on Google.

What is Google AdWords?

Fair warning: this is an extreme beginner’s guide to AdWords! You can skip this one if you know what it is.

If you’re running a business, or if you’re following my blog, you’re getting into Internet marketing, you need to use AdWords! It certainly isn’t the only way to market your products, services and/or offers online, but it does allow you to compete for ad placement within Google and we all know how large Google is.

The operative word is “compete”. Another form of marketing is to place an ad on a well-known site that has large amounts of traffic coming to them, but they may charge upwards of $1000 for the monthly placement of your ad at the top of their page. There’s no competition and your ad shows everyday all day for the duration of your time slot. No competition for placement=large sum up front.

Another problem with this form of marketing is there’s no guarantee that those click-throughs are going to convert to sales on your site unless the site you chose has very targeted traffic that can relate to your site.

Who pays for these ads?

You do. Inside your account, you bid on keywords that people search for. As an example, your business is selling car parts. You bid $0.25 on the keyword “cheap car parts”. If your bid is the highest amount, your ad will appear at the very top search results page. So rather than battle it out with the thousands of other sites out there ranked high in search results, you can pay to get placed above them (and to the right side). These are the links you find under the Sponsored Results section.

Why bid for placement?

Ideally, you want your ads to be right in the face of web users searching for items that you’re promoting. There are two ways to do this on Google. First, build a high-quality site that has tons of links to it from other related sites and you’ll be ranked very high in the standard search results. Second, bid on keywords to put your ad right up top. The bidding process ensures that the thousands of businesses bidding for the keywords are ranked according to how much they’re willing to pay rather than at random.

Will my business revenue increase?

It should, but it may not. At this point, the toughest part of running a business is locking in sales. It’s easy to get people to call your number or visit your site, but what you do with them at this point is entirely up to you! When it comes to sending people to your website (or landing page), you have to “sell them” fast because if they don’t like what they see, they’ll move on faster than you can imagine.

How much should I spend?

Consider this answer to be part of your advertising budget. Once you have decided how much you’re willing to spend on advertising, this answer becomes clearer. AdWords allows you to set maximums on your account for things such as daily spending limit and bid amounts. Going back to our previous example, you can set up a $0.25 bid on “cheap car parts” and then add a maximum spendeture of $25 per day, so Google will keep showing your ads again and again until 100 clicks have been sent through ($25.00/0.25=100). This way, you can leverage your funds across many different keywords and be able to control your spending. I’ve known some local businesses to spend thousands per month on keywords.

My ad is at the top, but nobody is clicking…

Marketing can be tough and the market is tougher. You have to create stand-out ads so people will notice you and see a unique quality about your business. Think about if you were shopping for car parts. What kind of ads would you click on and what kind would you not click on? Utilize those thoughts and partner them with being concise and direct to create the best ad.

How do I get started?

Go over to Google and sign up! It’s free to join, but once you start adding money and running campaigns, you’ll be charged a $5 activation fee. Obviously, after that, you’ll be paying for the ads that you buy. Before you sign up, take a look around the Internet. A lot of times you’ll find promotional deals where you can get free money to put into your AdWords account.

What is Google AdSense?

Fair warning: this is an extreme beginner’s guide to AdSense! You can skip this one if you know what it is.

Anybody and everybody who runs a website needs to sign up for Google AdSense. You’ve all seen the ads strewn across just about every site you’ve been to on the Internet, maybe you’ve clicked on them, maybe you just don’t even notice them.

It’s even possible that you’re under the impression that the people who run the site just put them there to try and offer you some pointless service or product in hopes that you’ll shell out tons of money. The reality is that these ads are not chosen by the webmaster and they do not make you pay large sums of money when you click on them.

The great thing about Google AdSense for both the webmaster and the company doing the advertising is that the ads are picked based on the content of the page you find them on. So as an example, if you’re reading a blog post about cars, the ads you’ll see are related in some way to cars. These can range from companies advertising car washes to car parts or to buying a car in general.

For visitors, this enhances the user experience in that they can view related offers, services, products and information based on the things they’re already looking into.

For webmasters, this enhances CTR (click-through ratio). What CTR simply means is how many times someone clicks on a link. Going back to our example about cars. If you posted a blog about cars and then manually inserted an ad about how to get a free trial of NetFlix, your visitors are less likely to click that ad because NetFlix has nothing to do with cars. This produces a lower CTR and that’s not a good thing when running advertisements.

Who pays for these ads?

Anybody wanting to advertise. Let’s say you sold car parts and you wanted an ad for your website to appear on search results and websites that are related to cars (and more specifically car parts). You would buy adspace from Google through another service called AdWords and you initiate a bid price for specific keywords. The bid price is how much you’re willing to pay for each time someone clicks on your ad. More on this in another post.

How much can I get paid?

This is a very large range that can be anything from $0.01 – infinity (technically) per click. The reason for this is that not every ad pays the same since not every keyword is worth as much to an advertiser. See more information on Google AdWords. So, you can paid every time someone clicks on an ad that’s displayed on your site. This money is then stored in your AdSense account until you reach a certain threshold and then Google sends you a check.

Are people really making thousands with AdSense?

Of course! However, these are people with websites that draw in many thousands of visitors. To give you an idea, take a sample CTR rate of 4%. This is a low rate, but for most sites, it’s considered normal. Applying some simple math assuming your site has 1000 unique visitors a month and you get about 40 click-throughs. If each click was worth $0.05, you just made $2.00! Of course, this number highly changes drastically based on how many clicks actually got counted, how much each ad cost, etc, etc. There are also many days when you don’t get any clicks. The most important thing to have on your site is traffic! Some websites have even written complete ebooks based on ways to increase you AdSense earnings. I read one in particular that helped me triple my returns in a matter of weeks.

How do I get started?

Simply go to Google and signup! It’s completely free to use AdSense and it does not cost anything to run it, but you do need a website to place your ads. Beyond that, you need content. Otherwise the ads won’t even show.

Is there anything else I should know?

AdSense revenue can now be earned through RSS feeds, search results, parked domains and mobile content. You can learn more about each of these when you sign up. In further guides on my site, I will explore these areas of interest.

13 Ways to Kill Your Blog

Matt Mullenweg is the creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic. Over on his blog, he mentioned 6 ways to kill your community an added 7 more on top of that. I found these tips to be extremely useful, so I’m posting them here all together for a total of 13 ways to kill your blog.

I won’t list them as sarcastically as Matt did–rather, I’ll give them to you straight.

  1. Don’t Moderate — If you choose not to moderate your blog, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to keep you blog organized and relavent. If you’re noticing your posts getting lots of comments, but most them are not adding any real value to the topic, you’re actually doing a dis-service to your site. Clean up those comments and make sure that they stay on topic. Your readers will appreciate it too!
  2. Spam Comments — Your blog should (at the very least) be running some type of spam filter plugin. Akismet is just that and it comes with every install of WordPress so there’s no excuse not to use it! If you end up letting spam in, you’re just opening the door for MUCH, MUCH more spam to come your way. Also, if the spammer starts spamming the links of your authors, they’re not going to be too happy either.
  3. Forceful Signups — You probably experienced this one personally when wanting to comment on a blog somewhere. How many times have you really wanted to post something, but as soon as your forced to signup as a member, you simply close the page and move on? You don’t like it and neither does anyone else! Allow your visitors to post comments freely.
  4. Comment Participation — If you intend to ignore your visitors, why are you blogging in the first place? You should be thankful that people are even coming to your site. One way to do this is to respond to comments as part of the dialog. This is especially true when a user asks questions.
  5. Posting Random Junk — The Internet is filled with crap and LOTS of it! Don’t add to the trash heap by posting automated comments from people’s Twitter accounts, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Eventually it becomes too much to follow and along with making your site look cluttered, it’ll be a surefire way to send people packin’.
  6. “Design like NASCAR” — I had to quote this one because there was no other way to describe it! If your blog is covered in widgets, banners, ads, sharing buttons, etc., then you won’t have much of a blog left in short time. Some bloggers think that adding more “function” to their site(s) creates loyalty and having too little creates a lack of substance. The fact is, if you focus more on your content and less on your “experience”, you’ll notice that in time, your content will become the experience. As time moves forward, you’ll discover new things that you need to add to your site, but do it in small doses.
  7. Search Engines — Hosting comments on external systems and then injecting them into your site in an effort to make your site appear differently to search engines as it appears to your users is a shady practice and you don’t want to get caught doing it. Getting ranked in the search engines is a never-ending game, but the most important things you can do is create original content and have other important sites link to yours. Both of these requires time. Take the time to make your blog relavent and unique and the results will come naturally.
  8. Comment Pruning — While you’re advised to prune unnecessary comments and other irrelevant notes, don’t go deleting comments just because they shine a negative light over you or your site in an attempt to make it seem like you can do no wrong. This is just bad business and if people catch on, you’re going to look a lot worse.
  9. Comment Box Placement — Keep the comments below the post. Not to the side, not on top–at the bottom. The point of having such a place to leave comments is because people are supposed to read your blog and then make a statement. What sense does it make to have comments anywhere else but after the post?
  10. Subscriptions — Give your visitors a reason to come back. If they don’t want to come back, at least give them a way to still get your content via services such as RSS or email. This allows users to keep getting your content without having to come back and look for the latest stuff.
  11. Too much Clicking — K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s really that obvious. As a web user yourself, you already know how annoying it is when you’re on a website and you’re looking for something, but to get there you have to click about 15 times. On blogs, this is usually related to loooong posts that get separated onto multiple pages or huge comments lists. My advice: just let it ride. Leave that content on one long page if you have to. The user will be happy to know that everything they need is right there.
  12. Comment Moderation — There’s an option in WordPress to moderate comments before they’re posted to the site. Although this is a great tool for filtering spam, it’s also a great slap in the face to posters that have previously posted and been approved for their comment(s). Make sure these users can get through without the extra hurdle. They will appreciate that you know they’re not spammers.
  13. Audience Participation — Get your users excited about coming to your site. They love participating in polls, surveys, contests, etc. These features are generally used when your site starts to have regular traffic, but in most cases, it’s not too early to start. Just don’t forget rule 6!

This of course is just a smidgen of the things you should be weary of. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not sure what to do, just post content. Just post what you feel, what you want to talk about, what you’re passionate about and everything will come in due time. Your blog may not be ranked high in the search engines and it may not be considered popular, but as more and more of your words get out into the world, the more action you’ll see on your site. Don’t get discouraged and happy blogging!

Top Affiliate Network Companies

In in effort to organize the massive amount of information in regards to affiliate marketing, I’ve compiled a list of the top affiliate programs. I have used some of them, others are simply recommended from industry pros.

AzoogleAds (AZN Networks)

This company is universally recognized as the top company of its kind. Jonathan Volk is quoted as saying:

AzoogleAds is my personal favorite affiliate network and the one I’ve made a LOT of money on. I’ve been quite open about them being my favorite affiliate network for years and they remain my favorite.

Signup today!

Elite Clicks Media (ECM)

If you plan to market your products and services via social media networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more, this site provides offers that are top convertors for those audiences. Jonathan Volk says this:

Besides having a lot of really great offers, the professionals behind Elite Clicks Media is a great team of guys that are set on helping their publishers go to the next level. For example, just recently, ECM held a free webinar on CPV/PPV Marketing. More importantly, they have even more webinars lined up to help their publishers learn! This, to me, shows how they are not just like any other old network.

Signup today!


QwikMedia specializes in pay per click traffic, media buying and lead generations. They are recommended if you plan to focus on these elements. Jonathan Volk had some nice words about them:

Many of the offers are exclusive offers (meaning you can’t get them at another network) that are doing really well right now in niches like dating, insurance, and more.

Sign up today!

Tatto Media

This is an all around company that provides great offers that work in any marketing plan. They also provide some of the best mobile phone offers. Here’s what Jonathan Volk has said:

The other great thing about Tatto is that many of the offers are their own exclusive offers that they have made and optimized themselves. They have some of the best mobile offers. Mobile offers do really well on social traffic and media buys. If you plan to focus on either of those methods, you should check out Tatto!

Sign up today!


Neverblue provides tons of high converting offers and it’s easy to get started. If you’re focus is to market across social networking sites, Neverblue provides many offers specific to this niche. Jonathan Volk had this to say:

In fact within just a few weeks of running on NeverblueAds, I was able to get a campaign going that was making upwards of $400 revenue per day!

Sign up today!

How to create original content

You’ve heard it before and most likely you didn’t hear it from me first–have original content on your blog! Why is this so important? First of all, if you’re trying to create a blog that just copies postings and other material from other blogs and websites, you can stop right now. People are smart and search engines are smarter.

Posting original content is the only surefire way to get people to your site and to stay. The ultimate goal here is to create a returning user base. One reason for this is that these “fans” will begin to promote your site based on the fact that they like your site. Other sites will link to you because of your quality. Search engines will rank you better. The list goes on.

Now, obviously when I say original, I don’t necessarily mean something that nobody has ever talked about. You can discuss things that are all over the Internet, but the idea is to do it in your own, unique way. And do it often. Blog frequency is another topic we’ll be discussing later.

For now, the question is what do you write about? In order to be successful at this, you’re going to want to pick a topic that actually means something to you as this will create passion in your words and people respond better to content when it’s passionate. Don’t try and blog about a whole bunch of different things all at once (unless everything’s connected somehow). Just remember that whatever the topic is, there are plenty of people out there that are just as obsessed with it as you are, so don’t get discouraged–just because your friends don’t visit your blog it doesn’t mean nobody will.

It’s hard to write a how to guide on a topic that doesn’t have any set standards or rules, but here goes!

In a nutshell:

  1. Choose your topic – find a topic that really interests you as well as something that can be discussed. You wouldn’t want to have a blog about one particular movie because that movie will eventually go away and it won’t be relevant anymore. Do a blog about all movies, or one genre of movies.
  2. Do some research – start searching around the Internet and see what people are saying about your topic. Remember these sites for later because they will come in handy when we get into promoting your blog.
  3. Look for ways to improve – Once you start seeing your topic of choice popping up around the Internet, start looking for ways to improve the already available information. This will start to separate your blog from the rest.
  4. Fill in the holes – you might even start noticing that certain areas of interest are not being covered in other blogs. This is your chance to open a new door!
  5. Write from the heart. You do not want to pass up this step. Do not write just for search engine rankings or Google clicks. Don’t even write just for traffic. You can achieve all these things in time, but before you start promoting your blog, you’re going to need the content.

As for the writing itself, I found a really cool blog that has created a list of 12 essential blogwriting tips. I reviewed each one and they are phenomenal. I have tried to sum up everything on that site above, but to get the full effect, you’ll want to check it out.