Starting up and managing a blog is just like starting up and running a new company. It takes time to grow, you have to focus on your outcomes, and constantly evaluate where you are moving to.

In 2010, one of my goals is to simplify and focus. Simplify to be able to provide the greatest amount of content in the most effective manner. Focus on what I’m best at and what means the most to you as my readers.

While blogging is huge for me, currently brings me in about 50 percent of my income, and is looking to be one of the driving forces in my overall business model, I also have to to look at what I truly love. For me its about educating creative business owners on how to succeed online.

While blogging is a huge part of it, there’s so much more. Social is a huge part of it. But more than that, its all about taking charge of what you do, put it into your business model, and make it a success. twitter-ghost-250

If you’ve followed this blog, you’re going to love the content at my newest site

TheSocialGhost.com

Please join me over there for continuing discussions about the world of online marketing, where its going, how to use it for your business.

Want to know the secret to getting massive amounts of traffic to your blog, have people follow you no matter what you write, make contact with you daily, and turn into clients instantly?the secret to gaining clients through blogging

When it’s written in a sentence like the one above, you start to become a little leery. Nothing can be THAT good. Right?

Yet every week I meet with people that have heard me talk about blogging, and they always bring up the statement, “I want to use a blog so I can quit other forms of gaining leads”.

When I hear that statement, my next question is, “how quickly do you want your blog to work for you?” Because a blog is a great tool In fact, I can’t imagine my marketing plan to be without several at the moment. But I’ve also been using blogs for over eight years now.

Blogs are just like any other form of marketing.

  • You have to use it regularly to make it work for you.
  • In order to bring clients to your blog, you have to give out content that makes them want to come back again and again.
  • Traffic will come from a variety of sources; you have to keep trying and do what works.
  • People will sign up for and buy different things. You have to make more than one offer to gain clients.
  • You have to be patient. A blog will only work after you’ve dedicated yourself to it for a while, and you have the traction of several things working together.
  • You won’t be number one in Google immediately. Like everything else it takes time.

So let me ask you a question. Will you be in business five years from now? If so, then you have plenty of time to start up a blog, dedicate yourself to it as one of the best forms of marketing your business, and just do it.

One of the things a blog is best at is allowing you to connect with your customers all the time.

This holiday season I’m seeing a lot of giveaways and specials built around the Christmas concept.

Last week in my One Great Idea feature I wrote about a photographer who’s giving her readers specials in her 25 days of Christmas promotion. Every day she’s releasing specials to her followers (on a limited basis of course) and allowing them to purchase right on the spot. Over 25 days, she could easily have one of her best December’s yet – all just by selling certificates and deals that will be used sometime in 2010.

Today I found an Appvent Calendar. Every day leading up to Christmas, you can head to the Appvent Calendar and receive one free download of a game directly to your iPhone. Presented by BlacksmithGames, their concept is to release 24 games, all avaialbe only the day it is released, requiring you come back every day for your new game, and to build your understanding of their products.

appvent calendar 2009

This is a great promotion to introduce a whole new set of app users to BlacksmithGames. In the technology world, this type of promotion can go viral quickly. People will only promote a new product if they really like it – and then it would only be in the form of a review. But a free giveaway is something to write about – and tweet about. Getting people back to your site again and again is key – and this will do just that.

Back before the tech bubble burst, and people and companies had lots of cash to throw around, any type of marketing strategy could be promoted. Just throw in a new tech word and you had a sure winner on your hands.

I attended a meeting last iStock_000004426908XSmallweek with a variety of business owners. We were all in the B2B realm, with everything from insurance and financial representatives, to IT and promotional products.

After I gave my 60 second commercial on creating an online marketing strategy, the social media conversation started. 

     “I just signed up for Twitter.”
     “I visit Facebook every day.”
     “I use LinkedIn all the time.”

So I asked the next question.

     “How are you using these tools to make money for your business?”

And of course I got exactly what I expected. A ton of blank stares.

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What is a blog post really for? telling a story with your blog

Ultimately, you want your reader to be able to really get into your story, see him or herself in your writing, and have the desire to move to the next level. To take action. 

The easiest way to become better at writing is to create your blog posts like you would be telling a story to a potential customer. How would you speak to them?

“Selling isn’t fun and most people don’t enjoy it.”

You may agree with that sentence, but does it really motivate you to want to take the next step or to find out more about what the person is saying? Compare that to:

“Jane hated selling. She hated it so much she almost decided to close her business because of it. She loved working with the clients, making them happy, and following up with them after the sale. But it was always the initial meeting that made her nervous. She never wanted to come across as a used car salesperson. She didn’t want people thinking she was pushy.”

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I’ve been blogging now for around 7 years. For the first few years, I blogged mainly as a way to add content to my sites. I didn’t see the true benefit of blogging – only that it was a great platform for sharing information.

Around 2 years ago I started seeing blogging as its own unique platform. I 21 laws of blogging successstarted seeing how blogging was a perfect traffic generator, and how you can really have a profitable business that is solely built around your blog (or in my case, multiple blogs).

Over the past couple of years, I’ve discovered there are “laws” to blogging. Things that I’ve done over and over again that work every time. So I thought I’d share those Laws with you. 

So here are the 21 Laws Of Blogging Success:

Law 1 – Define your purpose before you start blogging. Are you trying to sell products? Services? Are you making money through affiliate links? Or do you simply want the traffic for future sales?

Law 2 – Don’t blog for your entire business structure – niche it. I work with many types of small businesses. But a small business blog is too generic. So I niche to photographers, bloggers, social media writers, wedding coordinators, etc.

Law 3 – Build one blog to success before starting in on another one. It’s easy to get completely overwhelmed when you have too much on your plate. Get one blog working before you dive into another.

Law 4  – See your successes. It’s important to see one success in your blog each day. Sometimes it takes awhile to build, so its important to congratulate yourself for each success. One comment, a retweet on Twitter, one person signing up for a free report, or moving down the Alexa rankings are all something to be celebrated.

Law 5 – Identify a problem. In almost every industry you can find a blog that reaches out to your target market. Your job is to reach out differently. Identify one problem your clients and prospects are having, and blog all about that.

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1. Free is free. If a free platform decides it doesn’t like your blog, doesn’t agree with your posts, or has someone cry out “spam”, they have the right to delete all your work, no questions asked. blog

2. With free platforms like Blogger, you have limited customization control. You can’t fully brand the site to have your look and feel.

3. You lose the professionalism of having your own domain name. Your clients will view you differently when you tell them your blog is at MySmallBizBlog.com instead of MyBiz.Blogspot.com.

4. Limited control over advertising options. Want banners, special navigation, or sponsorship links on your blog? Free blog platforms don’t give you the flexibility to create a unified look. 

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What do you love doing? Is there something that you love spending time at night and on weekends, after your regular 9 to 5 job is through?

For many people there hobby is no longer something they love doing – something that keeps them active outside of work. Their hobby is actually growing into another stream of income. 

Take Tammy for instance. She is a stay at home mom with three kids, 10, 7 and 5. Now that the kids are in school, she’s looking beyond classroom volunteering, and is looking for a way to make a little extra money on the side without having to return to the workforce. She loves scrapbooking, and considers it her one release. She has created many albums for her family and friends, and knows where to find the best resources at great prices.

Or John.hobby blog John is an avid bodybuilder and fitness buff. He’s worked out in the gym for almost 20 years, and has a variety of routines that help keep him fit and avoid the general boredom that comes from doing the same thing month after month. He also has a variety of nutritional tips that helped him lose weight, build muscle, and keep in top shape. He’s not an expert or a guru. He has no formal training or education. He’s just passionate about what he does.

Both are perfect for hobby blogging. They have a passion. They have a little extra time. And they could easily start up a blog.

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I was talking to a friend over the weekend, and we ended up on the subject of blogging. She loves the idea of blogging, but can’t think of things to write about on a regular basis. So I asked her if she used Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is a free service you can sign up for that will let you know every time your keywords are found by Google’s search robots.

For example, I’m subscribed to Google Alerts for the keywords “photography business”. Anytime that anything comes through Google with that search result, I receive a notification as to where on the Internet they exist. Because this particular key phrase is fairly common, I receive one email every day, and usually with a dozen or so links.

google alerts

The great thing about Google Alerts is you can put in as many words and phrases as you choose. Also consider using it for your name and your business name – I have it set up for “Lori Osterberg” and my business name and websites. This keeps you up to date if anyone is talking about you online.

By using Google Alerts for your keywords and key phrases, you can find a lot of ideas for future blog posts. You’ll be led to other websites and blogs with ideas you can continue on with. And you’ll receive news and press releases on brand new items coming out that you can alert your readers to.

It only takes a couple minutes a day to stay on top of the news. And to make sure you know what is being said about you.

Blogging regularly has its benefits – there is always a reason for people to check in with you. But it also means your old content slowly gets pushed away, making it hard to find. And hard for you to get any type of investment from.

Yet there are ways for you to keep your posts alive.

recently written

1. Recently Posted
Instead of having a listing of categories or archives, create a Recent Articles section that lists out the blog post titles. Titles are more meaningful to readers, and spark interest based on the information you are providing.

2. Top Posts
What are your most popular posts? Which posts have received the most traffic?

top posts

Which have been commented on the most? There are a number of ways you can automatically list your top posts in your blog, or do it manually with your favorites that you choose to have people go back to again and again.

 

 

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