A Beginners Guide to Blogging and RSS
What’s the best blogging advice I could give you? Learn how to use blogs and RSS for marketing! These are the hottest new tools you can use for promoting any product or service online, and starting and monetizing a blog is absolutely the easiest and least expensive way to start an internet business.
This page is meant to be a beginner’s guide to blogging. I’ll introduce you to the concept, and give you the basics. If you’d like to know more, check out my new blogging guide blog for blogging advice for internet marketers.
In case you haven’t heard, the net is buzzing with talk of blogging and RSS. Once the province strictly of people who got a kick out of publishing online diaries, and later of political and social commentarists, blogs and RSS are being adopted by the internet marketing community. This is the hot new trend for internet marketers. The word “blog” was actually the most searched word of the year for 2004, and 2005 was “the year of the blog”. promises to be bigger than ever for users of blogs and RSS.
So what is all the fuss about? Well, especially with the increasing restrictions on email marketing, including ISP blocking of mail amounting to estimates of 40% of all email never getting delivered, marketers began to look for new avenues to get their message out. Enter blogs and RSS.
Delivered straight to a user’s desktop, the content of an RSS feed is unfiltered by anyone. Users can subscribe and unsubscribe anonymously, with the click of a mouse, and have no fear that their personal information will be shared. RSS is “pull” technology, meaning that the user asks for it, in contrast to email, which is often unasked for, and thus is often “push” technology.
Blogs, which are usually publicized by way of an RSS feed, among several other avenues, are the current darlings for the search engine spiders. Search engines love blogs, because they are full of content, are frequently changing, are devoid of “flash”, graphics, and other distractions, and are full of outgoing links. The web is all about links, which is why search engines devour blogs.
If you know anything about search engine optimization, you know that those are the characteristics that you should strive for when optimizing a standard web site page for the search engines. The pages in a blog are that way by their very nature, and thus attract the search engine spiders.
Why do marketers love blogs?
Blogs are simple to create and maintain. Numerous hosting sites exist where you can create and publish a blog for free, or for a very nominal monthly fee. You can also pick up one of several free stand alone blogging packages, and host a blog on your own website, or on a new domain registered and hosted just for the purpose of publishing your blog.
Blogging affords the opportunity to publish links to other sites, and to the interior pages of other sites. Their popularity with human visitors makes blogs natural targets for traffic. Their constantly changing content attracts the search engine spiders, which then follow the links that they find, and index the pages of other web sites.
Many savvy internet marketing experts have suggested that the best way to capture an audience of potential customers is to provide them with lots of free information, either through a “content site” that does little or no direct selling, or through the publication of an informative email newsletter that gives free information and at most employs a “soft sell” when endorsing products.
A blog is the perfect blend of the two. It has often been suggested that the best way to start an online business is with a free newsletter, which allows you to develop your “list”. While blogging doesn’t develop your “list” in quite the same way, it does afford you the opportunity to develop a loyal following among your readers, which accomplishes much the same purpose as having a “list”. Either way, you end up being perceived as trustworthy, and as having some particular expertise, and any product you endorse is likely to be well-received by your readers.
Whether you announce or endorse a product through an email list or a blog, you are announcing it to people who want to hear what you have to say. Your blog readers are probably more eager, in many cases, than are readers of your mass emails.
Finally, you can easily “monetize” a blog by running one of several types of ads in the body of the blog, or in the blog template. You can also weave affiliate links into some of your posts, and generate some affiliate income when your links are clicked through. This has got to be the simplest, easiest, and least expensive way there is to start an internet business.