How to Up Your Blogging Game

The internet is full of abandoned and neglected blogs, some full of wonderful content. Worse still many disappear forever only existing in the archives of the wayback machine or perhaps the hard drives of their authors for years to come. However it doesn’t have to be like this, a little work can bring your blog back to life.

You probably had all kinds of hopes for your blog, but then no one seems to notice. Then, if you’re keeping track, you see that the majority of your visitors only check out your site for a moment and then leave. You could hardly be blamed for wanting to quit the whole business. The fact is, however, that there are many successful blogs out there, and there’s no reason why yours can’t be one of them. It’s not that difficult, to create something like this, as we’re about to show you.

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Have you noticed the amount of love that bloggers display for linking within their posts? You’re capable of the same thing but it is important to use a smart approach. It is not a very good idea to link to something that isn’t relevant simply so that you can put a link there. There are a couple of destinations for your links and you need to mix them up in a good way. Link to other content on your blog because it’s good for internal structures. Then, of course, there are the links to external sites which can be quite useful both for your readers as well as yourself. This can be helpful for your SEO, sure, but it also proves that you’ve done your research.

Plus, you will help your readers get access to better and more detailed information–something that can always be helpful. It is important to proofread what you are about to post on your blog before you publish it. Although looking for spelling errors and grammar problems is good, there are other things to look for. Proofreading can extend into a dozen different areas when looking for things to fix. Typically, about 100% of all bloggers would avoid fixing these errors even if they were right in front of them. Make sure that organizational elements are all in place when you proofread. Whatever you are writing about, all of the ideas need to flow in a logical order from point to point. When people see these problems in your blog post, it will be more hurtful than if they found a misspelled word. People will not want to go through jumbled content that makes no sense at all. When you write content that is this bad, you can almost guarantee that your readers will go away, never wanting to return.

Remember that writing for college or for a technical job is not the same as writing for your blog. You cannot or should not ignore everything, but there’s a lot you can and your blog will be better off for it. Compared to most jobs or academia, you should use a casual, conversational style in your blog.

Using a scholarly style is appropriate in certain settings, but not if you’re chatting with a friend -or blogging. Nobody wants to hear that sort of talk because it’s so formal and stilted. Blogging in this manner is not the way to attract readers who will return. So keep your style casual and informal as you write your blog posts.

Remember that building a popular blog takes time, and also keeping it updated consistently. Starting a blog is not quite as simple as it seems, as there are many steps to follow and you want to get everything just right. Keep your initial motivation in mind as you steadily build your blog and before you know it you’ll be reaping the rewards.

Further Reading

http://www.changeipaddress.net/us-ip-address/

Build That User Friendly Concept into Your Website

One of the most critical aspects of finding success online is making sure that your website is user friendly. This is going to sound pretty harmless but it can be completely unforgiving when you do it wrong. You’ll know if you do because your bounce time is sky high and nobody stays long. Make sure that you have your analytics set up on your site so that you can start figuring out what your trouble spots are. You might even hire a person to do a user friendly criteria site audit. No matter what the case, if you want to have a business then you’ll move on this.

Quite a lot of research has been done that proves navigation ought to only be in one of two places. You are going to want to put it either on the top of or right under your header graphic.

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Otherwise, it goes in your left column or down the left hand side. What you want to avoid is placing it on the right hand column. This means that either you can build a website that is two or three columns big. When your site has three columns, make the lefthand column solely for navigation. You can leave the right hand side for other things.  For instance adverts, I have a great one on one site which sells a solution for watching American Netflix from the UK, sells really well on related pages.  Examples of this kind of content are ads or smaller advertising kinds of creatives or any special offers you might be running. It is this layout that people have found to be the most effective.

Be smart about what you have for admin pages, and this is about your contact page. The contact page tells everybody that you’re for real and a professional and that makes a difference. This is also about having credibility, and even if you’re not you’ll at least look the part. Don’t be afraid to use your business address and other details because so many sites do not do this.

Don’t be shy about getting right to the heart of the matter with what your primary offer is right on your home page. While you should avoid making your home page full of ads like most sites do, a few tasteful teasers to good presell copy is worth trying. By default, most themes will make all the side bars the same on various pages, and that’s not always a good idea. You can offer something like a special one-time promo or an incentive to join your mailing list. Avoid GIF animations and the like, and just experiment with various designs for banners and graphics.

You’ll be much happier with your results when your website is very user friendly. When they like what they’re experiencing, then they’ll be more likely to return. if you want your site to improve all around, then this is one of them best ways for that. There’s nothing but good waiting for you if you work to make this happen.

Read More Here

Does Your Website Convert? Check these Tips if Not.

For any type of website, you should make getting a good conversion rate your main focus. Yes, you heard correctly. The way that your customers and site are taken care of will say whether or not you will have a high conversion rate. There are loads of reasons that can say why the conversion rate on your site goes down. This article will explain three things that can do a lot of harm to your site’s conversion rates.

One of the most confusing aspects you find on websites these days is bad navigation.

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If your website is hard to navigate, users can simply click to another site that offers similar information, with a more convenient navigation system. The fact remains that people today don’t really have the time and as long as you respect that, they will keep coming back for more, or else they wouldn’t hesitate to give business to your competitors. You need to have a predictable, easy to navigate system on your website to alleviate this problem. Numerous things contribute to how well your website converts, but the domain length is one of those things. A long domain name is not a good thing, even if it helps you with beating the competition. The reason for this is simple. Long domain names are not considered to be professional by most people. Choose a short domain name that indicates that you are not just in business temporarily.

There are of course also complications with different markets, particularly the geographic question.  Take for instance a local supplier of goods, their primary focus is going to be local customers who will form their best chance for increased sales.  A food supplier in Chicago is going to have little interest in attracting browsers from China or Europe, they’re unlikely to buy from them.  Most webmasters cover this issue by modifying their websites based on the location of the visitor.  This is quite common now, where your location is used to tailor what you see, especially useful for global brands who want to discriminate between different markets.  It’s also why people actively try to hide their location using things like a proxy to access the BBC iPlayer, because you can’t watch the BBC online from outside the UK.

Finding a great website, with excellent content which motivates you to do something, is actually a waste if a “call to action” is not available.

Converting sites are hard to come by, and if you actually do have one, without a call to action, it is a tragedy, and also a loss of potential revenue. The best thing about having a website with excellent content is that it provides the potentiality of sales for your products and services, but only if you put a call to action that visitors can act upon after reading the information you have provided. Creating a higher web conversion for your site will work wonders. Also it will help you to own the niche that you are in. But ensure that the practices that you are utilizing will not negatively impact your conversion rates. This is because that way all your efforts can prove to be fruitless. By making use of these few tips, you will look better to your prospects and also get higher conversions. This will pay off in the long run.

Guest Post – Stephen Calkin

Author and Blogger – More Info Here.

 

 

A Quick Tip on Netflix

I have a post here about two things I really love – travel and movies, not really web development related but thought I’d put a post up in case it’s useful to anyone.  Last  month I went to my sister’s house, who has recently moved to Quebec for a few months – it’s a place I can thoroughly recommend although it is slightly colder than LA!

Anyway we were talking about things that we miss about home – over a few beers one evening.  The list was surprisingly small for my sister and I can hardly blame her.  But one thing she commented on was the way she missed catching all the latest films and shows, there always seemed to be a little delay on stuff getting to Canada.    You might not think it’s a big deal but when all your friends are online talking about the latest episode of Game of Thrones or NCIS and you’re half a series behind it can get a little frustrating.

So we came up with a couple of things to help her, the first involved purchasing the leads to connect her laptop to the TV.   This was essential in our plan like me, watching lots of stuff on a monitor instead of a TV never made that much sense.  It especially stopped the social element of watching a film with a few friends.

The next thing I did was to start up my subscription to Netflix, I know it’s not quite up to date but it’s great for watching series you’ve missed.   The beauty is that you can watch a whole series in a few nights if you get hooked.  One thing I discovered that inexplicably my sister had never seen a single episode of Lost!!

That’s where it all went wrong, which you will find if you try to watch US Netflix in Canada, it’s just different.  When I say different I actually mean worse, when you log on to Netflix in Canada you actually get a version that has a load less content than the American version.  For starters I couldn’t even find all 70 odd episodes of Lost anywhere on the site.

What happens like many web and media streaming sites, is that it tailors your content depending on your location.  So although Netflix is a global application, as you move around you’ll find the content varies greatly.  I’m afraid the Canadian version was just nowhere near as good value as the one I watched at home.

So here’s the solution I promised = in this Youtube video – How I get American Netflix.

Web Development in Turkey or Somewhere Sunny!

It’s something I’ve always intended to do sometime soon, do some travelling whilst working at the same time.  Instead of doing this two to three week vacation thing just settle somewhere for 6 months or so, work and then move on again.  This would hopefully allow me to see a few places and get to know them rather than doing the tourist stuff and then flying back (among a huge group of Americans all doing the same thing).

I know people do it, and I was reminded by chatting with an old buddy of mine who has been working in Istanbul for just over a year now.  So I decided to pick his brains and get some suggestions on what I could do to get started and what tips he could suggest.

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It was he says easier than you think, although there are a few things to bear in mind.  First of all try and make sure  you’re not too committed to one place – don’t sign a two year lease or commit to long term agreements on anything.  If you don’t know a country you’re liable to make mistakes, my friend found a bargain apartment in Istanbul over the internet, and when he arrived it was in a very unsafe part of the city especially for foreigners.  He had to pay a substantial sum to cancel the lease agreement.

Get your affairs in order at home, rent out your house, assign letting agents and get all your bills on standing order.  Make sure you have access to all your accounts online if possible and check if they’re accessible from outside the country.  Many bank accounts can’t be accessed from outside the US due to fraud restrictions, but if you invest in a US proxy server – here’s one then you can access using an American IP address.  Being able to keep tabs of your affairs whilst travelling is a huge advantage and makes life much simpler.

There’s other advantages to using these sort of programs to hide your identity when travelling, firstly it means you can keep your web based business secure when using random wifi connections that you don’t entirely trust.  Also it can help you keep in touch back home, my friend who is from London uses his to access British television over the internet (normally blocked due to licensing restrictions) – here’s it in action watching some BBC show online.

Starting with SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, it’s not very exciting but it’s a subject you really can’t avoid if you want to be successful online.  Basically it means optimising your site in order to attract the most relevant traffic to your site. It’s also a difficult balancing act, if you optimize your site too much it could get penalized by the search engines particularly Google.  Too little and you’ll simply not receive any traffic from them.

There are some basic tasks that you can do that are essential and pretty safe.  For a start you should try and target keywords on both your site and individual pages and posts.    Say you had a site about dieting,  which also promoted dieting products – here you should choose your keywords carefully.  Using a keyword tool, there’s one free called keyword planner on the Google site – pick phrases that relate to the content on each page and try to target that phrase.

You should include the selected phrase in the Title and use the phrase a couple of times during the content.  Make sure you don’t overdo the use as this will count against you.  Putting links and relative images with related keywords will help boost your rankings for that keyword.  Don’t imagine you’ll be able to rank for a phrase like ‘lose weight’ easily as this is an incredibly competitive keyword to rank for.  Instead target slightly longer words which might bring you some quality traffic, the phrase ‘lose weight for holidays’ for example might bring you less traffic but still be profitable.

The other thing that has a significant effect on your rankings is the number of links pointing at each page.  This is where the difficulty takes place, without links from other sites pointing at your pages they will not rank at all.  Unfortunately Google says you can’t build or generate these links yourself – it’s a catch 22 situation, no-one will link to your site if they don’t see it, but without links none will ever visit.  In reality you have to make some effort to build links otherwise you’ll never get anywhere, but you have to be cautious.

Don’t build thousands of links from low quality websites, try and generate slow, relevant links on good authority sites.  Technically you’re not allowed to do anything, but writing for other sites, sponsoring posts or similar are possible as long as you do it carefully.  If you use proxy servers like this British one you can access sites in other countries whilst keeping your address private.

You can also use certain tools to build social networking links from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to help rank your sites.  Again don’t build these all from the same sort and be careful to change your IP address occasionally (see here)  so the links don’t get deleted.

Facebook Block List gets Smaller

I read an interesting article a couple of weeks ago, about how Myanmar has recently unblocked access to the popular social networking site – Facebook.  Mynamar (or Burma) was one of the very few countries in the world which was blocking access to this site.  Now the reason it was quite interesting and just a little bit funny was the article was written by the Chinese Ministry of information and technology.  At the end of the article they mentioned that the social networking site was now only inaccessible in four countries – Iran,  North Korea, Cuba and “another country”.

That other country is of course China itself, and you can sense the shame that the Chinese Government feel to be part of that list.  A country that wants to trade with the rest of the world, that wants to be part of the open and free economy of the world – because of it’s oppressive internet filtering is included in a list of the most oppressive countries in the world.   Which of course is why they refer to themselves as ‘another country’ when appearing on these lists.

Burma has of course changed drastically in the last year or so, with many political prisoners being released and the barriers of the previous oppressive regimes gradually being torn down.  China is looking increasingly isolated with it’s huge Great Firewall and internet monitoring facilities across the country.  Facebook is not the only site blocked of course, there are thousands of others which encourage free speech.  The Chinese population are of course well used to this and spend much of their time circumventing these filters.

This video for example, shows how you can use a popular security software to bypass these blocks by routing through a proxy.

The technology war is growing however for this sort of censorship, most countries don’t get anywhere near restricting access – China is probably one of the exceptions purely based on the resources it pours into their efforts.  Yet still there are many thousands of proxies, VPNs and other methods available to bypass any sort of firewall.  Many experts believe that the only way you can completely control access is by pretty much blocking everything like North Korea does, which has effectively just shut off the internet to all but a few high ranking citizens.

BBC Iplayer – One of Life’s Essentials

Whenever I’m in the United Kingdom there’s one thing I enjoy more than anything and that’s the TV there.  Watching a show for an hour without it being interrupted every ten minutes for endless adverts is simply bliss.  It’s not something you can do in many places and even fast forwarding recorded shows on a Tivo is not quite  the same.

But the BBC is complete bliss and not only are there no interruptions but the quality is generally superb too.  Of course the BBC has huge advantages in being centrally funded and not commercially driven however it’s certainly my favorite broadcaster bar none.  Nowadays the BBC has invested heavily in it’s online presence and was a pioneer in transmitting it’s content online using the Iplayer application.  You can watch pretty much all the shows online for a period of a few weeks or live whichever suits you best.

There is one drawback though – the BBC Iplayer application is not actually available outside the United Kingdom.  The web site checks the location of your computer by looking up your IP address – presumably to restrict the BBC shows to British license payers, although this seems rather mean.  Fortunately I found this useful post which shows you how to watch the BBC Iplayer abroad.  Apparently all you have to do is connect using a fake UK IP address and you’ll get access as normal.

I have tried this method out and it works fine, although make sure  you disconnect after or all your browsing will be routed through  the United Kingdom.  It’s kind of sad that we have to use these methods – the US media sites are no better, can you believe I can’t access Hulu on my laptop either when I’m out of the US.  The internet didn’t used to be like this and I for one miss the times when everything was accessible to everyone.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afz-QXrkar8