8/28/09

The Five W's of Blogging

 I was both honored and energized to be invited to be a speaker on the OLA-Radio Show last night! The night's topic of discussion was blogging, (one of my favorite things), and we talked at great length about how to start a blog, how to maintain a blog, and why blogging is important for your online business. The show is archived, so anyone can access and hear the show in it's entirety.

Our radio host last night was MetzyMom, and besides me, the show featured two guest speakers. StubsInc is the coordinator of the OLA Team Blog. A long time blogger, StubsInc also shares her knowledge of blogging with all OLA members via omail, the chat forum, and regular Webinars. GalleriaGifts is a valued OLA friend. As an eBay PowerSeller; Education Specialist, Podcaster, and eCommerce Coach, her words of wisdom are always highly respected and appreciated. Are any of you tweeting? You can find and follow any one of us on Twitter!

This article is targeted towards OnlineAuction.com members who are current bloggers, or are thinking of becoming bloggers. Actually, these tips will benefit all bloggers selling merchandise at any online venue! It is a summary of what we discussed last night on the radio show. I call it The Five W's of Blogging, and I hope it will motivate you to start and maintain a blog of your own! If you're the least bit hesitant, joining the OLA Team Blog will give you the practice you need to become a confidant blogger, the ease of membership in an already successful blog setup and the support of a growing, eager team. Who could ask for more?

The Five W's of Blogging


WHO?
You, of course! It really doesn't matter where you sell, in today's online marketplace social networking is an essential part of any solid business plan.

WHAT? Write about what interests you! To get you started, here are a few ideas...
  • Your products or niche market
  • Your store or any sales you are advertising
  • Any events you are participating in
  • Humor... look at Supergranny's blog and you'll see what I mean!
  • Knowledge... check out Kidatheart10's blog posts on the OLA Team Blog for a great example of sharing knowledge. Remember, if you can teach your readers something, you provide a value to them, and they'll return for more good reading!
WHERE? Well, obviously, I like Blogspot. It is a Google product and very simple to use. Also accessed by the name Blogger, this blog can be created by signing into your Google account. Another popular place to create a blog is WordPress. Both programs have easy to follow instructions which will lead you through all the steps necessary to create and maintain a blog.

WHEN? Search Engine Spiders, (bots), thrive on relevant changing content, so the more active you are, the better. My advice? Write as often as your schedule allows. I try to post once or twice a week on the OLA Team Blog and once per week on my personal blog... more if I have time. And not to be cold-hearted, but if you reside on my blog roll and have not made a post to your blog within 30 days, I am liable to delete your blog from my list! Staying current is as important to your SEO as it is to hold any loyal readers that you may acquire.

WHY? Because of their relevant changing content, blogs are often given greater ranking than standard webpages. Today's online reader looks for blogs as a source of information! Want incentive? The OLA Team Blog received over 2500 hits in the month of July! And the backlinks that are created show popularity to the receiving webpage. This means that every time we link to OLA, OLA gets another popularity vote, and their ranking is increased. This is the same for your store and your product! (There I am with the building blocks theory again!) I've posted this article from Wikipedia about backlinks before, but please take the time to read it... you won't regret it.

HOW? Ok, so it is not a "W"! Read on anyway...
Create a blog. The process should take about 15-20 minutes to set a basic blog template. Important features to consider when creating your blog are:
  • Title - keep it relevant to what you will write about, whether it is your store, your product or your life.
  • Description - again, keep it relevant, and use keywords to describe the content to be found on your blog.
  • Comments - you may choose to allow comments from anyone, or moderate your comments, (which means you'll get an email asking you to allow or block any comment before it is visible on the blog).
  • Adult Content - you'll need to add this warning message to any blog that may contain foul language or inappropriate content... and we sure hope that all OLA blogs refrain from including any adult content!
  • Date / Time Display - speaks for itself. You can set it to your preference.
  • Template - Blogspot offers you a wide variety of attractive templates - choose one!
  • Color/Font - in Blogspot you can also change the font and color of your background page template.
  • Page Elements - Blogspot offers you an area to add gadgets to the sidebar of your blog. Right away you'll want to personalize your About Me page, add other blogs to your Blog List, and offer readers the opportunity to Subscribe To your blog. Other gadgets, like Twitter feeds, widgets and hit counters may be added using the HTML box. You can add gadgets and modify your settings at any time. To start, just get the basics done!
Once you've created a blog, start writing! In my experience, your confidence and your skills will grow with each post. And be sure to read other blogs, join in any webinars that you can, and soak up all the information that you can... all this will assist you in becoming a successful blogger! In addition, I have a few tips below:
  • Always include a link to you. (Your store, your product, your website, etc.) If you don't know how, we hold webinars to talk about quality linking... try to attend one, or ask for a private session with one of our Team Members. Your link should contain words that are relevant to the webpage that you are linking to, so that you maximize your potential for search engine exposure.
  • If you choose to include a picture, be sure that the title of your picture is relevant to the picture. For example, when uploading pics from your camera to your hard drive, do you let the computer numerically title them, (ie; Pic202, Pic 203, Pic204, etc), or do you title them yourself, according to what they represent? (ie; Babe Ruth Rookie Card, Fenton Colonial Blue Vase, Sapphire and Diamond Pendant, etc.) Titling allows the search engines to further index your blog post by including the picture titles as keywords, as well as the keywords in your blog title and post. Incidentally, last night GalleriaGifts mentioned the use of Flickr for image hosting, citing Flickr's new capacity for using keywords in titling images, which leads to increased SEO. I've not yet investigated this, but surely will! Care to join me?
  • Copy and Paste is your friend. The exact copy of your auction listing title, first paragraph, (or section), of your description, and the use of additional keywords will increase the popularity of those phrases in search engine exposure. It's fast and easy, too! Gotta love that!
  • Use 72 characters max for titles. This includes auction titles and blog titles. Keyword rich.
  • Keep your topic focused. Writing about multiple topics only confuses spiders, and they are likely to find that your blog post is not relevant, thereby reducing your standing and importance in the indexing. (They are computers, remember!)
  • Ask questions! As I mentioned above, MetzyMom, StubsInc and I are always ready to offer advice, instruction and support. You can also count on help from Aesthetics48 and Sunflowerranch. Don't hesitate to contact any of us - we want you to succeed!
  • Please stop by and browse the treasures in my OLA store, Fleapirates Plunder

6 comments:

STUBSINC said...

Excellent Article on blogging!!!

Aesthetics48 said...

Sweet! Very informative article and a nice recap of what the radio show was all about. You and Stubs were wonderful. :)

Supergranny said...

You and the bloggers are AWESOME! Thanks for the mention and the tips!

Fleapirates said...

Thank you all!

Comments are important, too, for both the receiving blog and the commentator... and I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here! :)

Hope to see you all on Monday night! Go Team Blog!

patbiv said...

cindy! How cool! I missed it. I need to listen to the replays. I always look forward to reading your blog articles, which are very informative. Thanks for being here!
Pat

maggiemaybecrafty said...

Your blog article is very informative and eye opening. Thank you so much.