Would you like to create a blog for your company or existing site?

This was written as a proposal for a project last year. I thought I would share the outlines for readers interested in blogging part- or full-time or looking to develop a portfolio for an existing static site.

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Are you considering having a blog to complement your existing website? Do you need help to get started with the whole blogging thing? If so, then this paper outlines the basic idea in section 1; the steps to implementing the program in section 2; and Developing your Properties in section 3.

1. A BLOG: A natural traffic magnet

I think the best way to attract traffic to your website would be to use a blog as a blog has a natural advantage over a static site. In fact, a blog can attract traffic with quality posting as long as you have something to say of interest to people. Additionally, having a blog allows you to build traffic through RSS Feeds, comments, trackbacks and a whole host of online aggregators and web 2.0 media.

This would be the fastest approach to gaining traffic, though when I say fast it would be some months to build up a following. The blog would need an identifiable persona that can play off the notion of credit cards and build some fun into the whole process of searching, applying for and using credit cards. It is also a way to bring people BACK to the website… otherwise you may see traffic apply for cards and NEVER come back because they can’t find or don’t remember the website.

2. Steps to Implementation

  1. First, Setting Up A Blog. Establish a blog (WordPress 2.7) with a bunch of themes, and a selection of plugins in a subdirectory of your main website. Set up a blog as integral part of your site, linked from an obvious place in the top of the bar and in a very similar ‘theme’ to the website. The blog of course would have links to the rest of the site as well.
  2. Second, Metrics. Establish some metrics as a base from which to start. The metrics would help establish tracking and even help target customers to the offers in the other part of the site.
  3. Third, Regular Posting. Start a regular posting schedule. With some initial content, say 20 posts that are quality and not too long, begin the next step. Do make sure your content is unique, well written. It doesn’t have to be long, but it has to be pertinent.
  4. Fourth, Publicity. Have the blog join all sorts of Web2.0 communities to gain friends/traffic, such as Technorati, and several other blog services. This would certainly help but it would require some weeks or even months of work. There are a number of other tips and tricks that can help to establish a blog that can drive traffic to your website.
  5. Fifth, Capitalize on the Traffic. This is where your efforts on the website would pay off by capitalizing on the resultant traffic. Slowly add advertising in whatever form you think is appropriate for your audience. Don’t go overboard.

3. Developing your Property

There are tons of new ways of getting traffic these days: Twitter, Flickr, Squidoo, Hubpages, Technorati,… while it’s not important to stay on top of them all. There are just too many to start with. You may want to pick a few of the services, and learn how to use them. Each one you learn paves the way for a future project, traffic or opportunities.

Much is made of Web 2.0, and much is hot air. But you may find that there are valuable tie-ins to your proposed blog from communities of like-minded people. Then you’ll find that Web 2.0 really works.

Conclusion

Obviously you have to decide if this is a route you want to take, whether it is worth spending so much money on your website, and what metrics you will need to use to evaluate success or failure. I do believe that adding a blog can really add a whole new dynamic to your existing site. But it isn’t an instant success. It needs application, focus, and time.

Rant: Just whose blog is it anyway?

I used to post on the GeekySpeaky Forums and there was a real community for a longtime, until the admin decided to purge the forums of all less frequently accessed accounts. That was mine included. It was a foolish action because it killed the community totally. Now the community is a morgue: most discussion is gone, the occasional spam is still there. I did salvage my post about blogging so here is my rant.

“It’s funny, the more blogs I read, the more I discover how other people DEEPLY want to tell me how to write my blog:…

It’s not something unique to PPP, BTW. It seems every where from ProBlogger onwards.

And the odd thing is: the more that the language is couched as imperatives and obligatory language, the less I could care.

Why should all my titles start with “5 Things you wish you knew before you got out of bed” crappy titles… Really, is this Cosmopolitan magazine or what? I know BTW, I like Cosmo. But it seems that the whole of the US publishing industry is writing magazine stories drawing on the same textbooks the editors studied in college.

I used to subscribe to a computer magazine for YEARS until I wrote to them protesting at the increasingly Inanity of their story titles, and topics. I was a loyal reader. The terrible thing is: it’s gotten worse, not better since then.

So I switched to a real magazine for PC stuff from the UK, and took a real breather… but in many ways: CNN’s journalism standard has fallen into line with the same ideas as COSMO, and it’s sorely depressing.

So you’ll rarely find titles on my blog that start with numbers, … and I’m sure I break quite a few BLOG POLICE rules, but it’s my blog after all.”

What do you think? Do readers all follow the same mindset or is this what we’ve all been brainwashed to accept as REAL blogging?

To Blog or Not To Blog: More is not always better!

For a few months I was toying with the idea of separating my blogs into different ‘channels’. The upside was that this would generate a lot of more targeted reading matter for targeted readers. I noted already that visitor times and pages were much better than before. However, I noted a number of problems that caused me some pause.

Time: Not enough?

I just don’t have enough time to develop content for all of the blogs that that would have entailed. I already have two pretty active blogs (this one and Obblogatory) but adding four or five more would have been just too much work. In fact, I currently have under my own registration approximately 20 domains. To develop more than one or two would have been quite difficult.

Focus? Focus?

With regular content needed for the other blogs, writing would have been a full-time occupation. I do enjoy the creative process very much, but the time developing such content and marketing these blogs just would have been too much.

Monetizing?

Is it possible to monetize so many domains? Well, it surely is. In fact, I have money dribbling in from three domains now that are my own. The possibility of expanding this by adding domains was an attractive one. But each of the domains requires quite some work to get things done.

Do Blogs Convert Visitors?

The last issue is perhaps the most important one: do blogs convert visitors? My experience has been that a typical blog (like this one) really draws a large and non-specific audience to its site. That is part of the attraction for me to write and manage this site. But these visitors do NOT convert very well. Adsense CTR rates, private ad sales, affiliate products, etc.. all seem to be much lower than more targeted sites have.

Too little knowledge?

With all that I learned from blogging over these past few years, I’ve become aware that my online IM skills are woefully short. I need to invest time and energy in learning how to research and build a crafted site. To that end, I’m now considering joining a program to help me learn these skills.

Server Capabilities

I’ve been using several hosting companies for my sites: and I’ve had a number of ongoing problems with each of them over the last few months. The worst has been that many of my smaller sites have been on one company. So when that had problems, life became very difficult. These issues are far from resolved at the moment. But they did soak up a lot of hours that could have otherwise been spent.

Life changes

We’ve been running our own business for four years or more with some success, but each minute I work on these blogs is a minute less to work on that business. And vice versa. My wife and I have talked about making changes to our lives, but we’ve yet to really bite that bullet. It seems as if we’re stuck where we are right now.

I’ve already outlined a plan where we could make quite a bit of money with a lot less work, but at the moment implementing that plan is just a bridge too far. It seems we’d have to make changes in our lives that might make the other half a little uncomfortable. So we’re just not ready.

I like what I’m doing with InvestorBlogger Dot Com very much. I like the fact that I don’t have to have the discipline to stay within one topic area; but that makes it difficult to achieve other goals such as increasing online income successfully. Perhaps it’s time to change.