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Having a blogroll on your business blog is very important for a number of reasons. A blogroll is a list of blogs that you read, are in a similar industry to, or are associated with, E.G. clients, distributors, colleagues, B2B (Business to business) connections etc. Blogrolls act as a signpost for site visitors, letting them know what internet content you think is worthwhile, as well as which online communities you partake in.

Blogrolls create links:

In terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), blogrolls link outwards to other sites, so they can be very useful for obtaining valuable incoming links, obtained when other blogs link to your website on their own. This can be done as a form of reciprocity, or the other party may actually be interested in what you have to say because of your common interests. Incoming links are seen as ‘gold’ by Google and the other search engines, because they infer yours is a blog that people are interested in, or whose content people value.

Creating your blogroll from scratch:

You’ve created your blog, but you aren’t linked to anyone, except possibly to other blog articles within your own blog posts. If you’ve ever quoted someone else in the same industry, or linked to his or her business blog because it was relevant to your article, this is the best place to start your blogroll.

Click on the ‘links’ category in your blog’s dashboard and add the URL address of said website. Then put in the title of the blog, as this is what people will actually see on your site. You have the option of writing a short description of the blog, so when people roll their mouse’s cursor over the blog’s name, your summary will be shown and they’ll know what to expect even before clicking.

Don't misspell 'blogroll', or you may find yourself looking through a 'bog roll'.

Don’t misspell ‘blogroll’, or you may find yourself looking through a ‘bog roll’.

Sourcing more blogs to link to:

You may now have a few blogs on your list, but you can be sure there are some great writers out there sharing their wisdom in your business sphere of which you are unaware. Find them and link to them. Use Google and search for very popular words in your field of work.

For example, if you are an optometrist, you would search for terms like ‘near sightedness’, ‘contact lenses’, or of course ‘optometry’. The links with the highest page ranking related to these terms are usually those sites that are most prolific in the field. They write about the topic on a regular basis, and the quality of their content is high. These are blogs you want to link to, and to read, as the more informed you are, the better your own blog articles will be.

Note: Emulating these successful blogs and websites is the key to achieving a high search engine page ranking. It’s no secret good content posted on a regular basis leads to more eyes on your website’s pages.

Use social media networks to find related blog sites

You’ve done your Google searches, you’ve listed businesses you are associated with, now it’s time to use social media to find more quality blogs to read and list in your blogroll. If you join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and if your blog is using WordPress or Blogspot, you’ve got an array of portals into the blogging world.

All of these social networking platforms (and more) have search functions just like Google that analyse the content of all its associated websites. Search for your industry’s most used phrases and you’ll definitely come across more sources of quality information and opinion.

Creating more business opportunities:

The more depth and variation your blogroll has, the greater chance you have of becoming part of an online community, having a voice in each social network, raising awareness of your brand, and communicating with others leading to business opportunities.

Direct business relationships occur when a potential client or customer communicates after finding you, while indirect business opportunities arise when your blog and its associated articles achieve high page rankings in search engines. If you have a lot of good content, your article links will be those chosen by random people searching for someone in your chosen market.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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6. Articles do not disappear. Written content accumulates:  

Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies like Google Adwords are great for getting web traffic/customers right away. However, as soon as you stop paying CPC (Cost Per Click), your marketing campaign has literally disappeared overnight.

Adding invisible links and tags for search keywords in the back-end of your website pages is an excellent form of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but as soon as your competitors do the same, what will differentiate your website from theirs?

Web article content has a double-edged attacking sword, on the one hand giving you the chance to express yourself in a genuine and unique manner, but also in the sense that whatever articles you add to the front end (the pages of your website people can openly see), this content will stay there for posterity.

Each and every article you add to the website or attached business blog accumulates until it itself becomes a ‘source of information’. This has a number of connotations, the least not being that when SEM funds have run low, or basic SEO campaigns start to fail achieving top page rankings, your content is still visible and packed with SEO keywords.

A stockpile of article content enhances your depth of brand identity, permanently stores an extensive cache of associated search keywords, and is a long-term approach to achieving a steady flow of free organic web traffic. It’s also much more fun expressing yourself on your website where people can read your ideas, as opposed to having someone linking keywords to places where no one except search engine algorithms can see them.

7. Each article is a link to another page people can come across while searching online:

The more articles you add to your website, the more content you have that people can access online, which will then lead them to your products or services. Written article content is jammed full of search phrases and terms people are searching for in relation to your industry. Some search words are more general or generic in their scope, while others are ‘long tail’, or very specific in terms of its intended target. Article content encompasses both types of these search terms.

Each and every time your articles use a word people are searching for, a link to the article will come up on Google or one of the other search engines the potential client is using. The more links to terms and phrases in article content you have, the more places on the internet people can find you. To put it simply, each valid sentence you write can become a signpost pointing towards your website.

8. Adding written content regularly shows people and search engines you are for real:

Another very important element to consider is how often content is being added to your website. This factor is pertinent when it comes to both search engines and human beings alike when analysing your site. If you add SEO keywords early on in the piece, but then fail to consistently add more content to the site, search engines downgrade your significance.

The same goes for article content. It is much better to add articles on a regular basis than it is to stick twenty articles up at once and then leave the site alone for a lengthy period of time. Having these articles is absolutely worthwhile, but as time passes, both people and search engines see that you aren’t a recurring contributor, thus decreasing your levels of perceived value and interest.

Having relevant written content added to your website on a regular basis shows the world you are authentically fervent about your product or service. People who like your subject matter or writing style will return regularly to see what News you have added, as well as interacting with you via comments. Search engine ‘spiders’ scanning your website will see fresh, new and interesting stories, resulting in higher page rankings.

What footprint does your website make on the internet? Does its content create a unique impression?

9. Having a business blog shows customers you are enthusiastic:

It’s important to have a great product, to have an attractive website, and to have good static written text content on your web pages. However, the best businesses these days have come to realise the need for a business blog attached to their website.

Blog posts are articles and stories showing the unique perspective and zeal you have about your work. They also give daily or weekly insights and updates into what is currently happening in your industry. If every time someone comes to your website’s blog there is new content to read, it creates an ever-changing portal, which is never boring or static.

A business blog shows you live on the front lines of the field you work in, and that you are excited about this niche ‘world’ you live for. It also creates more opportunities for interaction between you and your clientele. Most importantly, it becomes a medium where people can learn about the prominent and pressing issues in your field of interest, and you are the source.

10. What better way is there to use multiple SEO keywords on a single website page?

This point is very simple, yet isn’t it always the case the simple things in life are overlooked whilst we traverse through nebulous clouds of human created complexity? Yes, basic SEO companies will be able to improve your page ranking by inserting links to related search keywords on your website. However, they will never be able to add as many phrases and terms as are inherent in a written article.

When you have a 500-word article on a web page, a large number of relevant terms are used (if the person writing the content is cognisant of which SEO phrases interested parties are looking for). Multiply this by the number of articles you have on your website and associated blog, and there is no better way to incorporate keywords for an internet business presence hoping to increase web traffic.

Note: Remember, the quality of your website content needs to be well researched, engaging, easy to read, current, well formatted, have hyperlinks (both internal and external), be authoritative, be the right length (not too long or too short), and have good titles and subheadings. Images with captions and video round out the equation. You will be ranked down for having poorly written content, plagiarised or copied text, participating in link stuffing, or engaging in link Spam.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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In this digital information era we now live in, you’ve probably come to realise how important it is to have a website presence on the internet. Some businesses only trade on the web, which means their website’s image and integrity can have extreme consequences. This is especially the case when customers are comparing your website to competitors in the same industry.

You have your website, and it may have cost a lot to build, but you found out not too many people were visiting. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM) come into play, and they are two rapidly growing industries. However, if other businesses in the same field as your own have also thought about or used SEO keywords to increase their page rankings on Google, what can you do to differentiate yourself from the mass of websites using the same keyword methods?

The answer is article content. Here are the ‘Top Ten Reasons Businesses Need Articles on Their Websites’: (Part 1)

1. Article content creates a unique brand image:

No matter the industry or market you work in, there is always competition. How do you show potential customers and clients you are the best company for the job at hand? The key is to differentiate your business with unique written content, so site visitors can feel the experience, knowledge and passion you have about your chosen field of work.

No two people in the world are exactly the same. You need to have articles showing your unique human perspective on the service or product you provide. If you are very good at one element of the work, and you believe others are less proficient, you need to express this in words. The result is a collection of stories creating a more holistic and genuine brand image for your business.

2. Articles are full of text that can be scanned by search engines:

When it comes to having a business online, one of the most important factors to consider is how to get more traffic to your website. Put in lay person’s terms, it equates to how you get people who are interested in your product to find your website, not to mention how to keep them there long enough to make a real connection.

Website content articles are essentially packed full of written text of which automated search engines can analyse for keyword phrases people are searching for. What better way is there to use multiple SEO keywords on a single website page? Normal SEO companies can help you with basic meta links, meta tags, meta names and meta descriptions attached to your web pages, but article content has these keywords naturally embedded in the writing.

A good website content writer will integrate SEO keyword phrases and terms fluidly into an article without affecting the integrity or authenticity of the writing. You would not believe how many search phrases can be utilised in a single 500-word blog post.

This pink fighting rooster means business. Does your website content fight to be unique?

3. You become a source of information, not just someone selling a product:

Once you’ve accumulated a stockpile of website articles, the internet community interested in your topic will come to see your website as a place to source information, not simply a retail site pushing a product. The more valid and valuable the knowledge and experience you can provide, the more customers will see you as an expert or genuinely passionate proponent of the industry.

If your competition only has basic static text on their website stating price and product information, a collection of article content automatically separates you as being the seeds compared to the chaff. When you then post new articles regularly, keeping clients up to date about what is happening in the field, it exemplifies your keenness about the work you do.

4. Your blog becomes a place of interaction and communication:

It’s good to put your most important articles on your website’s static web pages, but if you want to be considered a genuine contributor of content, you also need to have a business blog. Posting regular articles to your blog gives site visitors a chance to interact with you, as well as other visitors with like-minded ideas and interests.

When people comment on your blog posts and you reply, sometimes going back to their website to comment on their articles, you are creating a network. The more incoming and external links you can make with others, the better search engines like Google will rate you as being a knowledgeable source, and part of an inter-related community.

However, this is not the only advantage of having people comment on your blog posts. Besides creating a relationship with your clients, you can also learn from them and use the information gained to write more related content. If two or more external parties converse on topic on your website, it shows how your business has become a portal of communication, thus adding an entire new dimension to your online identity.

5. Articles are the best form of social media:

These days your business also needs a social media presence, as becoming part of networking communities like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious and Reddit is an excellent means of spreading your name around, and advertising your service.

If every time you post a new article on your blog or website you simultaneously post hyperlinks to that story via social media networks, the chance of curious people checking out your business dramatically increases. Posting a link to an entire article is much more powerful than simply stating a short idea in text, or putting up a link to a basic web page. People see you as sharing ideas. This builds up trust for your brand, as well as increases in website traffic.

Click here to read, Top Ten Reasons Businesses Need Quality Content on Their Websites (Part 2)’.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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I’ve just hooked myself up with a new RSS Reader. If you don’t know what an RSS Reader is, you can read this article I wrote a long time ago that might give you some basic insight into what a ‘Rich site summary’ or ‘really simple syndication’ is: ‘RSS is a Life Raft, Saving Us from a Sea of Useless Information’.

I don’t think anyone really knows which of these definitions the ‘right’ one is, but they both seem to fit well. To put it ‘really simply’, RSS is having a desktop program that (once your sites are chosen) automatically brings you the latest writings from bloggers, News sites etc. via feeds … What’s a feed? It’s a stream of information coming from a chosen site that will hopefully ‘feed’ your mind and make you more knowledgeable, and a wise human being. Hmmm. Well, that’s debatable – as one can subscribe to feeds from just about any blog or website. For example, if I want to get the new Garfield comic delivered straight to my ‘mailbox’ (They are a lot like an email system, and some are even integrated/configured together with your normal personal email), every time one is published – Bang! It’s there. The question is whether or not Garfield will feed my hunger for wisdom … I think the greater probability lies in that he will feed his fat gut with lasagne, while my mind stagnates and rots in its own slimy green ooze.

In my previous city of residence I used to work at an Internet company who was working on an RSS Reader. Subsequently I got to use the beta version and got my head around how these virtual ‘machines’ work. It’s been awhile since I’ve had one, and as I use a Mac I thought I’d have a look online for a free, easily downloadable RSS that was Mac compatible. I can’t say I found many that fit these requirements and so when I finally came across Shrook I grabbed it. Shrook’s nothing special, but it does the job. I can read new blog entries and News articles from all of my favourite sites that have feeds enabled (it seems not everyone out there does – why?!). I can also see photos and even watch videos (although that function hasn’t seemed to work very well as of yet). The only issue for me is the format. It’s non-adjustable, and the amount of space devoted to the actual written text is only about a third of the screen. Has anyone else had this problem? How are you supposed to read long articles and look at big photos when your total reading area is the size of an infant’s shoebox?

It looks like RSS Readers bring in their feeds in two different ways. One type is where you can see the whole text of each article, while the other is where you are only shown a small sample of a couple lines giving – you a taste of things to come if you click to go further. This type seems more practical to me because if you’re subscribing to multiple sites, and each is publishing multiple pages of new stories or articles on a regular basis, it gives you a chance to sort through them quickly, deleting any topics or stories that don’t pique your interest. We’ve only got so much time to devote to the pursuit of information gathering now don’t we?

So I’m wondering, ‘what kind of RSS Readers do you other people use?’ Are you happy with how they work? Can you imagine a better way to get to all the interesting subject matter that you desire? If you’re a blogger and you don’t have RSS feeds available for your readers, why? Are you crazy? I can’t believe some of my favourite blogs like Gaping Void: ‘Cartoons drawn on the backs of business cards’ don’t have RSS subscriptions; unless they do and it’s just not obvious enough for those whose brains aren’t able to utilise extra-sensory deduction.

If you’ve never used an RSS Reader and you like surfing the Internet for blogs and articles that relate to your interests or take you closer to reaching enlightenment, go and try one out. I think most of the popular ones would be downloadable from the Internet. I know some people who use Mozilla Thunderbird. How does it work? Please get back to me and tell me how your experience goes and whether or not it has made your life better, or conversely, turned your brain into even more of a puddle of oozing green slime.

Once again I’m out on the surface of the river of knowledge, using my staff to judge the depths of wisdom, and keeping my eyes open for sharp rocky obstacles.

Jesse S. Somer is back on the RSS life raft, searching for islands of interesting people and topics of conversation.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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