The Most Popular Blog Platforms
For the new blogger, choosing a blogging platform can be a challenging prospect. That’s because there are a wide variety of blogging sites available for you to use. Nearly all are free to use, but there also are some that require a fee. Even the free blog sites usually will offer to sell you extras, such as additional storage or paid themes.
By far, the biggest and most popular blogging platform is WordPress, This is is an “open source” site, which means it’s free to use and people can upload and download new tools to the site as often as they please. The biggest benefit of WordPress – and the cause of its popularity, no doubt – is that it is very easy to use. It also comes with tons of instructional videos and guides to help you get your blog up and running and looking exactly the way you want.
If are new to blogging or don’t have a lot of experience working with code and web page design, WordPress is a good choice because everything on the site is essentially point and click and drag and drop. You can choose from more than a thousand free “themes”, or pre-made templates that you can upload and simply use as your blog’s background. The site also offers paid themes or you can create your own theme, although this requires a little knowledge about CSS coding.
WordPress allows you to add custom functions to your themes and create plug-ins, such as linking your blog to your Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s easy to add polls or contests to your blog. Plus you can use keywords and tags to make it easy for users to search through your blog postings.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of WordPress is that it will host your blog for you for free. That means you don’t have to buy a domain name or rent space on a server, or even worry about blog maintenance because WordPress will take care of all that for you. Or, if you prefer, you can use the free tools on WordPress to get your blog set up and looking the way you want then migrate it to your own domain.
Another popular blogging platform is Tumblr. Like WordPress, it is free and is very easy to use, even if you are a beginner. But Tumblr is targeted more toward bloggers who want to share interesting things they find on the internet that they want to share with their followers, almost like a mixture of blogging and Tweeting.
Other popular blogging platforms include Blogger, ViralNetworks, and Instant Blog Subscribers. While all of these platforms have their benefits, they don’t offer as many options and flexibility as WordPress, so we will be focusing on WordPress for the remainder of this course.
What Should You Blog About?
You can blog about anything you want because there are no limitations on subject matter or content. Plus, you can create as many different blogs as you want for free, so if you prefer you can create multiple blogs on various subjects.
Because you probably will be writing fresh blogs regularly, you probably ought to choose subjects that are of genuine interest to you. It may be difficult to produce blogs about topics that you don’t care about, or have only a passing or tangential interest in. A better idea is to identify a topic or a couple of different subjects that you are passionate about and focus on develop those subjects.
For example, if you are mad about the movies, than a film blog may be the best option for you. Or if you are the world’s biggest fan of your local sports team, then you might consider producing a blog devoted to all the news, happenings and opinions of that team. Think about subjects that you could talk about all day: Those are the ones you will be most likely to be able to produce fresh, interesting and compelling content on a daily or weekly basis.
Your enthusiasm for your subject matter will make your blogs more appealing for readers. They are going to want to share in your passion and interact with you, exchanging stories and ideas and participating in your topics blogging community.
It’s a bad idea to select a blog topic just because you think it may be profitable, especially for your first blog. If you have no passion about a subject matter, that will shine through in your writing. For example, if you identify that blogs about Forex trading are among the most financially successful, but you know nothing about trading foreign currencies nor do you have any interest in the topic, then it’s probably not a good idea for you to launch a Forex blog.
Follow your passion and you will have a greater chance of writing a popular, successful blog that hundreds or even thousands of people are going to want to read on a regular basis.
You probably already have an idea about what you want to write about. But if you don’t, you can develop topics for your first blog or blogs by thinking about interests or hobbies you have had in the past. For example, if you favorite courses were in English literature, then you might consider producing a literary blog. Or if you were a passionate enthusiast of sewing and needlepoint, then those subjects probably would make a great blog topic for you.
You don’t even need to have a blog topic if you don’t want one. There are many bloggers who simply write about their daily lives, or their families, or their struggles to lose weight or get in shape. Others share their opinions on whatever subject happens to appeal to them on any particular day. There really are no limitations on what you can write about.
If you need inspiration, try visiting one of the big blog hosting sites, such as Blogger and WordPress. Both sites let you search for and browse blogs on any subject, or simply review the most recently published blogs. Once you find blogs that interest you, with the push of a button you can subscribe for free and each time a new post is published it will automatically be sent to your email inbox or RSS feed. Or if you prefer you can have blogs sent to your Facebook news feed or Twitter feed.
Often, once you find a blog you like it will lead you to another on a separate topic. This in turn can lead to more and before you know it you have spent hours reading and enjoying other writers’ blogs while gathering ideas and inspiration for your own.
The 5 Ws Of Ebooks
Anyone browsing the Internet for information quickly encounters ebooks. Sometimes those electronic books are clearly identified by name and intent but other ebooks are so cleverly disguised that a reader may not even realize they are actually a book and not a web site or some other electronic document.
What exactly is an ebook? An ebook is simply an electronic book. Many ebooks today are found in pdf (or portable document format) but you can also find various word processing documents being used as ebooks as well as programs and text files that serve as ebooks. There are also some unique programs that create ebooks in a format specific to that program.
Ebooks (just like their print relatives) are documents containing words in a convenient package. Ebooks do also have the ability to secure or protect access, which means sometimes you can’t print an ebook or copy it while others can be copied and shared easily.
While many professional publishing companies now create electronic as well as traditional books, many ebooks are now created by individuals or small organizations. The readers who use ebooks are just as varied as those who create them. You can find electronic books in physical and electronic libraries and bookstores as well as throughout the Internet.
Ebooks are used to share information, teach, entertain, and sell or promote — just as are their print counterparts.
Ebooks have many advantages over print books. They are much more inexpensive to produce and can move from idea to finished product much more quickly as well. This also makes ebooks much easier and more cost-effective to keep updated. In addition, ebooks allow greater interactivity with the reader and the Internet.
However print books still retain the advantage in some areas. Some ebook formats are restricted in use to specific types of computer programs, web browsers or operating systems. Also, while computers and electronic devices are pervasive in much of the modern world there are still areas where a print book is more convenient or feasible.
For Internet marketers, ebooks can serve a variety of purposes. Ebooks can be created and packaged as commodities to sell, but for many Internet marketers, ebooks that are given away are a much more powerful tool. Creating useful ebooks that share free information that is attractive to a specific target audience can be a powerful viral marketing tool.
Creating an useful free ebook can help provide valuable advertising for any Internet marketer by establishing credibility and expert status which may well lead the reader to then visit the author’s web site and/or sign up for a newsletter. Some ebooks are created with a “soft sell” approach to achieve that goal while others use a “hard sell” approach and go for a sale within the book itself. If you create an ebook that includes valuable information that can be freely exchanged with others then it can, and will be circulated around the Internet and continuously work to promote its creator’s web site and products.
Ebooks can be a very valuable Internet marketing tool.
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