Blogs for Business – The Never Ending Story

In 1984 – the tale of a boy who steals a book called The Neverending Story” was brought to life on the movie screen.  In the movie, the book magically transports the boy to the fantasy world of Fantasia where a dark force called “The Nothing” threatens it’s existence.  In the end – the boy’s mere wishes banish the dark forces from not only Fantasia but also in the “real” world as well.

Two decades later – it takes more than mere wishes to banish the dark force of “The Nothing” from your business web presence.

A few years ago – I began introducing business owners to a new type of web presence for their business – a business blog.  These business blogs were great for businesses on so many levels.  Because of the flat site architecture imposed by the blog – the search engines have an easy time getting around inside the site to index the content.  Because content is easy to add – updating and adding new tasty “spider food” for the web bots is a snap.

Yet even though business blogs are great marketing tools for business owners,  I still recieve constant “push back” from business owners when it comes to launching a business blog.

A recent conversation gave me fresh insight as to the “why” behind the push back regarding business blogs.  This prospective client had a vision of her business web presence as a “finished” product.  She thought of her web site like a movie – a movie on VHS – with a definite beginning, middle and end.  She didn’t want the visitor to have the option available on DVD’s to “select a scene” – she wanted the visitor to read the opening page followed by the next page in the navigation menu, and so forth.

It’s nice to dream – and it’s nice to wish.  However, wishing and dreaming won’t change the way things REALLY work on the web.

The way it really works on the web is that every page of your web presence is a potential “entry” page.  If your web presence were to take the form of a house –  every room would have a door which leads outside but no windows.  Second story rooms would also have doors which lead outside – although in the words of ancient Saturday morning cartoons, “Watch that first step – it’s a loo loo.”  Those precarious second story rooms would be pages that are more than 1 click from any other page.  Internal links on your site are the interconnecting hallways which allow visitors to navigate your site without going “back” outside.

Admittedly – this doesn’t sound like an appealing physical structure for your business – but online this is “reality.”   Any attempts to block those doors to the outside and “funnel” visitors through the site according to your plan will only result in the dark force of “The Nothing” taking over your site.

The key to a healthy, wealth producing business website is to be constantly creating new rooms for visitors -and search engines alike – to explore.  If each page on your business website is a room – then your goal should be to set up a table in the center of that room – and provide cookies, finger sandwiches and a wide assortment of beverages you know your visitors will enjoy.

Which is why – blogs make such a GREAT foundation for your business web presence – especially if you’re a small business owner.  Your business blog allows you to create new rooms at will for your business home on the web.  If you discover a new customer base – you simply start creating new content on your business blog – creating new rooms filled with tasty morsels loved by humans and search spiders alike.

As for the client who wanted to create a static web presence with only one way in – think of what would happen in the “real” world if a room was devoid of light and the only way in or out was through an inner hallway.  As for the once tasty morsels on the tables in the various rooms – well, since those won’t be consumed by either search engine spiders or visitors – they won’t be tasty morsels for long.

Your blog for your business allows you the opportunity to easily create lots of compelling content for prospective clients/customers.  Admittedly – business blogging is like writing the Neverending Story – but the good news is that the more content you create – the more tables you set out for prospective customers/clients who visit your business blog  a.k.a. web site.

Fast Track to Blog Success – 100% Discount Ends Friday

Want to get bloggers “buzzing”?  Sell your blog for big bucks. That’s what happened when John Wu sold his Bankaholic blog to Bankrate for a cool $15 Million.

Cath Lawson did the math and the 26 month old blog netted that blogger a cool $3348 per hour.

If you’ve been blogging for more than a few months, you may be wondering what makes the Bankaholic blog worth so much money.  After all, the blog doesn’t get NEARLY the number of comments that Cath’s blog gets.  There’s very little “community” on the blog – unlike on Cath’s blog, yet it’s raking in a record setting payday for the blog’s developer.

The key to the Bankaholic’s success is simple:  KEYWORDS. The Bankaholic’s blog expertly targets the right keywords – the keywords a mega-site like Bankrate wants.  If you’ve run a PPC campaign lately, you’ll see where the $15 Million dollar price tag for a blog that ranks well on highly sought after keywords might actually be considered a BARGAIN!

I love it when people “do the math”.   SEO Diva did the math and showed how a $20,000 domain name can be a BARGAIN in the end.

The Bankaholic blog sale happened just as I was in the middle of doing a review for one of my 8 Week Power Blog Launch customers.    Turns out, people want to fix their blogs in 30 minutes or less, not 8 weeks.  (Mock Horror and Surprise!).  So, as I was in the middle of creating this “Fast Blog Fix” report, the Bankaholic sale was announced.  I put my 30 Minute system to the test and applied the principles to the Bankaholic blog.  The results are revealed in “Fast Track to Blog Success”.

I’ll be offering this product for sale next week, and  I’ll definitely be adding it as an “added bonus” for people who buy the 8 Week Power Blog Launch.

However, this week – until October 10th (Friday), you can get this report for free.  Just use the code CathRocks and click the button below.  This discount code will give you a 100% discount on this report.

Add to Cart

I was going to email it to people who commented, but the file has lots of screen shots which makes it too big to send via email. So, I’ll be using e-junkie to give this away!

Click the button, enter the discount code and it will be yours for the taking.  I’m sure you’ll find the analysis of the keywords used on the Bankaholic blog fascinating AND educational.

Of course,  when it does go for sale – there will be an Affiliate Program so if you recommend the book to family, friends and blog readers you grab your piece of the action.

What is YOUR blog worth?

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is getting inundated with the news of the 1 Man Blog Sells for $15 Million Dollars

The question at the back of EVERY blogger’s mind when they hear news of a blog sale is, “I wonder how much MY blog would bring?”

For John Wu, the sole author of Bankaholic the answer is a cool $15 Million.

Darren reports:

the blog has an Alexa ranking of 42,168 and averages less than 20 comments per post. The blog does seem to rank very well for a lot of bank terms and I’m sure drives targetted traffic.

That’s the key – TARGETED TRAFFIC.  The blog buyer is Bankrate, which is acting very much like Google in this acquisition.  It’s the old,  “let someone ELSE do the hard work” and then the big guy with deep pockets sweeps in to collect.    John Wu got to perform the hard work – building up the blog over a period of 26 months.  He did the digging and Bankrate gets the gold and John’s labor is being WELL rewarded with a ROI of $576,923 per month for his efforts.

However, I think it’s important to remember that he didn’t launch this blog with this payday in mind. Instead he set out to create a tightly targeted blog focusing on attractive and tightly targeted keywords.  Now a big player wants his blog and is paying handsomely for John’s hard work.  Congratulations John.

Oh, and in a medium where community is everything, this blog is a bit light on that aspect.  Blog posts don’t get a lot of comments, but the blog delivers where it counts and that’s on desirable keywords and targeted traffic!

Oh, and for what it’s worth – Bankaholic is a WordPress blog.

Blog Diagnostic Tool – Wordle: Graphic Illustration of Your Blog’s Content

One of the basics of internet marketing is to recognize that keywords play a huge role in internet branding. Use the right keywords, and your blog will find it’s target audience quite easily. Use the wrong keywords and you’ll be left wondering why more people aren’t reading your great blog posts.

With that in mind, here’s a great big SHOUT OUT of thanks to Liz Strauss over at Successful Blog for introducing me to the very cool and very illustrative blog toy er, I mean tool Wordle.

Wordle will take any text you plug in and create a cool graphic of the keywords contained within. You have the option of choosing random text or you can pull text from your blog’s RSS feed.

Wordle To the left is the Wordle created from this blog’s RSS feed.

Not only is a Wordle visually interesting, your blog’s Wordle can also act as a diagnostic tool to answer the question “Why is my blog not working?”

In order for your blog to act as a powerful marketing tool, you must focus your (marketing) message. Focusing on the right keywords is the key to blog marketing success.

For example, you can see in this blog’s Wordle image, that the keywords “marketing” and “credibility” play a HUGE roll in the content on my blog. That’s good because those are the drums I tend to play in my business… so seeing those words appear in “large print” pleased me.

The term troll is a bit more prominent than I’d like… but then again, it’s a recent blog entry AND contained in the title as well. I have to ask myself, what did I expect that particular post to do to my Wordle?

Since I didn’t know about Wordle then, I couldn’t have thought much of it. However, the World of Wordle can help you to get a clear perspective of the role each post plays as you build your blog.

THIS IS A KEY TO SUCCESS AS YOU ARE CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR BLOG!

Often, when we’re blogging, we don’t think of each blog post as a part of the whole. It’s easy to view blog posts as standing on their own – when in fact, they are essential building blocks. Each building block makes a contribution to making up the blog as a whole.

From the looks of my Wordle, I’ve been focusing upon marketing, selling and credibility here. The whole troll reference actually fits into that theme if you read the post. I just should have named it something different to fit better into my Wordle.

So Wordle gave me good news on this blog. On to my other blog holdings.

I have another blog where the focus is EXCLUSIVELY upon using blogs as marketing tools for small businesses. The Wordle for that blog is pictured to the left.

Seeing the Wordle for this blog allows me to see that I’ve been focusing too much on the “blog” aspect of blogs as marketing tools in the content on that blog.

Not exactly good news, but useful news none the less.

With this information, I know that I need to start featuring the “marketing ” aspect of blogs in this blog’s content.

On to my next blog.

I created the Wordle to the right for the blog which I use to promote my book (Beyond Niche Marketing).

Ouch again. It looks like I’ve been focusing a bit too much on that magical marketing word “free” in the content of that blog and there’s not enough focus on the term niche. On the other hand, marketing is playing a nice role on the keyword parade for that site.

Informative and fun. This is great.

Just for kicks and giggles, I ran a Wordle for a client who is complaining that her blog isn’t “working” for her. She’s frustrated and with good reason. So I ran a Wordle for her blog. The image to the right is what Wordle came up with for her blog.

Now, if my client’s business had ANYTHING to do with gardening, then this Wordle would be a good sign. But her business isn’t gardening nor is it focused on kitchens. Her ideal prospective clients wouldn’t use ANY of those words featured prominently on her Wordle to find her business.

Unfortunately for this client, her business is about journaling and writing as a way to achieve spiritual healing. I say unfortunately because it doesn’t appear that is what she’s communicating via her blog.

So I ran a Wordle for another client who specializes in executive training.

To the right is what her site looks like through Wordle’s eyes.

Rosemary will be pleased to see how the posts on Miboso Training are shaping up, thanks to this tool!

Then, just as I was playing with this tool, another client emailed me and was wondering why despite consistent blogging her blog isn’t picking up any readers. So, I ran a Wordle for her blog.

This client’s business is coaching people who want to lose weight. Lose weight is an important keyword for her and is included in her domain name.

Yet, when you look at her Wordle, the word YEARS is by far the most prominent and coach does play a big role too. Weight does make it to the hit parade, but lose doesn’t.

Maybe it takes a bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to build a blog full of the “right” keywords, but I’m really beginning to see a pattern here.

For kicks and giggles, I run Darren Rowse’s Problogger.net site through the amazing Wordle tool.

Hmm… blog, people, community, readers, campaign, advertising… those all look like words that readers of Darren’s ProBlogger.net blog would want to read about.

What I find fascinating is Darren has achieved this ideal “mix” while having guest bloggers write posts for his blog. Now THAT is the sign of a blog with a vision!

Wordle may appear to be a “toy” but in fact it’s a powerful blog diagnostic tool you can use to see the word picture you’re building with your blog’s content.

Take your blog’s content for a Wordle spin and see what you can see. It might be the best blog diagnostic tool yet!

Blogs are Blogs…and success doesn’t matter what platform you’re using…. right?

Blogs are blogs… that’s what you’d think.  WordPress, Typepad, Blogger blogs or even the free WordPress.com blogs… they’re all the same… right? That’s exactly what I used to think but over the past two years, I’ve seen evidence to the contrary.

For example, I had one client who launched a blog on a VERY popular free blogging site on my recommendation.

The plan was to use the free blog as “bait” for her sales site.  The plan was to capture targeted reader’s attention and those readers who were interested would click through to the frequent references to her sales website.

She blogged faithfully five times a week for several months yet when I ran the log files on her sales site, we didn’t see a single visitor come from her free blog to the sales site. In other words, over a 6-9 month period not a single person who visited her blog and went on to visit her web site.

I probably need to add here that I wasn’t using a free “stats” counter to track this or even the free “stats” programs available for free.  I was using ClickTracks to analyze her log files.

Sure, my client didn’t have any $$$$ invested in development, but she was investing a significant amount of time and effort in her blogging efforts. (She’s a WONDERFUL writer, by the way!)

During this time, I launched quite a few wordpress self hosted blogs for other clients and the testimonials from those clients were outstanding.

It just didn’t make sense.

These people weren’t blogging as faithfully as the client with the free blog nor were they as well “branded” and tightly targeted as she had been with her free blog yet they were seeing growth in their blogs.  There was increased traffic with the self hosted blogs (something we couldn’t track with the free blog) but most measurably, when you typed the other blogs into Google, the blogs came up in the search. That was NOT the case when it came to the free blog.

Because of what I had seen, I advised my client to launch a self hosted WordPress blog. (I’m a boot strapping entrepreneur’s best friend and hate to recommend spending money they don’t have to spend.)

Her WordPress blog was hosted on it’s own hosting account with a unique domain name pointing to the WordPress software installation. Her new blog acts as a “free standing” web site.

I then installed the necessary plug ins to “pump up” performance and she went to work blogging on the new site with the same enthusiasm she was on the free blog.  She put a notice up on her free blog account that her blog was “moving” but we didn’t port the content over to the new blog.

Within 6 weeks of launching the self hosted WordPress blog, we began seeing traffic from her new blog coming to her HTML “storefront” web site.  That traffic started as a trickle and is now a reliable flow.

Thanks to this hard working client, and a few that aren’t quite so enthusiastic when it comes to their blogs…. I’ve developed a real confidence in recommending that small business owners make the investment to launch a self hosted WordPress blog.

So these days, when I get an email asking me how to create an “alive and vibrant” blog presence, the first step I suggest is to launch a self hosted WordPress blog. It’s been my experience that free blogs just don’t get the attention they deserve or the traction for long term growth.