The Antidote to Information Addiction (AKA Blogger’s Syndrome)

Here’s a couple of simple truths about blogging:

There is no ‘secret’ to the success of your blog.

There’s barely anything new at all to be said or read on the topic of blogging.

Once you’ve got a solid grasp on the fundamentals, it’s all about execution – gathering more and more information ends up being crippling and getting in the way.

Information Overload

As bloggers and business people, our Twitter streams, Google Readers and Facebook News Feeds are likely filled with all kinds of tempting headlines about secrets and methods to success – whether that’s getting subscribers, readers, traffic, you-name-it – there’s a ‘secret’ and a ten-point plan to getting it.

Except there’s really not. When you click on those links, how often do you actually find something new you can use? Personally, I find that to be rare. Yet we keep on clicking. Somewhere in our ‘lizard brain’ (as Seth Godin would say), we are looking for easy & magical answers.  We’re looking for something ‘out there’ which will save us from actually doing the work, and that will have instant and incredible effects.

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How To Update Your Readers When You Post A New Blog

If you’re blogging you want readers to be able to keep up with what you’re writing, right? Here’s an overview of some of your options for enabling readers to subscribe, along with pros and cons of both.

Via RSS feed

RSS forms the basis of most updating systems. Every blog has an RSS feed (simply the output of your blog) which automatically updates when you publish new posts. For WordPress blogs, the feed is usually located at: yourdomain.com/feed. Visitors can use a tool like Google Reader to subscribe to many different blog RSS feeds and receive all the updates in one place. Here’s a shot of my overflowing Reader with a few of the sites I subscribe to:
google reader  - rss

As a publisher you can use Google’s Feedburner service to manage your RSS feed.

Pros – Feedburner is pretty easy to configure and you can implement it with the help of a plugin. Feedburner also provides copy/paste code to place icons on your site to advertise your feed. Feedburner formats your feed cleanly so that it displays nicely in browsers (try looking at a raw RSS feed in Chrome….it’s unreadable) &  feed readers and the subscribe options are clearly presented. You’ll also be able to get stats on the number of subscribers you have and the click activity on your feed.

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Secrets To Writing A Company Blog

*This is a guest post from Steve Mellor, a writer who shares his insights into an effective process for bloggers*

If you’ve been following Lucy’s advice, you should already have your blog online. I’m sure it was as much of an achievement for you as my first site was for me. Now you are tasked with the job of filling it each day. Lets face it, we all have too much to do already. How do you fill your blog?

Before You Begin

There are a few things that you should know before you start blogging. It’s the basic stuff I tell business people who want a website.

  1. You have 8 seconds to grab your reader or they will leave your site.
  2. People don’t care about your company, they just want to solve their problem.

The interesting thing about these two sentences is that acting on the second will negate the first. If you create a blog post that is not focused on your company, but rather what your company can do for your customer, then your readers attention will automatically be grabbed.

With that in mind, lets get to…

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What Are Pingbacks And Trackbacks And How Do I Use Them?

The terms pingbacks and trackbacks are used almost interchangeably, and are pretty much the same thing on the surface. They actually utilize different technologies and originated for different purposes, but these days they are becoming more intertwined. I’m just going to call them trackbacks for the purpose of this post.

What are they?

Essentially both are forms of notifications or communications between blogs.

For example, if I write a blog post and in it I link to a blog post on another site, an excerpt of my post containing the link will show up on that blogger’s site in their Comments section, along with a link back to my post. Since trackbacks are handled through comments, the blogger gets to moderate it like any other comment. So he/she will be able to see that I referenced their blog and if they approve the comment I now have a link from their site to mine. This is a trackback.

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What A Blog Can Do, And What YOU Have To Do

First the facts:
1) A blog integrated into your business website can help your search engine rankings:
a) Search engines like regularly updated content. Many business sites are informative but not updated very often so are hard to keep at the top of the rankings. Blogs can and should be updated on a regular basis with fresh content.

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