Blogging

What Does Your Blog Design Say About You?

This is a guest post by Sam Denis who blogs about how to make money online at Venturalist.com

1. Minimalistic – Well, a minimalistic blog design may say two things about you. Either you are a minimalist or you blog for fun. How so? Individuals who are minimalists usually express themselves with minimalism involved in all aspects of their lives. They don’t like clutter. Everything they do revolves around getting things done with the least effort while obtaining the best results. Secondly, blogs that look minimalistic are usually owned by people who mostly blog for fun. They are not obsessed with profit or search engine optimization and therefore they avoid all of this. It does not matter to them if their blog is read by a million people or just one. Their only concern is having fun with their writing material.

2. Complex – I’m sure you have seen blog designs that are just very chaotic and complex looking. I am talking about the ones that have a million affiliate links and contextual advertising. Let’s not forget the million different sidebars and menus. Oh, by the way, these blogs have fancy headers with bunch of different color themes.

These blogs are usually owned by individuals who are all around the place. They are people with great computer skills and drive for money but at the same time may have some attention deficit issues. They want maximum optimization of their blog’s design both for the readers and search engines. They also want to optimize profits. That’s why they have all of those affiliate links along with contextual advertising all around the place. So, if you have such a blog, that’s what I and other visitors may think about you.

3. Use of Earth Colors – Believe it or not, some bloggers subconsciously end up picking earth colors for the blog themes. Individuals who do this are obviously drawn to nature and earth. These bloggers usually blog about political, religious and philosophical issues. These individuals usually use long sentences with fancy words, but do end up having excellent and interesting content.

4. Use of Unusual Colors – Some of the top blogs have unusual colors. What is an unusual color? For me, an unusual color is one that is, let’s say, different. It is sort of red or sort of blue, but not quite. It may look orange, but it is not quite orange. These are unusual colors. I won’t mention any names, but some of the top blogs out there have unusual color themes. These may be a combination of pink and green or a combination of orange and purple. These usually tend to be very technical blogs. They are usually about the latest iPhone app or Honda robot. So, individuals who use unusual colors are not necessarily unusual people, but they are interesting. At the expense of offending anyone, I will still go ahead and say that these are usually nerd bloggers. I consider myself to be one. Nerds who blog tend to use very strong colors because they want attention and they strongly believe in what they are writing about and want to teach others.

5. Artistic Headers – What can you conclude about a blog that has an artistic header? Two things. The blogger has a lot of money to spend or the blogger is talented enough to create a professional header. Usually, from what I have seen, the blogger is rich enough to afford a good header design. In this case, the blog is most likely high traffic blog and one that is pulling in a lot of money from advertising and affiliate marketing. If the header is very nice, I assure you that the blogger is blogging almost full time and that he or she is a known person in the blogosphere. However, if the header was created by a talented person, he or she is not necessarily rich and doesn’t necessarily have a blog that pulls in a lot of money either from advertising or affiliate marketing, but in most cases, the blogger will eventually succeed. A nice blog design and talented blogger usually equals blog success.

6. Blog Pop-Ups – Well, pop-ups are technically part of your blog design. So, what can you tell about a blogger from pop-ups? Before I go on, I want to tell you that when I say pop-ups I am talking about the ones that want your name and email address so you can get a free eBook. These bloggers are usually professionals. They know the importance of getting the emails of blog visitors and creating a huge list. So, if you have pop-ups for your blog, it means that you like money but you are still capable of providing people with free resources that can be used in making money or improving one’s daily life in some other way.

Four Essential Plugins for Your WordPress Website

WordPress was initially only popular amongst bloggers. The platform of choice for mommy bloggers, technology writers, and gossip merchants, the WordPress platform eventually swelled in popularity and versatility to power small business websites, large membership communities, and even government websites.

If you make the same website design and management decision as hundreds of thousands of other website owners – choosing WordPress, of course! – these four essential plugins will no doubt keep you happy, and keep your business profitable.

1. Feedburner

WordPress includes an RSS function by default, but it is weak, underwhelming, and quite frustrating for high-traffic bloggers and major website operators. While it is ideal for getting your content out there and viewable by five, ten, or even fifty people, websites with large readerships, customer counts, or client bases will doubtlessly want something a bit more powerful.

Enter Feedburner. Now owned and operated by Google – possibly the biggest name on the internet – Feedburner is the syndication platform of choice for millions of blogs and people-powered websites. If you are sending content out to a large audience, this should be the first plugin you even think of installing.

2. Akismet

No webmaster wants spam polluting their website. While WordPress does an effective job of eliminating spam when combined with a good comment plugin, it certainly is not the best anti-spam tool in the world. Thankfully, with a couple of changes and one quick plugin installation, your WordPress website can be safe, secure, and spam-free.

Akismet is by far the most powerful, popular, and user-friendly anti-spam application available for WordPress. If you are sick and tired of annoying “buy viagra” comment handles and spammy self promoters, this powerful anti-spam plugin is a recommended install.

3. All-in-One SEO Pack

What good is a great website if no one can find it? WordPress is an awesome platform for achieving a basic level of search engine friendliness, but it is by no means the be-all and end-all of SEO website platforms. However, with a couple of on-page tweaks and one quick plugin installation, you can be enjoying search engine traffic sooner than you expected.

There are a couple of SEO plugins available for WordPress, each offering value in different areas. For newbie marketers and inexperienced designers, the All-in-One SEO Pack comes recommended. Not only is this search engine optimization plugin user-friendly and simple, but highly powerful and very useful for ranking highly, quickly, and easily.

4. WP Super Cache

If you are experimenting with social media marketing, a dedicated cache plugin is essential. How would you feel if after all your hard work, your website is picked up by Digg, Reddit, or Delicious and ends up going viral, all to the ill-health of your server.

Protect your website from being dragged offline with WP Super Cache. The big online social resources offer huge amounts of traffic, but only for websites that are ready to handle it. This one WordPress plugin can save you hours of potential technical trouble, all for a quick one-minute installation time.

This article is written by Roko Nastic, a webmaster and blogger who writes for WebmasterFormat, a webmaster info website. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about web design, blogging, CMSs, writing and best web hosting services.

How To Write a Successful Keyword-Rich Title For Your Website

Your website traffic generation strategy quite likely contains content. However, if you spend time on your title page or home page, you can pull quality traffic there too. Here’s how to write a keyword rich title page for your website.

  1. Make a list of your primary and secondary keywords. These are the keywords people use to find your information. If you don’t know your primary and secondary keywords, spend some time using tools like Google’s AdWords tool, WordTracker, Market Samurai and other keyword research tools to find out what keywords and keyword phrases are used. Also consider installing something like Google Analytics so you know what keywords people are using to find your website.
  2. Categorize your pages including your home page or title page. Outline which pages you’ll use your keywords and keyword phrases on and how you’ll incorporate them into your copy. For your title page, you’ll focus on using your primary keywords and keyword phrases, just one or two, and you’ll choose a few secondary keywords to weave into the copy.
  3. Write your title page copy. Don’t worry about your primary and secondary keywords: simply write the copy or content. However, try to write your copy so that headings and subheadings are a natural part of the structure. These heading components of your copy play an important role with your keywords.
  4. Once your copy is written, return to it and look at it objectively. Where can you fit your keywords naturally? Focus on using your primary keywords in your headline, in your first paragraph and also where they fit naturally throughout your copy. Your secondary keywords will also go into the body of your copy.
  5. Go back and use your keywords and keyword phrases in your headings and subheadings. Search engine spiders look in these key places for keywords and keyword phrases.
  6. Test keyword density. Once you’ve gone back through your title page and placed your primary and secondary keywords in, test it. Use a tool like GoRank’s Keyword Density Analyzer and type in your domain and keyword phrase. It will give you a percentage for specific areas of your page including your copy. Experts recommend a keyword density of more than 5%. However, don’t get too carried away. You want humans to benefit from reading your page too.
  7. Make sure everything is coded accurately. You want to make sure your html code is accurately reflecting your keywords. Double check your title tags, your header tags, your meta tags for the page and your keyword tags. Also, if you have any images, give them a description and an image tag so the search engines don’t completely overlook them.

Writing a keyword rich title page is easy when you follow these steps. While preparing your page for the search engines, remember it is a human that buys your products or services. Make sure to write your copy for them too.

Engaging Your Readers Starts with Your Biggest Fan…You

It’s not always easy to figure out what is palatable when it comes to public consumption.  In terms of writing a blog, you have to ask yourself many questions.  Should I choose a topic that interests me, or one that might interest my readers?  Do I keep it strictly informative, or inject some humor and personality?  What, exactly, will engage the minds of my readers?  These questions are difficult, if not impossible, to answer at the outset of your blogging enterprise, but as time goes by, you will find that certain things appeal to a mass audience while others lean towards the niche.  What you really need to ask yourself, when it comes to writing your blog, is which type of reader you’re looking to attract.

Of course you want your blog to reach a large audience.  For one thing, if you’re trying to make money, you need that all-important traffic to stay constant (or better yet, grow) in order to draw the advertising dollars that keep you afloat.  That said, you really have to write something that appeals to you.  If you don’t care about the topics you’re covering, it will almost certainly show in your posts, and chances are, it will not engage your readers any more than it engages you.  So try to choose topics that you would like to read about while sticking to the mainstream whenever possible.  Most readers will forgive a little meandering (and even encourage it) if it means your blog is consistently entertaining.

In addition, you don’t want the material to be too dry.  It’s one thing to keep your articles informative, but remember that readers can probably go to any number of blogs that cover your chosen subject matter.  You want to make yours stand out from the crowd and that means putting something unique into the mix, mainly yourself.

Don’t be afraid to make it about you.  If you have an interesting opinion, it will attract more readers (and spawn debate), which will fuel your hits.  There’s nothing worse than being generic, so spice it up!  On that note, you also need to keep your posts new and exciting.  The best way to do this is to stay on top of current trends.  Checking out other blogs is not cheating, it’s market research and it’s absolutely necessary to know what your competition is up to.  You can also look to news blogs and sites like YouTube to cash in on what is popular now.  If your readership knows that they can count on you to keep up with whatever is in vogue, they will be more likely to come to you first, rather than flirting with other sites.

The main thing to remember is that what you want and what your readers want is almost the same.  If a topic interests you and makes you ask questions, chances are good that others in the blogosphere will feel the same way.  And if you take a strong stand on an issue, it’s bound to be more attention-grabbing than a wishy-washy attitude, so say it loud.  Over time, you’ll gain a better understanding of what works for you.  Until then, try anything and everything to keep it entertaining!

Guest post by Sarah of Maxi Dress Mania where you can find a long maxi dress for your body type.

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