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Blogging from Home Book by Janette Toral

"Blogging from Home" was written for easy reading and designed for the typical Internet user who wants to learn about blogging and its various use for business or personal intent.

Launched this book last August 2008 in response to the growing number of Internet users who are expected to become full-fledge bloggers using various blogging platforms and social networks.

As the book is expected to go out of print soon, I hope this page will provide a venue for exploration to anyone who wants to learn blogging at their own pace.

Info about the book is at http://www.bloggingfromhome.com/2008/07/book-launch-blogging-from-home.html

The book tackles the following:

Part I: Blogging 101

* Lesson #1: Blogging 101
o Definition
o Structure
o Purpose
o Finding Blogs
* Lesson #2: Blog Set-up
o Blog Information
o Platform
o Look and Feel
o Podcast
o Video blogging

Part II: Blog Ethics

* Policy
o Copyright
o Re-publishing
o Advertising
o Privacy

Part III: Content Development

* Purpose
* Blog Content Plan
* Tracking Topics
* Monitoring Blog Performance

Part IV: Promotion

* Ping Services
* Advertise
o Google AdWords
o Entrecard
* Events
* Contests and Writing Projects
* Social Networks
o Content Submission
o Syndicate Content
o Interact
* Giveaways
* Advocacy

Part V: Insights

* Blogging
o Handling Attacks and Criticisms
o Managing Time at Home
o Revenue Disclosure and Taxes
* Opportunities
o Consulting and Blogging Projects
o Book Publishing Based from a Blog
* Creating a Blog Advertising Network
* Creating a Blog Writers Network

Conclusion: Blogging Ahead

Book info:
92 pages
ISBN # 978-0-9805061-0-5
Distribution: Australia and Philippines

"Blogging from Home" was written for easy reading and designed for the typical Internet user who wants to learn about blogging and its various use for business or personal intent.

Launched this book last August 2008 in response to the growing number of Internet users who are expected to become full-fledge bloggers using various blogging platforms and social networks.

As the book is expected to go out of print soon, I hope this page will provide a venue for exploration to anyone who wants to learn blogging at their own pace.

Info about the book is at http://www.bloggingfromhome.com/2008/07/book-launch-blogging-from-home.html

The book tackles the following:

Part I: Blogging 101

* Lesson #1: Blogging 101
o Definition
o Structure
o Purpose
o Finding Blogs
* Lesson #2: Blog Set-up
o Blog Information
o Platform
o Look and Feel
o Podcast
o Video blogging

Part II: Blog Ethics

* Policy
o Copyright
o Re-publishing
o Advertising
o Privacy

Part III: Content Development

* Purpose
* Blog Content Plan
* Tracking Topics
* Monitoring Blog Performance

Part IV: Promotion

* Ping Services
* Advertise
o Google AdWords
o Entrecard
* Events
* Contests and Writing Projects
* Social Networks
o Content Submission
o Syndicate Content
o Interact
* Giveaways
* Advocacy

Part V: Insights

* Blogging
o Handling Attacks and Criticisms
o Managing Time at Home
o Revenue Disclosure and Taxes
* Opportunities
o Consulting and Blogging Projects
o Book Publishing Based from a Blog
* Creating a Blog Advertising Network
* Creating a Blog Writers Network

Conclusion: Blogging Ahead

Book info:
92 pages
ISBN # 978-0-9805061-0-5
Distribution: Australia and Philippines

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Blogging from Home Book by Janette Toral

  1. 1. bloggingfromhome Written and Published by Janette C. Toral * Australia * Philippines *
  2. 2. To my family who made me complete. To DigitalFilipino.com Club members who believed in me. To all bloggers whose passion and talent kept my feet on the ground. And to the Charles Stuart Library for its overflowing knowledge resources. Blogging from Home Copyright 2008, Janette Toral, All rights reserved. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or trans- mitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. When ordering this title, use ISBN 978-0-9805061-0-5 Publisher: Janette Toral • 4 Dominion Avenue Findon South Australia 5023 Australia • 51 Sapphire St. Fern Village Tandang Sora Quezon City 1116 Philippines Cover Design and Layout: Antonio Bucu • http://soundclick.com/XManila Feedback to the author: digitalfilipino@gmail.com Author website: http://www.bloggingfromhome.com This book is sold as is, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, respecting the contents of this book, including but not limited to implied warranties for the book’s quality, per- formance, merchantability, or fitness for any purpose. Trademark and service mark terms used in this book are the property of the trademark holders. Used of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of a trademark or service mark.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION Why call it Blogging from Home? I first heard of blogging around 1999. At that time, blog technology is not good enough to meet my needs for a personal home page and accommodate requirements to promote my first book. Today, blogs evolved as a medium for self-expression, knowledge sharing, advocacy promotion, debate on critical issues, events marketing, revenue generation, among others. In 2006, I released the free Blogging 101 Workshop Online trial e-book that intends to teach interested Internet users on how to blog. Improvements were made since, that led to this book today. The title, Blogging from Home, was inspired from my current lifestyle. I blog from home, whether in the Philippines or in Australia, and pursue my passions in life. For this book, in a simple manner, I will share how to do the following: 1. Create a blog to suit your needs. 2. Explore possible blog uses. 3. Provide insight on copyright and deal with those who violate it. 4. Discuss marketing practices to increase blog traffic. 5. Tackle 3rd-party advertising or revenue program for extra income. 6. How to create your own ad revenue program. Who is the author of Blogging from Home? Janette Toral is a freelance writer, blogger, trainer, consultant, and online community owner who spend most of her time at home, whether in Australia or the Philippines. She conducts training on blogging, e-mail marketing, e-newsletter creation, search engine optimization, website performance enhancement, e-commerce set- up, social network marketing, software process improvement, services exporting, among others. She has a blog advertising and content writers network that started last January 2007. Her full profile is posted at http://www.janettetoral.com.
  4. 4. Blogging from Home TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction .......................................................................................................3 Chapter I: Blogging 101 ...................................................................................7 Definition .....................................................................................................7 Purpose .......................................................................................................8 Structure .................................................................................................. 10 Finding blogs ........................................................................................... 12 Set-up ....................................................................................................... 14 Blog Information ............................................................................... 14 Platform ............................................................................................. 16 Look and feel .................................................................................... 18 Podcast .............................................................................................. 19 Video blogging (vlog) ...................................................................... 23 Chapter II: Blog Ethics ................................................................................... 27 Policy .......................................................................................................... 27 Copyright ............................................................................................ 27 Re-publishing .................................................................................... 30 Advertising ........................................................................................ 31 Privacy ................................................................................................. 33 Chapter III: Content Development ................................................................ 35 Purpose .................................................................................................... 35 Writing ..................................................................................................... 35 Tracking Topics ........................................................................................ 39 Monitoring Blog Performance ............................................................... 40 Chapter IV: Promotion .................................................................................... 47 Ping ........................................................................................................... 47 Advertise .................................................................................................. 48 Events ....................................................................................................... 53 Contests and Writing Projects ............................................................. 58 Social Networks ...................................................................................... 61 Giveaways ................................................................................................ 67 Advocacy ................................................................................................... 69 Chapter V: Insights ........................................................................................ 71 Blogging ................................................................................................... 71 Opportunities .......................................................................................... 75 Creating a Blog Advertising Network .................................................. 80 Creating a Blog Writers Network ......................................................... 83 Conclusion: Blogging Ahead .......................................................................... 85 4
  5. 5. BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) p34 p26 p46 p6 p70 5
  6. 6. 6 ion n it fi de pose pur search fi nd directories structure keyword title ion mat URL in for description rm free platfo paid se tu p platform video script tools podca program st platform loo tools CHAPTER I k-a nd-fe el customized BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) templates Blogging from Home
  7. 7. CHAPTER I BLOggINg 101 DefinitiOn What is a blog? a website a blog A blog is like a website but in a journal format, personal in its tone, and arranged according to date. While a traditional website usually has category or sections and formal in its presentation. Blog owners normally post articles or short notes they want to share, personal or otherwise. http://aileenapolo.blogspot.com is Aileen Apolo’s personal blog where she shares her personal insight and experiences. 7
  8. 8. Blogging from Home Companies use blogs to disseminate information and keep in touch with their customers. Blogs can also act as a website where information on products and services offered can be presented. http://ww.artisme.com.ph is a blog site of Gallery 7 Digital Studio promoting its various services. http://regaloservicenotes.blogspot.com is Reggie Bundang’s blog focused on new RegaloService.com product offerings and shopping tips. 8
  9. 9. Chapter i: Blogging 101 PurPOse People can find blogs useful for different reasons including: 1. Personal sharing - Some bloggers share their life, experiences, knowledge, photos, point of view, recipes, travel, adventure, among others. 2. Business - Entrepreneurs and companies utilize blogs to disseminate information and elicit feedback. Examples are: a. Educate the consumer - Give tips to help the person make better use of your products and services. b. Promotion - Spread the word about new offerings. c. Leadership - An informal way to keep in touch with customers and company stakeholders. Depending on company policy, this can be an independent and personal site. 3. Advocacy – Start or support a cause such as an awareness campaign or a non-profit organization. Aklatang Pambata (http://www.aklatangpambata.org) advocates to make teachers, parents and community members partners in promoting reading for children. 9
  10. 10. Blogging from Home struCture Parts of a blog Most blogs have the following common features (fig. 2): 1. Blog posts are arranged according to the date created and/or published. 2. A blog post can contain a combination of text, links to other websites, pictures, video, audio recording, among others. 3. Allow readers to post comments. Depending on the blogging platform, it will also show blogs that link to your post or otherwise known as trackback. 4. A short bio and photo of the blog owner. 5. Each blog post can be categorized (tagged or labeled). Clicking on these will show other blog posts marked with the same tag. 6. Clicking on the blog post title or timestamp will show the blog post permalink. 7. May contain advertisements, call for donation, or a wish list. 8. Fixed links to other websites or referred to as a blogroll. 9. Archives that visitors can click on and read past blog entries. 10. Search feature for users looking for something specific in the blog. 11. Subscribe to blog feeds through really simple syndication or RSS. 12. Feeds from other blogs. This is often done to promote another site. 10
  11. 11. 10 6 1 2 8 5 12 7 3 11 4 9 fig. 2: Anatomy of a blog 11
  12. 12. Blogging from Home finDing BlOgs Blogs can be a resource when looking for experiences or point of view on various topics. For example, you want to visit Sagada, but have no idea about it. You can search for this topic in blog search engines or directory. Oftentimes, these are unbiased and blog owners are likely to respond to inquiries on how they went about it. You can search for blogs using sites like technorati (http://www.technorati. com) or google Blog search (http://blogsearch.google.com). Another would be directories like MyBloglog (http://www.mybloglog.com). If you are starting a blog, it is practical to research other blogs, get inspiration from, and connect with them later on. 12
  13. 13. Chapter i: Blogging 101 DISCUSSION 01: 1. Do you find blogs useful? How? 13
  14. 14. Blogging from Home set-uP Blog Information When I was new to blogging, can’t help to just create one on the fly without giving much thought and adjust later on. But now, I prepare the following for easy set-up and registration: • Blog title or name – It must be easy to remember, descriptive, and can not be misspelled. “Reflective Thinker” is better compared to “My blog”. • Blog URL – Use one that resonates with the blog name. • Description – Gives an idea what your blog is all about or intends to achieve. “Personal reflection on books read and life in general” is better than “My Thoughts and Ideas.” • Keywords – You need to have 18 keywords ready for your blog. This will be useful to claim ownership for technorati (http://www.technorati.com) listing. Keywords identification can be done at Wordtracker (http://freekeywords. wordtracker.com). Validate if the keywords you desire are being search by people. Results you’ll come up with can guide in spotting potential topics or categories too. 14
  15. 15. Chapter i: Blogging 101 Blog Information for Set-Up Having the following information on-hand can be helpful when creating your blog and when submitting it to various blog directories. Example: Name of Blog: Blogging from Home by Janette Toral Website address: http://www.bloggingfromhome.com RSS feed: http://www.bloggingfromhome.com/feeds/posts/default Description: A journal of Janette Toral’s upcoming book that shares her blogging from home experience. Target audience: Home-based aspiring bloggers Keywords or tags: (Have at least 18 keywords ready) Blog marketing create a blog vlog Make money blogging how to blog blog directories Blogging advice blogging guides amateur blog Blog software what is a podcast what is a blog Blogging tips blogging podcast Blog work from home work at home Name of Blog: Website address: RSS feed: Description: Target audience: Keywords or tags: (Have at least 18 keywords ready) 15
  16. 16. Blogging from Home Platform There are many facilities online that can be used to start a blog, whether free or paid. If you are just a beginner and want to explore if blogging is for you, sign-up on any of the following services and try it out: 1. Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) - Blogger is a free blog site creation service. I find Blogger to be the most user-friendly to date that offers the following features: • Moderate comments to avoid spam getting published in your blog. You can also turn on word verification for additional security. • Option of hosting the blog in your server. • Use its default blogspot domain or buy a domain name and point to it. • Google recently acquired this site and offers easy integration with Google AdSense (http://www.google.com/adsense) for advertising revenue generation. • If trackback is enabled, you’ll find other blogs linking to your blog post. • You can assign an e-mail address to post blog entries through e-mail. • Blog template is customizable. http://www.bloggingfromhome.com is hosted and maintained in Blogger.com. Its old web address was http://blogging101workshop.blogspot.com. 16
  17. 17. Chapter i: Blogging 101 2. WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com) - Wordpress is another popular free blogging service due to its easy-to-use interface. It is ideal for those who don’t intend to monetize their blogs because of commercialization restrictions of the free hosting service. Otherwise, an option would be is to avail of WordPress from a web hosting service provider. This allows you to configure it further. http://workwithria.wordpress.com is a personal blog site of Maria Jose where she tackles various work and freelance concerns. It is hosted in WordPress. A unique and customized WordPress-based free blog service can be found at i.ph (http://www.i.ph). 3. social networks - There are popular blog services that has a social network component or vice-versa. This is where you can add friends and share updates easily. Most of them sends a notice to your friends list whenever a new blog, photo or video upload, and any profile update is made. This includes: • LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com) • Friendster (http://www.friendster.com) • MySpace (http://www.myspace.com) • Multiply (http://www.multiply.com) • Vox (http://www.vox.com) • Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com) • Uber (http://www.uber.com) • MSN Live Spaces (http://spaces.live.com/) 17
  18. 18. Blogging from Home 4. Paid blogging sites • Blogit (http://www.blogit.com) - If you want to blog and get paid, you can subscribe to this service. They charge a monthly subscription fee. Half of what you pay for gets distributed to those that you read, and that’s how you earn as well. • Typepad (http://www.typepad.com) - A fee-based blogging service. • 3rd party blog hosting services - Run a blog using WordPress as your platform and use for commercial purposes. Look and feel Most of the free blogging services today provide templates you can use. Just choose one that suits you and customize from there. Another option is to check out free or fee-based blog templates. The free ones often have mandatory links recognizing its creator. For companies, a popular choice is to have the blog theme customized. This is where you hire a person or company to create one for your blog. 18
  19. 19. Chapter i: Blogging 101 Legend Hotel Palawan (http://blog.legendpalawan.com.ph/) has a customized blog theme to reflect various travel stories to this popular tourist destination. Register your blog Once your blog is created, register and have it listed at Technorati (http://www. technorati.com). Other sites to consider are: • MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com) • BlogCatalog (http://www.blogcatalog.com) DISCUSSION 02: 1. fill-up the blog information set-up and share your thoughts. 2. Which blog platform will you use ? Why? Podcast A podcast is like a radio program where you can upload/download an audio recording of a conversation or speech. It has an archive allowing listeners to check out past episodes. Listeners can search for new podcasts online and download ones they are interested in. These can be played later on or be transferred to media players such as a mobile phone, mp3 players, and the likes. 19
  20. 20. Blogging from Home Podcast can also complement traditional text-based blogs. You can do a voice recording of your blog post for subscribers to download and listen to at their own leisure time. Podcast are often used for knowledge sharing, commentary, music news, entertainment, among others. finding a podcast These are sites where you can find, listen, and submit your own podcast for listing: 1. Podcast Pickle (http://www.podcastpickle.com) 2. Podcast Alley (http://www.podcastalley.com) 3. Podomatic (http://www.podomatic.com) 4. Yahoo Podcasts (http://podcasts.yahoo.com) 5. Odeo (http://www.odeo.com) 6. Podfeed (http://www.podfeed.net/) 7. Podcast Bunker (http://podcastbunker.com/) 8. Podcast.com (http://podcast.com 9. Apple Podcasts (http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcasts.html) A podcast should be formatted like a real program that has a format from opening to its closing. 20
  21. 21. Chapter i: Blogging 101 How do i put up a podcast? Plan your podcast program well. Decide on its: • Title - Give a good title that will reflect what your podcast is all about. • Description - A sentence or two giving perspective on the scope of your program. • Category - A theme for your podcast to guide potential subscribers. This is not limited to one category. • Frequency - A program schedule that listeners can look forward to. • Segments - Here’s an example of a podcast episode that I used to have at http://digitalfilipino.podomatic.com: - Program id intro - Opening and highlight what’s in the program today. - Sponsor plug - News and updates happening in DigitalFilipino.com. - Feature (interview: face-to-face or phone) - Ask Janette (answer a question received through e-mail) - Wrap-up - Sponsor plug - Closing - Program ID extro • Business model - Is your podcast a hobby or business? If for business and you are determined to do it regularly, you can charge for: - advertising spots - sales promotion - links from your blog - sponsored chat You can also join podcast advertising networks like PodTrac (http:// www.podtrac.com) and Blubrry (http://www.blubrry.com). These sites help podcasters sell advertising spaces in their program. To prepare a site, some ask podcasters to integrate a listener survey, code for traffic and download analysis, and creation of a media kit. To make your media kit complete, promote your podcast program and have it reviewed or be featured in publications. What tools are needed in creating a podcast? • A good microphone - This is plugged to your personal computer or get a digital voice recorder. Some cellphones have voice recording feature and equally useful for this 21
  22. 22. Blogging from Home purpose. There are also voice chat tools that allows you to record a call, like Skype (http://www.skype.com). • Voice recording software - Download or buy a voice recording and editing software. I use Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) for this purpose and it is also free. • Create an account with a podcast hosting service. Some of them are: - Podomatic (http://www.podomatic.com) - Odeo (http://www.odeo.com) - Podbean (http://www.podbean.com) - My Podcast (http://www.mypodcast.com/) - Podango (http://www.podango.com) - PodcastAloud (http://podcastaloud.com/) - SolidCasts (http://www.solidcasts.com) - TechnoChild (http://www.technochild.net/) - Gcast (http://www.gcast.com) Music - If you are going to use music in your podcast, make sure to get the necessary permissions and licenses. However, if you are on a tight budget, there are also free music that can be used and played in your podcast. You can get some from: 1. Podsafe Audio (http://www.podsafeaudio.com/) 2. Magnatune (http://www.magnatune.com/info/podcast) 3. Podsafe Music Network (http://podsafemusicnetwork.com/) Audacity (http://audacity .sourceforge.net) is a free audio recording and editing software that is popular among podcasters. DISCUSSION 03: 1. What podcast do you listen to? if none, search for some online and share. 2. What do you think are the challenges in podcasting? 22
  23. 23. Chapter i: Blogging 101 Video blogging (vlog) A video blog is like a TV program where you share knowledge, information, or simply entertain your target audience. It can complement a blog especially if you are featuring an interesting location, event, friend, personality, among others. With faster bandwidth available today, video blogging is expected to become more popular. http://www.thisiscoy.net started as a video blog of Coy Caballes when he was still in college sharing various adventures and activities. http://www.yougottech.com is a group blog where its authors contribute various videos on making technology understandable to readers. 23
  24. 24. Blogging from Home How do i put up a video blog? Items to decide on are almost the same as creating a podcast (page 21). What tools do you need to create a video blog? • Digital camera, webcam, or mobile phone with video recording feature. Pick one that is easy to carry and can record based on desired length of time. • Video editing software. Examples are: - Windows Movie Maker. A free software that comes with your Windows XP installation. It can be used for editing of video and audio. - Camtasia Studio. Another tool that you can use, especially for recording onscreen computer demonstrations. http://www.justin.tv/janettetoral is a live video site used by Janette Toral to show event coverage as it happens. • Video hosting account. You can open an account with sites like: - Justin.tv (http://www.justin.tv). Ideal for those who love live coverage and chat with audience. If you are not on the air, it will show past episodes and other videos you’ve defined. - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com). Almost every site today allows you to easily embed a YouTube code to share videos. - Revver (http://www.revver.com). I tend to be biased with Revver as the site shows ads that viewers can click on. This allows you to earn 24
  25. 25. and can be feasible if you have regular video updates and growing number of visitors. - Veoh (http://www.veoh.com). If you are offering subscriptions, Veoh can be an option and has format flexibility too. - Blog sites. There are now blogging services that allows you to upload videos too such as: • Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) • Multiply (http://www.multiply.com) • Uber (http://www.uber.com) Janin Toral (http://revver.com/u/janinislove) accommodates song requests and posts them at her Revver site. Christine Gambito, known for her online video blog Happy Slip (http://www.happyslip.com) became a sensation with her unique content. Video hosting sites like Revver.com and YouTube.com allows embedding of videos on hosted websites. DISCUSSION 04: 1. Cite some video blogs that you watch and enjoy. What do you like about them? 25
  26. 26. 26 violations reserved copyright creative commons disclosure policy advertising box-ads format text-ads reviews features e-mail privacy review information 3rd-party tools republishing wikipedia pictures CHAPTER II snippets BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) Blogging from Home
  27. 27. CHAPTER II BLOg ETHICS POliCy Although blogs are platform for freedom of expression, there are ethical and legal concerns that we must be sensitive to. Copyright All works, photos, and videos are copyrighted upon creation. It belongs to the person who owns or made it. Unless you give explicit permission or guidelines, no one can just re-use this. This is often referred to as “all rights reserved”. If you are willing to have your work be used by others, following a specific criteria, you may want to consider putting a Creative Commons license (http://www.creativecommons.org). Here are rights that you can choose from: • Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request. • Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work— and derivative works based upon it— but for noncommercial purposes only. 27
  28. 28. Blogging from Home • No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it. • Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work. What should i do if a blog violates my copyright or plagiarize my content? One dilemma a writer face when publishing quality articles and blog posts is being copied without permission and even attribution. This happened to me in the Philippine Internet Review blog (http://philippineinternetreview.blogspot.com). It is important to be vigilant, at a paranoid level, when it comes to protecting your original work. I use Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) to monitor interesting topics and those that I write about. With this service, I discovered my articles being posted in a newly created domain and blog site without permission. To run after a copyright violator and plagiarist, especially those who took effort of not disclosing their identity, these are the steps you can take: 1. Contact the violator and ask for your articles to be removed from their site. Point to the copied article website address and the original article (from your site). Just ask it straight. No need to be threatening or combative. If you get ignored, or did not receive a reply within twenty-four hours, take the next step. 2. Use the WhoIs service (http://whois.domaintools.com). Find out the violator’s identity, domain registrar, and web hosting firm serving their needs. Send an e-mail to the violator in response to your previous e-mail and this time copy furnishing the web hosting service. 28
  29. 29. Chapter ii: Blog ethics 3. Write to the web host provider. E-mail the one handling abuses and support but copy furnish the billing department as well. Keep on doing this for every additional violation you discover in the site. 4. ttack their source of income. Even if violators don’t disclose their identity A online, you’ll likely find it having advertisements in their blog site. Note that these ad placement sites have strict provision not be used in any illegal activity. Forward the e-mail complaint you have sent to the violator, registrar, and web host to the ad placement site’s complaints and support section to request cancellation of their account. 5. Alert other victims. You will likely find that the violator has not only plagiarized your blog or site but of others as well. As the culprit did not show the source of their articles, do a search on the title. Write to the author and alert of a particular article that got copied from their site. Share the actions you’ve taken and encourage them to complain. There are escalation steps that I can take further if the violator’s site continues to exist and plagiarize. Although usually, at this point, the blog will have been suspended. Always remain vigilant. At times, as one site goes down, the same copyright violator will have another new blog and re-do the illegal activities all over again. DISCUSSION 05: 1. talk to a blogger whose copyright was violated. What has he or she done about it? 29
  30. 30. Blogging from Home Re-publishing Can i re-publish a portion or full articles and pictures from websites or blogs, with link to original work and full attribution, in my blog? Re-publishing a paragraph for the purpose of giving a review may be possible and can fall under fair use. Otherwise, re-publishing photos and/or an article requires permission from the owner. This you have to be careful with to save yourself from embarrassment. Note that free blogging services and even web host services have copyright violation as grounds for blog termination. Can i copy articles from Wikipedia and post it in my blog? Recognize Wikipedia as the source and link to its original copy with all the necessary disclaimer. Copying articles from Wikipedia, word for word, is also considered as verbatim copying. Although it is not yet a policy, but rules suggested includes: • Retaining the title of the page as is. • Do not add, remove, or change any content or links. • You can add or remove images. As Wikipedia policies are evolving, it is best to read its verbatim copying guidelines at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verbatim_copying. DISCUSSION 06: 1. Cite an example of a blog post that quoted excerpts or pictures from another blog. explain if such is fair use or not. 30
  31. 31. Chapter ii: Blog ethics Advertising There are several ways that bloggers can now generate revenue online. This includes: • Direct sales - Sell products and services through your blog. • Advertising - Accept ad placements. Sample formats include: - Link per post. This is where a text link is added within a blog post. - Review or feature. Write about a product or service. - Sitewide ad. Image or text ad viewable on all pages of the site. Advertisements can come in the form of direct placement where the fee is paid upon agreement or approval. Examples are: Foreign-based • PayPerPost (http://www.payperpost.com) • ReviewMe (http://www.reviewme.com) • BlogToProfit (http://www.blogtoprofit.com/) Philippines-based • Mad Crowd Media (http://www.madcrowdmedia.com) • Blog Bank (http://www.blogbank.com.ph) • Blog2U Philippines (http://www.blog2u.com.ph) • Ad Per Post (http://www.adperpost.com) Another example is joining pay-per-click networks that compensates whenever an ad is clicked. • Google AdSense (http://www.google.com/adsense) • TTZ Media (http://www.ttzmedia.com/) • AdBrite (http://www.adbrite.com) 31
  32. 32. Blogging from Home • Affiliate program. Join existing website programs that offers incentive for every sales generated. Examples are: - Amazon (http://www.amazon.com) - LinkShare (http://www.linkshare.com) - Commission Junction (http://www.cj.com) Do bloggers who generate revenue from their blog should disclose? It is a matter of discretion. I believe that each blogger is responsible for their own blog. You can do whatever with it. Bloggers follow the policies given by the advertising networks and revenue programs they joined. If readers don’t like what they see, they can easily tune out by not visiting your blog anymore or unsubscribe from your blog feed. But in general, bloggers are: • Expected not to mislead readers by stating a product or service blogged about to be the best especially if you have not tried it. • Another way is to also talk about other market offerings in a separate blog post that readers can check out too. For instance, if you got paid to blog about a security software, create another post in the future that tackles other tools in the market. 32
  33. 33. Chapter ii: Blog ethics Each one of us can pick on an approach that will work best and be responsible for its benefit or consequences. DISCUSSION 07: 1. Compare the income schemes and policies of various blog advertising opportunities. Privacy When applicable, a privacy policy is highly suggested to be available in your blog or website. If you have one, it should provide clarification on the following: 1. Treatment of e-mail received - When someone e-mails you in relation to a blog post, do you publish them without seeking for permission? By default, e-mail should not be shared in a blog post without permission of the sender. 2. Review guidelines - If you accept products and services for review, state policies that you want to be cleared about to manage expectations. 3. Information that you collect - Most blogs today allow comments and user registration that gives bloggers access to information such as e-mail address, IP address, and the likes. Do you give this away or sell? 4. Third party tools - If you have embedded code and widgets in your blog that may collect information beyond your control, such as ad networks and traffic analytics that track clicks, you can mention its existence and data gathered that you don’t have access to. Note that majority of blogs do not need to have a privacy policy as they are mostly personal in nature. Those who participate in 3rd party advertising programs may be required by the networks they joined. DISCUSSION 08: 1. show an example of a privacy policy that you found in several blogs. What areas are tackled in it? Why are they important? 33
  34. 34. 34 objectives success-criteria purp technorati ose bloglines googlereader track googlealerts title headline outline writing labels follow-up references make-it-interesting nce rma perfo performancingmetrics mybloglog googleanalytics feedburner CHAPTER III BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP others by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) Blogging from Home
  35. 35. CHAPTER III CONTENT DEVELOPMENT PurPOse Objective When creating a blog, your objectives must be clear and should focus on the value it provides to your readers. Example: • Ranked and be regarded as number 1 e-commerce resource blog in Australia and the Philippines. • Publish 56 e-commerce feature stories in one year showcasing industry players and knowledge-sharing emphasis. Success criteria If objectives are clear and quantifiable, success criteria can be set to monitor its status. Example: • Must rank #1 in Google, Yahoo, and MSN for the keyword “e-commerce”. Attained by mention and natural linking by avid followers. • Publish 1 e-commerce feature story a week. • Attract 2000 mailing list subscribers in one year. 35
  36. 36. Blogging from Home Writing Based on your objective and success criteria, lay out a content plan that shall be key in establishing your blog’s credibility, identity, and authority. Blog content plan Depending on how organized you want to be in blogging, you can have a simple plan for your topics. Here is an example: topic title: e-Commerce Project Planning Headline: Creating a project plan is critical to an e-commerce website chances of success. Here are the steps to go about it. Outline: • branding • strategy • product plan • service plan • payment • logistics • technical requirements • fulfillment • marketing • maintenance How will i make this topic interesting for readers? In addition to practical advice, feature interesting personalities in the e-commerce field who can share their insight and experience. Take both SME and big business point of view for case studies. Follow-up and supplementary topics: Tags or Labels: Marketing e-commerce via social media social media, e-commerce Putting up an e-commerce site in a day e-commerce, website development Growth of e-commerce portals portal, e-commerce References / Link to: http://www.digitalfilipino.com 36
  37. 37. Chapter iii: Content Development You can also create your blog content plan in a spreadsheet format. Here is an example: Topic title E-Commerce Project Planning Headline Creating a project plan is critical to an e-commerce website chances of success Outline - branding - strategy - product plan - service plan - payment - logistics - technical requirements - fulfillment - marketing - maintenance Make it interesting In addition to practical advice, feature interesting personalities in the e-commerce field who can share their insight and experience. Take sole proprietor, SME. and big business point of view for case studies. Follow-up topics Marketing e-commerce via social media Putting up an e-commerce site in a day Growth of e-commerce portals Tags or labels Social media e-commerce e-commerce website development Sources or link to digitalfilipino.com Additional pointers: 1. Don’t hesitate to complement your articles with photos, audio or video interviews, poll, among others. 2. You don’t have to write down everything in a single article. Another option is to have a series. 37
  38. 38. Blogging from Home Blog Content Plan Name of blog: 1. Topic Title: How will I make this topic interesting for readers? Follow-up and supplementary topics: Tags or Labels: References / Link to: Name of blog: 1. Topic Title: How will I make this topic interesting for readers? Follow-up and supplementary topics: Tags or Labels: References / Link to: DISCUSSION 09: 1. Write your blog objective and success criteria. 2. Create a 5 item blog content plan that will help achieve your blog objective. 38
  39. 39. Chapter iii: Content Development TRacKing Topics Track blogs and topics that are similar to what you write about, those that inspire, and check if anyone has written about you or your post. Here are some ways to accomplish them: • technorati (http://www.technorati.com) - Add to Favorites feature. This allows the blog owner to know that you’ve added them and be able to read updates from all your favorite blogs. • Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com) - Use this service to search, add blogs, read, and even share them. You can create a blog roll showing the various blogs you subscribe to and this can be displayed on your blog. • google reader (http://www.google.com/reader) - Same feature as BlogLines. What makes Google Reader unique is that it allows you to share blog post you like through your blog. 39
  40. 40. Blogging from Home If you are just after specific information or keywords, you can also use: • technorati Watchlist (http://www.technorati.com/watchlist) - Add keywords you’d like to monitor. Afterwards, you have the option to save the RSS feed to your Bloglines or Google Reader account. As a result, whenever there are blogs that cite the keywords, you will get information. Note that Bloglines and Google Reader allows you to also search based on keywords in their respective site and subscribe to a feed for results monitoring. • google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) - This is a tool used to monitor keywords as they appear on news, groups or discussion forums, websites, and blogs. Depending on the setting, receive an e-mail that contains all the new content online that cite the keywords. If I’m interested to learn more, I just visit the website and read the full story. I find this feature very useful especially in tracking potential copyright violators and plagiarist. Setting-up of keywords related to the articles you’ve written is key to get this done. DISCUSSION 10: 1. What blog and topic tracking tools do you use? 2. What topics do you monitor? MOnitOring BlOg PerfOrMAnCe track your blog statistics or performance It is important for blog owners to track how their blog is doing in terms of traffic. Monitoring regularly will also give you an idea on topics that can use some follow-up based on its popularity. The following can be used to track your blogs. You can use one or all of them: • MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com) - I’ve been using MyBlogLog for quite sometime now. It is one of the few stats monitoring service that has a social network component. Here are some of the reasons why I like it: - Monitor your blog traffic. Its free package allows you to find out total visits, pages viewed, and where they end up going. If you are running advertisements, this is one way of monitoring clicks! - Know who visits your website and vice versa. By clicking on their faces or names, you’ll get to know them better such as their blog, friends, and community membership. 40
  41. 41. Chapter iii: Content Development - Let readers know what links are the most clicked in your blog for the previous day. - Create a community for every blog. Once you reach 10 members, your stats report will indicate what sites have your members been visiting. - It has an activity feed showing what your friends have been up to in their blog and other social networking services. - You can leave a message greeting to a fellow member in public or private. - Shows the latest post per blog. It is a good way to check if your RSS is working. - You can add tags in your home profile and at the blog level. See other blogs having the same tags too. - Add co-authors to help manage your community. 41
  42. 42. Blogging from Home • Performancing Metrics (http://pmetrics.performancing.com) - There are many features this site has that includes: - See visitors, time of activity, location, and actions taken on your blog. - Shows location of your last 50 visitors in a global map. - Top entrance and exit pages. - For subscribers, there is a spy feature that shows activity of visitors in real time. - Integrates with FeedBurner. Performancing Metrics can be very helpful when investigating activities that gives you a lot of concern such as multiple ads clicking from one location, spammers, unusual comments, among others. • Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics) - Its features are similar to Performancing Metrics except the spy feature. If you advertise through Google AdWords (http://adwords.google.com), you’ll be able to track the performance of ads as well. 42
  43. 43. Chapter iii: Content Development • Feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com) - Blog hosting platforms publish RSS feeds automatically. With Feedburner, your blog’s RSS feed is processed though it and used as default. Track and understand the users of your blog feed better. 43
  44. 44. Blogging from Home • Other tools you can check out are: - Counter Histats (http://www.histats.com/) - SiteTracker (http://www.sitetracker.com/) - Mo.itor.us (http://mon.itor.us/) - Stat08 (http://www.stat08.com/) - Website StatsCounter (http://www.websitestatscounter.com/) - StatCounter (http://www.statcounter.com/) - Lijit (http://www.lijit.com) 44
  45. 45. Chapter iii: Content Development How do you track incoming links to your blogs? I use Google BlogSearch (http://blogsearch.google.com) and Technorati (http:// www.tecnorati.com) to see who is linking to my blog or have mentioned my name, books, or projects in their blog post. In Technorati, a blog is given an “authority” score that is based on the number of blogs linked to it. DISCUSSION 11: 1. Pick a stats tool that you shall use for your blog. Why have you chosen this tool? 2. share your latest analytics report. 45
  46. 46. 46 technorati ping-o-matic ping tools ping ping-my-blog auto-pinger entrecard adverti se attend googleadwords organize events speak blog google give-aways facebook rea de r friendfeed advocacy syndicate digg interact social-network del.icio.us submit stumbleupon comments join s contest organize yahoo-groups google-groups ac t blogs inter msn e-mail gtalk newsletter CHAPTER !V yahoo BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP discussion group chikka by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) instant-messaging twitter micro-blogging Blogging from Home plurk
  47. 47. CHAPTER IV BLOg PROMOTION Promoting a blog nowadays requires a combination of efforts to get it known, especially if a blog intends to attract a global audience and its author is not known to begin with. However, the number of ways that you can plug a blog online is increasing. Just be creative, don’t be shy, and promote it with value. Ping Ping is an action we take to alert major directories and search engines of our blog updates. Some of them are: • Technorati.com - For example, if I made an update in http://www. bloggingfromhome.com, I can inform Technorati by visiting http://www. technorati.com/ping/bloggingfromhome.com. • Ping-o-Matic (http://www.pingomatic.com) • PingMyBlog (http://www.pingmyblog.com/) • Autopinger (http://autopinger.com/) • Google Blog Search (http://blogsearch.google.com/ping) Make sure to have your blog name, blog url, and really simple syndication (rss) feed url. The above distributes blog post contents to sites that accept updates. 47
  48. 48. Blogging from Home DISCUSSION 12: 1. Which ping services do you use? ADvertise Advertising is one way of promoting your blog. There are many 3rd-party advertising services to choose from. For example, there’s Google AdWords and Entrecard. Google AdWords Google AdWords (http://adwords.google.com) was able to provide an advertising engine for small and big businesses worldwide. This is a service that allows anyone to launch an Internet campaign, paying it at their own set budget. You can allot at least US$1 a day to promote your site through this system. Depending on keywords and ad exposure preference, your ad will appear in search engine results and content network. Those who are members of Google AdSense (http://www.google.com/adsense) are part of the content network. If an ad gets user interest, it will be clicked and bring visitors to your site. The beauty of Google AdWords is that you only pay when the ad gets clicked. When designing an ad campaign, you need to define: 1. Location where you want the ad to appear. You can pinpoint down to the city level. 2. Language used for the ad. A typical ad campaign is in English. 48
  49. 49. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion Ads appear on search engines and content network using Google AdSense. 49
  50. 50. Blogging from Home 3. Ad text to be used. Make sure it entices curiosity. Encouraging them to take action like buy, join, reserve, subscribe, among others. For ideas, run a search in Google.com and review the ads that appear. Learn how advertisers phrase their campaign and improve it. 4. Keywords need to be identified that best describes your service. For instance, if I’m promoting the book, the “Philippine Internet Review: 10 Years of Internet History,” my keywords will include Philippine Internet history, Philippine Internet timeline, e-commerce law, among others. You can use WordTracker (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com) to help pick popular keywords. You can verify this further through Google Trends (http:// www.google.com/trends) and find out the location where that keyword is searched for. 5. The advertisement can also appear in targeted websites using its placement tool. 50
  51. 51. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion 6. Upon definition of keywords, cite how much will you pay per click. Afterwards, Google will show estimated traffic, possible ranking of your ad and even recommend a daily budget. You can decide to activate it later. As days go by, you’ll discover how each keyword is performing, calibrate the ad, and adjust the budget from there. Those who were able to master the use of the system claimed that it has contributed greatly to their sales and brand awareness. Learn more about Google AdWords through its learning center at http://www. google.com/adwords/learningcenter/index.html DISCUSSION 13: 1. show an example of a google AdWords campaign you made recently. How did it work for you? 51
  52. 52. Blogging from Home Entrecard One of the communities I got the chance to join lately is Entrecard (http://www. entrecard.com). This site allows you to do the following: • Put an Entrecard widget in your blog. This is a 125x125 box ad where you display ads and accept card drops. • Each time you visit a blog that has the Entrecard widget, you can drop a card that earns both of you 1 advertising credit. You can use this to place ads to other participating blogs. Once approved, your 125x125 ad will appear for one day. They can also do the same to your blogs. • Create contests or projects giving away Entrecard credits. Some of the things you can also do are: • Instead of home pages, you can opt to promote a specific blog post such as a contest, an activity, or a feature article. • Cross-advertise. If you have several blogs, you can opt to cross-advertise especially when you just joined and the credit required is still low. DISCUSSION 14: 1. Have you tried putting an entrecard in your blog? What kind of placements normally attract clicks from fellow bloggers? 52
  53. 53. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion events Attend events If you are a frequent participant in events and conferences, explore blogging about it. However, if you are not invited, there’s no harm inquiring from organizers if they will allow bloggers to cover the event and do a write-up. Once you’ve established a good reputation for your blog, you’ll be invited directly in the future. Speak in events Nothing beats speaking in events as a means to create awareness about your blog. Find out events happening in your area and see if there’s a way that you can speak suggesting the usefulness of blogs in their field. Organize your own events If you have build expertise and following, explore organizing free and paid training workshops. This you can do alone or partner with a university or event organizer. This can also lead to consulting opportunities. i noticed that you organize blogging events and conferences. How do you go about it? What I list here is based from experience in helping out at iBlog: The Philippine Blogging Summit (http://www.iblogph.org) and you can pick those that is applicable. 53
  54. 54. Blogging from Home Planning the event (4 to 6 months before actual date) 1. Identify the organization that will spearhead the event - This is the body that shall be mentioned in official correspondence for sponsorship solicitation, speaker invitations, and dealing with suppliers. It must have a basic fund to cover cost of secretariat manpower and can pay advances to expenses as necessary. 2. Set the date and venue - Identify a date where most participants can attend and at a venue that is accessible to many. 3. Draft the budget plan - You need to manage your cost such as: • Food (with overflowing coffee) • Venue • Electricity • Manpower • Tokens for speakers and sponsors • Promotion collaterals such as posters, streamers to disseminate prior the event • Handouts / delegate kits • Name badges • Projection system rental • Sound system rental • Exhibitor table or booth • Other items you want to be included. 4. Form the team and assign tasks - Identify team members who will help out and assign the following: • Creating and updating the website • Speakers invitation and coordination • Campaign for sponsors and set-up coordination • Billing and collection of sponsorship fees • Supplier sourcing • Campaign for attendees • Participant registration and follow-up • Media invitation and coordination • Actual event set-up • Documentation and live blogging 54
  55. 55. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion 5. Identify the target audience - They will drive the content that you need to consider in the program. 6. Identify the topics - If it is for beginners, popular topics are: • setting up a blog - Ideally using popular tools such as Friendster, Multiply, MySpace, Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress, among others. The person must be able to explain the differences of these platforms and which is suited for specific needs. • Blogging do’s and don’ts - To help new bloggers in conducting themselves online and make them aware of the risks they need to manage, should they be more adventurous with it. • taking photos for blogs - Share tips on how to take pictures for blogs, online storage, and protection from copyright infringement. • Blogging success stories - This can be a combination of newbie and established bloggers to share their experience. Success can come in any form such as revenue gained, recognition, or be able to create awareness on critical issues that influence its outcome. • experience sharing on blog set-up - Bloggers from different profession or status can share their personal experience in putting up one and their lessons learned too. You can feature a student blogger, mommy or daddy blogger, photo-blogger, among others. • Audio and video blogging - You can invite podcasters and vloggers to discuss how to set up a podcast and create a video blog. • legal issues in blogging - Invite a blogger/lawyer to talk about legal risks in blogging such as libel, slander, copyright infringement, among others. * If the event is designed to attract novice and established bloggers, include advance topics such as: • Blog monetization - Various ways that bloggers can earn through their blogs. Invite a panel of bloggers to share their experience. • Becoming a professional blogger (problogger) - Invite probloggers to talk about how they started and steps taken to become one. • political and Elections Blogging - How blogs can be used to share political developments and be a tool for transparent elections. * Make sure to have slots allotted to major sponsors in your program. For a one-day event, this is usually 2 spots. 55
  56. 56. Blogging from Home 7. Invite speakers - Identify speakers who can credibly talk about the topics. As your ongoing campaign will also promote the speakers’ blog, make sure to get resource persons who are willing to promote the event as soon as they agree to speak or accepted the proposal. If you are based outside the capital and organizing an event in your area, prioritize getting local speakers to give them the exposure they need. 8. Develop a sponsorship offer - Once your budget is clear, create a sponsorship package that will allow you to cover its cost. Make sure that the benefit for each category is distinctive. Prioritize in getting the major cost items (such as food) be funded and let the rest be flexible. For every sponsorship package, identify potential sponsors to be approached. Note that your target sponsors receive so many proposals everyday. Make sure your offer stands-out and be too hard to pass. Send it early. 9. Campaign for sponsors - Identify a solicitation period and the date where you’ll start inviting participants. This way, sponsors can decide on or before that date and be included in your announcements once they commit. 10. Supplier sourcing - Look for suppliers to deliver on your budget items. Do this early and get the best deal. Attendees campaign (2 to 3 months before the event) 11. Campaign for attendees - Provide details about the event through as many of your blogging friends. Have a common blog or website where interested participants can sign up. If your event is more than one-day and expected to attract participants from various locations, give details on hotels where they can stay and get special rates as well. 12. Send out a press release - Get local TV and print publications to write and cover your event. Send out a press release. 13. Have meetings regularly - Team members should meet regularly so that problems can be resolve once spotted. 14. Get volunteers - It is amazing to note that the blogging community can be supportive. Do not hesitate to ask for help with the registration and photo coverage of the event. At the event week and after 15. Coordinate the ingress / exit - Send out memos to sponsors one or two weeks before the ingress date so that they can aptly prepare. Suppliers should have delivered the items ordered before the event date. Have food ready as well for sponsors and suppliers during set-up. 56
  57. 57. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion After the event, proper pack-up of equipment used, trash disposal, kits left out, among others should be done properly. 16. Manage the event - On the event day, if things are planned and executed accordingly, you’ll be mingling with speakers, suppliers, team members, and participants on a relaxed mode. 17. Celebrate with the team - Have fun after the event and celebrate. 18. Post online coverage - Blog about the event, upload speaker handouts, and collate media and blog coverage. Sponsors need this information as one way to measure the effectiveness of an event. Sample of an event summary. 57
  58. 58. Blogging from Home 19. Post-event meeting - Discuss event turn-out, coverage, and any other items that need action such as thank you letters, sponsorship fee collection, tokens, and supplier payout. 20. Plan for the future - Do you want to do it again? Identify a target date where you can meet, sit down, and discuss it soon. DISCUSSION 15: 1. Cite events that you get to participate lately. 2. Has this helped you and your blog? How? COntests AnD Writing PrOjeCts Do you join blog contests and writing projects? It depends on how credible the contest is. But in general, I don’t see any harm from joining. It is not so much about winning but the free publicity you get by just being listed as an entry. If your blog wins in a competition, the greater exposure you’ll get. Contests and writing projects come in many forms. They are usually intended to promote a site, product, cause, among others. Prizes range from cash, recognition, ad spots, awards, travel, and other possibilities. The easiest ones would include just responding to comments while others would require blogging about it. For writing projects, research and preparation is going to be necessary. The ones I was able to join and got a prize include: • Post a comment - Just Creative Design (http://www.justcreativedesign.com) was celebrating its anniversary and created a contest giving away a free logo design (cost a lot if outsource). Parties interested to join were asked to post a comment and why they need a logo. The site owner, Jacob Cass, picked a winner based on the comments received. My entry won. • Search engine ranking for a keyword - Two years ago, I joined a search engine ranking contest where entries have to rank high for a particular keyword, ituloy angsulong. To win, a lot of participants used their blog as a medium and created more. I won prizes in the Yahoo and Google category. Joining this contest was most productive as I was able to put my search engine optimization skills to the test and learned more in the process. Got projects too. 58
  59. 59. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion • Write a blog entry - I recall joining a ProBlogger (http://www.problogger.net) group writing project where we have to create a list. Although I didn’t win, I was able to meet a lot of blog readers who joined, attract visitors, and got ideas for my own writing project. Organizing your own contests and writing projects Joining contests can be worthwhile if you like to learn and organize one in the future. I ran online contests for the past two years and it can be nerve-wracking as its success is measured by the number of entries received. This is what I learned: • Have a clear description and judging criteria. Explain what it is all about, why are you organizing it, timeline, and how winners will be determined. • Relevance to your blog and those who joined - It can be simply for fun or supportive of a cause. • Have nice prizes. The harder the criteria for winning, the more exciting the prizes should be. These are usually solicited from sponsors. Make sure you have this covered before you announce it. 59
  60. 60. Blogging from Home The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs is an annual writing project that started in 2007. It encourages bloggers to write a post citing new blogs that has potential. • Campaign well. Utilize various means to attract entries. All the promotion strategies discussed in this chapter can be used to get entries. adv ert it bm su ise giveawa y events ate up d er int e ac t nc ou ann Promoting a writing project mindmap by Janette Toral http://www.influentialblogger.net DISCUSSION 16: 1. Mention contests and writing projects that you joined lately. Were they worthwhile? Why or why not? 2. Have you organized your own writing project? if yes, what was it all about? How did it go? What did you learn? 60
  61. 61. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion sociaL nETwoRKs Social networking online has grown and become more dynamic. There are many ways we can connect with people and exchange content. Success in social networks depend on: • The quality of information you share online. • The kind of friends or contacts you make and gradually expanding them. • Increase relevance in the long run through sincere interaction. Content Submission Bloggers can promote their content by submitting it to social bookmark sites online. Popular in this area are: • StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com) • Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us) • Digg (http://www.digg.com) • Propeller (http://www.propeller.com) • Mahalo (http://www.mahalo.com) • Ximmy (http://www.ximmy.com) Submit relevant content on a regular basis. When recommending your personal post, make sure that they are worth it so that your reputation amongst friends will not be affected. Check out the submission of your friends and give a vote or favorable comment if you find it useful or interesting. You can expect others to give you the same if your content is equally good or even better. 61
  62. 62. Blogging from Home DISCUSSION 17: 1. Create an account on any of the above sites. submit content, add friends, vote on submissions, comment. Does this had any positive effect on your blog or profile in the site? How? Syndicate Content Really simple syndication or RSS allows blogs to propagate its content to various services. It now goes beyond your traditional blog tracking tools (see p39). Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader) As I have multiple blogs, it will be complicated promoting them all at the same time. Instead, I subscribe to all my blog feeds at Google Reader and share my new post through it. Google Reader gives a code that you can paste to various blogs and websites to disseminate shared items. 62
  63. 63. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion The RSS link of your Google Reader shared items can also be ported to various content sharing and syndication services instead of adding all your blogs one by one. Such as: • Facebook Notes (http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?ref=sb) This Facebook service allows you to import a blog. New posts appears in your profile and can be seen by friends. 63
  64. 64. Blogging from Home • FriendFeed (http://www.friendfeed.com) A content sharing service where almost anything that has RSS can be ported. You can also add friends, follow users, and post comments. DISCUSSION 18: 1. Have you tried sharing new post from your various blogs through google reader? if yes, give the link. 2. Where do you syndicate your feed? Which do you find effective? Interact Of course, nothing beats making personal announcement about your new blog post and related matters. It can be sent through the following: • E-mail. Send the whole blog post or partial snippet through e-mail. If sending to a lot of individuals, put their e-mail addresses in the blind copy (bcc) portion. • Newsletter and Discussion Group. You can use Yahoo Groups (http://groups.yahoo. com), Google Groups (http://groups.google.com), or any auto-responder service to get people to subscribe and receive updates. 64
  65. 65. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion • Instant messaging. Send a quick note to your Yahoo Messenger (http:// messenger.yahoo.com), GTalk (http://www.google.com/talk), MSN (http:// messenger.msn.com), Chikka (http://www.chikka.com) friends by updating your status and spread the word about your new blog post. 65
  66. 66. Blogging from Home • Micro-blogging services. Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) and Plurk (http:// www.plurk.com) are fast becoming popular these days and used to interact with friends, fellow bloggers, and readers. Reasons include: - Serves as a virtual chat room where you can post messages that can be viewed by everyone. Or addressed to friends and be seen by mutual contacts. - Disseminate job openings, new blog posts, and interesting articles. - Means to remind people on events, contests, and writing projects. - It has flexibility. Can be fun and non-formal whenever you like. - Big issues and even intrigues get discussed. Allow contacts to exchange perspective. - Have closer connection as I get to know the people I follow better. • Talk to bloggers. Check out new, those who visit or post a comment at your blog, and your favorites. Write on their guestbook or contribute in the discussion. By becoming visible and relevant, they will likely do the same and be able to attract new readers too. 66
  67. 67. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion DISCUSSION 19: 1. Which interaction option works best for you and your blog? How? giveAWAys Giveaways are fast becoming an important attraction to any blog. You will find some giving away books, e-books, shirts, and the likes. A lot of us like free stuff especially when it is something really valuable. Their relevance is dependent on the time it was given and what the wants (rather than needs) of the target audience were then. This I learned from Seth Godin, author of the book “Free Prize Inside”. Should you decide to explore making giveaways, have a clear goal on what you intend to gain in return. For example, I was creating free e-commerce, software process improvement, and blogging workshop in the past. My goal then was clear and that is to test the size of the market for an upcoming book. At the same time, I am offering services in relation to the topics I write about and this helps for competitive positioning purposes. 67
  68. 68. Blogging from Home Manuel Viloria (http://www.manuelviloria.com) is a professional blogger sharing his insight on problogging and traffic-boosting tips. He gives free reports regularly through his blog. DISCUSSION 20: 1. What free giveaways have you signed-up for online? Which did you really find useful? 2. Were there any giveaways that disappointed you? 68
  69. 69. Chapter iv: Blog Promotion ADvOCACy Another way that a blog can be promoted is by having an advocacy or supporting one. This can include: • Disseminate information about a charity or non-profit institution and their services. • Encourage qualified volunteers to help out. • Raise money for charity donation. • Donate proceeds of your blog income to charity. • Help out in making call for relief donation. CRIBS Foundation (http://cribsfoundation.org/blog/) offers a foster care program and helps out abandoned and abused children. DISCUSSION 21: 1. Cite some blogs well known for supporting a charity or advocacy. What has that blogger done to demonstrate support? 2. How does supporting an advocacy or charity help a blog or blogger in terms of promotion? 69
  70. 70. 70 criticism attacks debate taxes time home challenges stress blo g gin g marketing seminars schools speaking ities setup opportun events writing consulting blogs research publishing e-books books network terms rates g pitch advertisin blogs edge advertising terms lessons writers bloggers recruitment interview opinion articles research-based CHAPTER V sponsors writing BLOggINg FROM HOME MINDMAP fix by Janette Toral (http://www.bloggingfromhome.com) rates traffic Blogging from Home ex-deals
  71. 71. CHAPTER V INSIgHTS This chapter is not the kind of truth that is cast in stone. However, you can reflect on it and recognize that there are folks, like me, who has this point of view on a wide variety of issues. BlOgging Handling attacks and criticisms Gone are the days when blogging used to be a simple journal. Through it, you can discover new friends, peers, clients, critics, and even enemies. Each one of us is entitled to our own opinion. These are beliefs that are not necessarily founded on proof or certainty. When it comes to blogs, opinions are out in the open and can also be subject to feedback, positive or negative. Different people have their own style in giving perspective on issues. Author Karl Albrecht, in the book Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success, reminds individuals to treat people how they want to be treated. In giving criticism, popular leadership author John Maxwell said, be objective, pinpoint concern carefully, provide encouragement, and don’t sound insulting or attack personally. If done properly, your effort will be more than appreciated. Otherwise, you might get ignored, attacked by readers and other bloggers, and expose to legal risk by being charged with libel. The more popular you become as a blogger, the more criticism you’ll get. If you believe that the concern given has basis, constructive with an effort to help, and the person presents it in good faith, take the time to interact, learn, and appreciate the feedback received. Otherwise, best to disengage at the moment and understand the situation much better. Reference: Criticism that counts (http://maxwellinmanila.blogspot.com/2008/06/criticism-that-counts.html) The Platinum Rule (http:/ /www.influentialblogger.net/2006/12/platinum-rule.html) DISCUSSION 22: 1. Cite a blog post you read recently that can be classified as an attack or criticism. What is your assessment of it? 71
  72. 72. Blogging from Home Managing Time at Home Although blogging can be done comfortably at home, manage so it doesn’t affect obligations and time spent with family. There were reports lately featuring bloggers who got sick and hospitalized as they were not able to sleep, eat, and rest properly. Remind yourself to: 1. Have a time limit for your activities such as turning off the computer at a designated time and get 6 to 10 hours of sleep a day. Set your Internet and blogging hours at home like 3 to 8 hours daily. 2. Spend quality time with family members. Avoid the situation at home, that you hardly talk with family and always busy in front of the computer. 3. Pursue non-Internet interest. This can be taking up a sport, going to the gym, join a craft group, gardening, reading books, among others. These can be good blogging topics too later on. 4. Eat properly. Set proper time for cooking (if you are in charge of it) and have your meal or snack without doing anything else at the same time. DISCUSSION 23: 1. How much time do you spend online? How much of it is spent on reading and writing blogs? 2. How do you balance your internet and non- internet lifestyle? Revenue Disclosure and Taxes i discovered that some bloggers post the amount of income they earn online. Am i required to do the same? No. I observed that only those who have a blog theme of “making money online” do. They share their lessons learned and reflect on what programs were effective. Disclosing how they are doing can boost the credibility of the blog and its blogger. How do you go about accepting advertisement payments as an individual and issue receipts? Are bloggers required to pay taxes? With numerous advertising and income opportunities available today, bloggers can participate and even earn from it (see p31). Fees are usually transmitted through bank deposit, person-to-person payment, money remittance service, credit card payment gateway, Paypal, among others. 72
  73. 73. Chapter v: insights If we are serious in growing ourselves as a professional, it is important to record income and expenses properly. Pay taxes when it is due. There are also awards and financing opportunities, you may want to avail later on, that requires proof of the earning claims we make and nothing beats a tax return document. It also reflects our personal financial ethics. From personal experience, in the Philippines, you can: 1. Register a business as a single proprietor (http://www.dti.gov.ph) or corporation (http://www.sec.gov.ph). If your business will have significant volume and have partners who are willing to work hard, then this may be the best way to go. 2. Register as a professional (BIR form 1901) with the tax office (http://www.bir.gov.ph) I registered as a professional consultant. Through it, I am able to issue official receipt (BIR form 1906) to any payment received and file income reports. 3. Ask corporate clients to issue the payment to you as a professional deducting all taxes concerned and get proof if. For number 1, another way to do it is partner with a company who can accept payment in your behalf. I use this model whenever I have trainings and corporate members signing up in my community. For number 2 and 3, the payments we receive get deducted with professional taxes. Ask corporate clients to issue a 2307 (Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source). This is a supporting document to a submitted annual income tax (1701) filing. BIR has rules on tax deductions and documentation requirements if income exceeds 750,000 pesos in a year. This includes having a Certified Public Accountant issue a certification attesting to the accuracy of your 1701 or annual income tax return. If annual fees collected exceeds the amount of 750,000, you will be converted to VAT status and charge 12% VAT on top of your fee. Below that is the usual 3%. This is remitted to the BIR monthly. Consult an accountant for more information. In Australia If you are dealing with Australian businesses, it will be important to get an Australian Business Number (http://www.abr.gov.au/) in addition to your Taxpayer File Number (http://www.ato.gov.au). Otherwise, any Aussie business can deduct 46.5% on fees payable to you. 73

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