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How to Jump on the Blogging Bandwagon
by Merle © Copyright.

Blogs, Blogs; they're everywhere. Unless you've been living 
under a rock, I'm sure you've read about the uses for a Blog. 
With the increasing use of filters by email recipients and 
ISP's, many newsletter publishers are turning to Blogs as a 
replacement or in some cases as an add-on to ezine publishing.

So what exactly is a Blog? Basically, it's a web log that's 
updated regularly, sometimes daily, with the most recent entry 
posted at the top. Usually there's a calendar on the right hand 
side of the page where you can click on past dates to read older 
entries.

A Blog can mean different things to different people. To some 
it's like a personal journal recording their personal thoughts 
and daily events. You can share your views on different subjects 
with the rest of the world. Posts to Blogs are generally casual 
and not too lengthy. To others, it's a powerful marketing tool 
which can be used to bring people back to your website to read 
about what's new. All in all, Blogs are a more personal way to 
reach out to your customers, share information and build a sense 
of community all at the same time.

So now that I've got your attention, how do you create your very 
own Blog? Simple. You have two options:

1) Purchase Software
2) Use a 3rd Party Service

The look of a Blog is usually template-based, but if you know 
some HTML or CSS you can easily fine tune the look to something 
more to your liking. If you don't know a stitch of HTML, no 
problem, you don't need to.

Depending on the type of Blog service you use, making posts to 
your Blog can be done in a variety of ways: some with just your 
browser, others by email, and some even via telephone. Some 
Blogs even allow your readers to post their own comments and 
become an active participant.

Now that you understand what a Blog is, let's take a look at 
some software and services that are available to you.

Software

1) Radio Userland: http://radio.userland.com

Suitable for personal or business use, it's easy to use but also 
has advanced features for the more savvy user. There's a 30 day 
trial available so you can download it to try it out. If you 
like it, purchase it for only $39.95

2) Movable Type: http://MovableType.org

A customizable publishing system which installs on your web 
server. Free for personal use or non-profit use, but donations 
are accepted. Commercial users must pay a $150.00 licensee fee.

3) PMachine: http://PMachine.com

PMachine requires a hosted account that supports PHP and MYSQL. 
There are two versions, Machine Pro for commercial business use 
is $125.00. There's also a "Pro" version for non-commecial use 
or personal use for only $45.00. There's also a feature-limited 
free version available.

3rd Party Services

1) Blogger: http://Blogger.com

My personal favorite. Owned by Google. If you'd like to test 
the "blogging waters, this free service makes it a snap to 
set up your first Blog. Easy to register and you can start 
posting immediately. If you download Google's latest toolbar,
you'll find a Blogger button included, which makes it easy to 
add sites to your Blog with one click as you surf the Web. I 
love this feature.

2) LiveJournal: http://LiveJournal.com

Free for a limited account, but if you want to enjoy full 
features you'll need to pay $25.00 a year. This service is 
very much an interactive community of people.

3) TypePad: http://TypePad.com

A very powerful hosted weblogging service with a rich set of 
features. A basic weblog, including the ability to display 
images and enable comments, will run you $4.95 a month. If you 
register for a year, you'll save almost $10.00 in fees. If you 
need more features, there's a Plus account for $8.95 a month or 
Pro Version for only $14.95 monthly.

4) BigBlogtool: http://BigBlogTool.com

Buy 6 months of service for only $10.00 or 12 months for $15.00. 
Very user friendly and loaded with great features.

As you can see, you've got a lot of options when it comes to the 
world of Blogging. Another advantage of Blogs is they may help 
with "page rank" since search engines love content that updates 
regularly and is rich in "key phrase" content.

You can also create an RSS feed for your Blog to syndicate its 
content. A site like http://BlogStreet.com can help you create 
the feed. If you'd like to make your own feeds from HTML docs 
you might want to look at this free software: 
http://kalsey.com/tools/blogfeed . By offering an RSS feed, you 
allow people to add your Blog to their news reader to keep up 
with your latest updates, or they can use a service like
http://www.iupload.com/product/mailbyrss.asp and have your feeds 
delivered via email. Another RSS to email delivery service is 
Info Aggregator, which is located at http://rss.blogstreet.com .

If you look around the Net you'll find a lot of really cool 
tools to add functionality to your Blog. If you'd like to easily 
maintain a link list check out Blog Rolling http://BlogRolling.com . 
Once you register you'll be given a piece of code to add to your 
Blog. As you surf the Net and find websites you'd like to add to 
your "link list" just click the "BlogRolling" link in your links 
bar and it's done. Another free links manager tool is 
http://BlogLinker.com

How about comments? If the Blog service you're using doesn't 
allow for users to post comments, you can add that feature by 
downloading this free software: http://jsoft.ca/reblogger/

One of the drawbacks to blogging is that the user has to come 
to you and it's almost impossible to know how many readers/ 
subscribers you may have. That's why there's Bloglet 
http://Bloglet.com , which allows you to add an email 
subscription service to your Blog so your readers can register 
to be notified by email of any new posts and you can see at a 
glance how many subscribers you have.

So by now, you've made a decision on your Blog service and 
crafted this beautiful Blog that you want to share with the rest 
of the world. But how do you get the word out? A good starting 
point is to list your Blog with "Blog Search Engines." Here are 
a few resources to get you started:

BlogaRama http://blogarama.com
BlogWise http://www.blogwise.com/submit
Feedster http://feedster.com/add.php
BlogDex http://blogdex.net/add.asp
BlogMatrix http://blogmatrix.com/join
BlogStreet http://www.blogstreet.com/bin/add.cgi
BlogSearchEngine http://www.blogsearchengine.com

Here's a Big List of Blog Search Engines
http://www.aripaparo.com/archive/000632.html

Once you enter into the world of Blogging, you'll find it has a 
culture all its own. Many also say the act of posting itself can 
become almost addictive in nature as you learn to love this new 
way of instantaneously reaching out to your customers in your 
own personal way. So now that you know how easy it is what are 
you waiting for, go Blog!

================================================================
Merle operates http://www.EzineAdAuction.com "Where some of the 
BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made". Buy & Sell Ezine Ads 
in a live auction setting! Publishers sell off your excess 
inventory and Buyers pick up some Fantastic bargains. Free E-book 
on how to write "glowing" ezine ads.....Download Now at
http://www.ezineadauction.com/ebooks/greatezineads.pdf
================================================================


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