How To Get Started With a Blog and Blogging

Have you wondered about blogging? What is a blog? What will a blog do for me?

We will be talking blogs here over the next several months. Be sure you do not miss an article, sign up for our Enews and Updates in the box on the right side of the page.

Blogs can help you in your career. How?

  • Find your audience
  • Let others know about your products and services
  • Allow you to stand out above the crowd?
  • Find the easiest way to interact with your readers and potential readers?

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more information on how you get get started with blogs and blogging to move your career forward. Can’t wait? Contact us to get started now.

"Where Are You Today?" travel blog

“Where Are You Today?” travel blog http://www.aprilmwilliams.com

Do you have a blog? Click on “comments” at the top of this article and tell us about your blog. Let us know your topic and leave a link to your blog.

How often should I blog?

New Blog With Professional WordPress Theme

Our new blog built with a professional WordPress Genesis Serenity Theme from StudioPress is here. This website is built with a WordPress blog foundation then a Studio Press professional Genesis WordPress theme for additional functionality and design elements.

Not only do professional WordPress themes give a blog more more flexibility, they give a business more credibility.

What I really like about the StudioPress Genesis themes is the support forums. The users and designers are very responsive and helpful as I develop this site. These themes were also used to create our “Where Are You Today?” travel blog.

As for our new blog, let us know what you think, we always like to hear from you. You can leave a message on our voice mail at 414.604.6635 anytime.

For information on professional WordPress templates, check out the variety of StudioPress professional Genesis WordPress themes available. Disclosure: this is an affiliate link.

For more information on becoming a blogger and creating your own blog, just give me a call. I’ll even help you install your StudioPress professional WordPress theme you purchase through this link.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

Blog Rules on Endorsements

Did you know the U.S. government enacted new laws impacting a blog, bloggers and endorsements effective December 1, 2009?

These revised rules require anyone who blogs about products, including books, to disclose any connection with the company. If the blogger receives a free product to review or some other benefit from the blog post, they must disclose this fact.

Not disclosing a relationship with the product or service may result in fines.

Unmatched by anything
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheeErin

On occasion I am asked to review a product or service and give my opinion. If the product is of benefit to my target audience, I will investigate or test it out. If I feel the product or service is valuable to my readers, I will comment on my blog.

I only promote or cover any products or services I have used and believe in.

Are you a blogger? You can learn more about this law from information available on the FTC website.

A Picture is Worth 1K Words

The classic saying says “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. Your online brand includes your picture, avatar or graphic representation. What does your profile picture say about you?

When you post on a blog or website, your picture helps to enforce your message. Do you want to project a professional image? Choose an avatar that complements your message in a professional manner.

You can create your own unique Gravatar image to follow you around from website to website appearing beside your name when you write a comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

Gravatar pluggins are available for WordPress blogs and other websites. You can learn more at the Gravatar website.

You can select different avatars to appear for each email address. Just log into Gravatar and set up your free account. Add each email address you use and confirm by clicking on the email you receive in that account. Log into Gravatar to upload your pictures and images. Select the image you choose for each email account you registered.

Post a comment here and let us see your Gravatar.

Myself
Creative Commons License photo credit: erikpaterson

Ford Fiesta Movement Blog Campaign

Instead of using old marketing techniques, Ford is introducing the new Fiesta to the U.S. with the Fiesta Movement Campaign. During this promotion they are giving the cars to 100 bloggers throughout the country. During the next six months, Ford hopes the bloggers will promote the car to their followers through social networking.

My brother, in the market for a car heard about the campaign. There were a couple cars in the Chicago area but he could not find a way to contact the drivers. He called me for assistance.

I went online and found one of the bloggers Derek PrettyBoy Dow @Oprettyboy1 on Twitter. A few tweets between us and we had an appointment scheduled for my brother to view and sit in the car. Less than twenty four hours elapsed between my brother’s first call to me and his email to all thanking everyone for their help.

Thanks for your help Derek. Search for hashtag #fiestamovement to learn more.

Professional WordPress Blog Themes

Are you using a WordPress blog for Your Business? Are you using a professional blog theme?

Some of you may be just getting started with blogging and find your choice of free themes limited or cumbersome. If you are ready to take your blog to the next level, check out the professional themes from StudioPress. They have a variety to choose from and each can be customized to reflect your business look and feel. Colors, fonts and graphics can be configured.

I installed the Serenity theme on another blog site recently and like the ease of installation and support that comes with all the themes. Each theme comes with text and video tutorials to get you started. If you get stuck, send an email to the forum for a quick response.

Check out the professional looking themes from StudioPress available for your blog. Disclosure: this is an affiliate link. I will help you install this theme for free if you purchase through my link.
StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

What questions do you have about setting up or upgrading your business blog?

Blog 30 Day Challenge is On

Today, June 1, 2010 is Day 1 of the Blog 30 Day Challenge. My goal is to post 30 new blog postings here over the month of June. Inspired by Connie Green, I accepted the first Blog 30 Day Challenge in April. I had fun, learned a few tips and met interesting bloggers from around the world. I decided to participate in the new challenge as a way to stretch outside my comfort zone and learn more about blogging.

Web 3.0
Creative Commons License photo credit: videocrab

Over the past two years I started two blogs. I am learning more about working with WordPress blogs and I’ll be sharing this experience with you on this site in the near future. You will see changes to the look and feel of this blog also.

What do you to stretch outside your comfort zone? Where do you look for inspiration and information?

To find other bloggers who have joined the Blog 30 day challenge, search Twitter for hash tag #blog30

How Often to Blog

I am often asked, “How often should I blog?”

Those who study industry trends generally recommend bloggers post new blog entries at least every fourteen days. Why? Posting on a regular schedule keeps your content fresh and interesting.

Where Are You Today Travel Blog

Search engines love blogs for this reason. Google and other sites will visit blogs often to look for new content. The return to learn how often to expect new content from your site. By writing new blog posts on a regular schedule, you will train the search engines to return more often.

There are a few bloggers who post daily or even more often than that. Seth Godin comes to mind. His posts are short, maybe two or three paragraphs on a topic.

Whatever schedule you choose for yourself, be consistent. It is best to under promise and over deliver. If you write an extra message or two, it is a bonus!

Social Networking Class July 2010

New summer social networking for business classes added to our summer schedule. Check out these sessions in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. These sessions are designed for business owners and employees who want to leverage the power of social networking tools to gain market share. Learn how you can rank higher in Google and other search engine results without paying for these hits. See how you can use these tools to build relationships and community with your current and potential customers.

  • Blogging Basics – 7/12/2010 Students will need access to a web based email account (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc) to participate in this class.
  • I’m LinkedIn, Now What – 7/19/2010 Create a free LinkedIn.com account before class
  • Facebook for Business – 7/26/2010  Create a free Facebook.com account before class

Register early as these sessions have been selling out. Contact Elgin Community College for information on class fees, dates, times and locations. For information on upcoming classes and other events visit our website events page.

Autumn Social Networking Class Elgin ECC

The Autumn Social Networking schedule at Elgin Community College is here. This series called “Small Business Evenings” will be in Streamwood, Illinois. The classes are a joint partnership between Elgin Community College, Illinois Small Business Development Center and Village of Streamwood.

Limited seating available for these session. The last series of classes sold out. If you are interested in attending, do not wait to register.

CSS 310 Tweet for Profit
People are looking for your business on Twitter. Are you there to talk with them? Learn how to make the most of this micro-blogging tool. Create a free Twitter account before the class starts.
300 67693   7-9PM    9/1/10   $69.00

CSS 313 Facebook for Small Business
Learn how to leverage connections to build relationships for business. Learn about group and fan pages and more. Create a free Facebook account before the class.
300 67692    7-9PM   9/8/10   $69.00

CSS 311 Blogging Basics Small Business
Curious about blogging but you do not know where to start? In this session you will create your own blog and post your first online message. NOTE: To participate in the session, you’ll need access to a web based email account such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.
300 67690    7-9PM    9/15/10     $69.00

CSS 312 I Am Linkedin, Now What?
In this session learn how to build effective connections, get recommendations, get introduced to others, find customers and partners, use groups and stay in touch with other potential contacts. Create a free LinkedIn account before the class starts.
300 67691    7-9PM   9/22/10      $69.00

Registration

For more information and registration, contact Elgin Community College.

  • Online – Small Business Development category
  • In Person at the Main Campus
  • By Phone Call 847-622-3036
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