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Reviews- A mere Link Building and Money Making Tactics.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hey I am doing reviews for a $100. You will get a permanent link from my blog, and lots of fame and traffic. Alright here is another deal, give me a reciprocal review and we can exchange links in a cool way. Oh wait, I am running a review me contest. I will give you life changing makeover.

Yes, this is a good and appreciable way of making money and increasing your Technorati ranking, but did you think about this...


How many of you read these reviews? Do you trust them to give you back true details? Or do you feel such reviews are cheating you? About myself I do not even care to give a look. Getting any favor in return, takes out the authenticity from the core of it.

Reviews- What and Why?

Reviews were originally written to give a fair opinion about a product, a service, or any website/blog. Where you, the reader got an insight or authors mind, the good stuff and even the bad about the thing being reviewed. Where things were being examined by a serious eye, appreciated, criticized, commented and corrected. A good review helps others find the products or helpful links that are best for them. You can help inform someone about a product or service or blog/website you have experience with, and find useful or not worth it. Remember, your reviews hold your evaluation.


AutoCar Magazine *(this is just used as an example which obviously is a built up scenario and contains no truth, hence no legal liabilities)* is going to adopt the same method now. It is going to review for cars and other vehicles, for $10,000,000 which most obviously would be in praise. So how many of you are going to read it for true insight about cars. How will this step effect its reputation? For the blogs who review for money or a link back, do you know your readers trust you? It may even put a bad mark on your position in front of them. First of all, nobody as far as my opinion is concerned will be interested in reading biased reports and secondly if the review turns out to be too good, than what actually the site or the product is, it will put a question mark on your image.

When its such a worst case scenario why do they do it?

Sites which pay or ask for reviews in return of some favors want to gain popularity and inward links, without even realizing the fact that except a layer of superficial fame and a bit better Technorati ranking they have nothing to gain. This is no strategy but a short term tactic. You may think it is mutually agreeable for those reviewing and those getting reviewed, so there is no point to raise, but then this may hamper general opinion of the reader about you. Atleast in my case it does. The moment I realize the exact motive behind a biased review, it turns me off. It raises unworthy opinions about both writers and the people being written about.

What do you think? Do you like reading paid reviews?Are you amongst the people practicing it, and have a reason for it? Be open, share it here. Its your opinion, come out with it. Tell the blogosphere what you want to read about.


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posted by Divya Uttam, 9:04 PM | link | 25 comments |

Making it Big with Opportunities

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A famous Saying- “Opportunity knocks on your door only once.” Successful are those people who shirk of their inhibitions and grab it. Does being an Opportunist- the key to Success? A friend of mine popularly known as the Antman, has written a well thought article on being The True Opportunist. He has made us notice what a opportunist is like and what it takes to be one. In short are the following points he took up:-

1. Be open to thoughts, changes and opportunities. Remember the single knock on your door.
2. Being accessible to people, you would only get a knock when you have a door, better still keep your doors open to let opportunities walk right in.
3. When you think you know it all, you are out of the game, because this attitude makes you immune towards learning new developments.
4. Do not be in a defensive position, but take an attacking edge. People who play the game with an attitude of not loosing, never win.

A well written post but it kept me wondering about what kind of and how many opportunities should one grab. It is not possible to go for each and everyone of them, and then giving your full metal to it. Opportunities have to be worked upon to create business out of them. Grabbing every by neck wont help you solve anything or get anywhere. Being accessible and open will help you stay update with the daily happenings near you and you will always gain a piece of knowledge added to you after every such circumstance.

Opportunities come and go but going forward with the right ones, is where you need to expertise in and making it a success is your responsibility. Being an opportunist also brings in the habit of jumping from one to another without fulfill the destiny of first one.

Consider a scenario where you own an advertising company and are working on an assignment, but while doing so you receive a call from Adobe. They want you to make an ad for their printers. You should actually go forward and say yes to it. If you take time to think about it, it will go away. Your reaction should be instant. But before you start working on it, make sure you have completed and wound up the job you had at hand.

Now in case you gain popularity, and new doors keep on opening up for you, it is upon you to decide where to set a line. Seeking opportunities also mean lots of work and lots of new responsibilities. You have to decide how much you and your company can handle at one time. Its not always about taking opportunities when they come, but changing them into Business. What you cannot do is leaving the present one for the next one, its about taking up a project and shaping it into your future.

Happy Blogging,
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 11:05 PM | link | 6 comments |

Create successful Contests for more Traffic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How many contests have you participated in? How many have you won? Have you created one as a blogger? I have seen many bloggers organizing contests and awarding expensive gifts, but yet not able to attract enough participants. Here is how to make it a Success.

Why to create contests?

Adding liveliness to your blog is one thing, but the inner motives of bloggers are getting more links and popularity through their Blog. The main factor on which online businesses depend is Traffic. With a right blend of usefulness and promotion you can do wonders with contests. You can get incoming links, free traffic, more subscribers and a name under your pocket. What more does a blogger wants? Contests provide a good platform for Viral Marketing. It depends upon you how to cash it.

How to chose the right Topic?

This is the most tricky part. Choosing a topic, is the first step to a Successful Contest. Any topic could be a right topic if its self propagating, and the end result is useful to its readers. Review my blog and win the contest, directly seems self promoting and adds no value to the blog of the participant. As a contest holder, tell me how many of you read paid reviews or ‘You review me, and I review you’ posts. This seems a direct way to gain popularity and increase your Technorati ranking. Rather than running a contest pay your reviewers straight away, or exchange links.

Your topic should be such that a maximum number of people can participate. It should not be irrelevant to your niche, like your favorite car when you actually are involved with Garments industry, but it can be on “How to produce World’s Best Roses” if you blog about Gardening. The Topics can Vary from Health, Life Improvement, User experience, and anything related or interesting.

Your contests can revolve around Advices, Benefits, Usability, Design and others. Anything that evokes the thought process and creativity. These would not only be helpful to the participants but also their readers. Make it Fun for your visitors.

Prizes- The major Attraction

Now this is the investment part. Prizes generally are the main reason why people would participate in your contests and help you promote it. You can also provide a benefit for the highest promoter of the contest. When deciding about the prizes look for Return on Investment. If your blog gives you a $10000 per month spending $1000 on your readers will benefit you all the more and may increase your traffic ten-folds. Organizing such contests show that you care.

Get Sponsors if you want it to be done for free. It will be an advertising opportunity for them, a link for a lifetime from your blog and getting the traffic from your blog. Getting Sponsors will also help you provide an otherwise expensive affair done easily, and with much fanfare, which is absolutely necessary for its promotion.

How to Participation Guidelines, a Deadline and Prize Announcement-

1. Decide clearly about the guidelines and what you want your participants to do.
2. A formal posting of rules should be done, with all the clauses.
3. There should be a definite deadline, something like when ‘I will achieve 500 subscribers’ is a big ‘No No’.
4. State the benefits along with the guidelines.
5. Prize Announcement should be a different section and it is not to be merged along.
6. State you Sponsors and give them a link.
7. Provide any limitations if defined for receiving gifts, for example to get gift vouchers cashed within one month of winner announcements.

Promote it highly

Any contest which does not have participants is of no use. When you organize an event like this make sure to promote it properly. Ask your sponsors to promote it at their end, and your participants should also help you in the task. The more it is promoted, the more it will fulfill its existence.

If you want an example you can visit Problogger- A Case Study. It is a perfect example on how Contests should be organized.

Happy Blogging,
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 3:00 AM | link | 9 comments |

Design is to attract, Usability is to engage- Part 3

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Usability is about making things accessible and easy to use. You like to stay in a place and spend time with someone whom you are comfortable with. One of the main factors that Usability comprises of is the comfort level you provide your visitors. Don’t make them think about they should not and how they can reach what they want without having to think where from. Search boxes and site navigation should not be an issue for the visitors to resolve.

13. State clearly even if you have to repeat things- You get new visitors daily, and which ever post they might be landing on would be presented to them for the first time. Many people think that they should not repeat what they have already written about, without realizing that their first time visitors have not read any piece of their work before. If relevant speak again of the important points, and provide necessary links to the posts where the topic of your post is discussed before. This way even you would decrease the monotony from your posts and still your first time visitors would not feel that you have missed specific points.

14. Bullets and numbered Lists- Like paragraphs, bullets and numbered lists help you to give a clear presentation. It will also help you gain attention of skimmers and jumpers. It removes monotony from the post, giving it an organized look, as well. This will also save time of your users and they will thank you for it.

15. Home page linking and other Links- More often than not, most of the traffic lands on interior pages rather than the home page which makes a link to your homepage an absolute necessity on every page whether you have a blog or a website.

Other Links included in you posts whether internal or outbound should say where they go. Will you Like to Click here and Here without knowing where you’ll go. Providing a brief information where they lead to or a link title will be of help to your visitors and will inform them where they are headed to. This will help you make your visitors click where you want them to click. Have you ever heard about a Fear of unknown. This is it.

16. Make it easy to Subscribe- Essential part of your return traffic should consists of your subscriber traffic. How effective your blog is equally proportional to how many people want to read it on a regular basis. These are who subscribe your feed, and because subscribers are such an important part of blogging success, you need to make it easy for users to sign up. Offer both email and RSS options. Services like Feedburner help make you make your feed compatible to both RSS and Atom Aggregators.

17. Browser Compatibility- One thing that people often forget while personalizing their blog design is to check the appearance on different browsers. What may look right on Firefox may not look the same in Internet Explorer. The placement of widgets specially can cause blunders.

Get into the shoes of your reader and evaluate it. If you want, taking your friend's help is also a good option. Improve your reader's expereince and make your blog sticky.

Happy Blogging,

Related Posts:-
Design is to Attract, Usability is to Engage-Part 2
Design is to Attract, Usability is to Engage- Part I

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posted by Divya Uttam, 10:33 AM | link | 7 comments |

Is your Blog Obsolete

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Simple ways can save your blog being getting lost in the crowd of over 60 million blogs

Blog is an extension to your online marketing efforts, a tool to bring in life to your static website and maintaining relationships with your customers. Blog is also for individual bloggers those wish to make their blogs as their online income source monetizing them either by using Adsense or by affiliate marketing. As Technorati has been telling us that there are over 55 million blogs and have been increasing on every passing second. It has been recommended by every blogging guru, companies big or small will come up with one soon. Can you imagine the amount of user generated content available on net. With such an abundance of the facilities available on net to come up with a free blog it will be soon equivalent to having an email account.

So where as a Blogger you are going to Stand?

Have you made you space in the Blogosphere?

Have you ever thought that there can be a Time when it can start a dinosaur era, where survival of the fittest will be the only policy.

Blogs aren’t going to go anywhere. They are here to stay, anyways. But their abundance can abandon you as a blogger, if you do not wake up to the realization of giving quality to your blog. It is only quality can win over quantity.

Have you ever noticed that amongst a billion humans roaming around, its still hard to find good leaders whom you love to follow. Survival of your blog depends on how fit you are to lead people to something useful and of help to them.

Building trust and earning credibility would get more difficult soon. I have read a few articles which said that blogging has no future, it wont benefit anyone. Don’t get angry fellow bloggers, it has a bright future but if you promise to yourself to blog for a reason and that reason is not just earning money. This is a very short post but if you are able to understand the point I have raised here, you may as well appreciate it.

It’s a time to take your blog to the next level.

What do you predict about Blogging Future? What’s your say about saving your blog? So what are you doing about it?

Safe Blogging,
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 11:16 AM | link | 7 comments |

Design is to Attract, Usability is to Engage-Part 2

Monday, March 12, 2007

There were a lot of obvious things we talked about in the first part, here are a few more. Obvious because after going through you may realize, How Could Have I missed that? Or I knew about this, but is it that necessary? Every point we talked about or would be talking here may be known to each one of you, but as humans we tend to miss out important things without realizing. Read out the comments and you will know what I mean. Here are a few more points that can seriously effect your blogs performance.

8. Don’t make your blog a junk-yard- Widgets are nice little decorations and plugins for your blog often used by bloggers in their sidebars. If you feel one is actually relevant or shows your site stats like traffic, go ahead with it. Overdose of everything is bad. Lots of badges, animations your favorite actors hinder your projected professionalism and you would passed of as a newbie or a regular blogger. This can actually take down your blogs performance.

9. Niche Sensitivity- Blogging on different topics will make you jack of all and master of none. Entertainment blogs do good, yes even here you are going to sacrifice your seriousness as well as search engine rankings. If you really want to sometimes blog apart from your niche, what you can do is, create an entertainment/miscellaneous or other related category and add such posts to it. If you find your niche to be very tight, try covering your parallel niches. Remember this is very important for traffic from search engines also.

10. Domain Name- Don’t look at mine here. Blogandpintutorial.blogspot.com is certainly one of the worst ones you can have. Blogs ending in a blogspot.com, typepad.com will be soon equivalent to having an @gmail.com email address. This is not a campaign against free services but its like giving away the fruits of your own hard work. When you are using someone else’s domain name, you are actually letting somebody else smarter than you to cash in your publicity and links.

Before further telling you about domain names let me tell you I am a firm believer of this and like to follow what I teach. Soon you will find yourself at BloggingtoFame.com. I cannot stress more importance of it.

The time you get serious about blogging remember to shift your blog to its very own domain name and in ideal circumstances it won’t cost you more than $8 per year. The longer you delay, the more you will feel the pain doing it and the actual pressure to do so. You have to be the in charge of your destiny, do not hand it to somebody else. Keep your fingers crossed that somebody else has not parked your domain. I’ll soon do a post on how to choose a correct domain name for your blog and why to do so.

11. Post Titles- What do you read when you first pick up the Newspaper? Headline is as important to a newspaper as a Good Post Title is to your Post. That is the first thing that your visitor will read and it is the one that will encourage your visitor to read your post. Put in a Hypnotic and descriptive title. Your readers as well as the search engines will love you for it.

The most important function of a post title is to get attention, something that invokes a thought. That is why its always bigger than rest of the text. You can ask an open ended question, or let your title lead into a story. Your aim is to gain your visitors attention and later on trust. Your post should be apt to your title.

How about the Headline- The Death of Search Engine Dominance in Web2.0.
The death factor still works!

12. Post frequency- When we talk about web usability, we refer to reach out and fulfill your visitors expectations, so do not delay posts from your frequency. Post regularly, nobody wants to read stale information. Schedule your posts and publish them accordingly. Whatever it may be it should be evenly paced out. Its not necessary to post daily. You cannot create quality content on daily basis. Posting twice a week or on alternate days is also fine. Once you have made out your choices, it will help your readers to come back to your blog according to your schedule. Do not post when you have nothing valuable to say, but do not also let months go by without a single post. This will make your blog loose its visitors. Out of Sight Out of Mind, As you know.

There is one last important post to it. Stick through and wish me luck for my BloggingToFame.com

Happy Blogging,

Related Posts:-
Design is to Attract, Usability is to Engage- Part I
Design is to attract, Usability is to engage- Part 3

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posted by Divya Uttam, 12:27 PM | link | 10 comments |