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Whats Your Avatar?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Are all bloggers blogging for fame? You might chalk out various reasons for the answer where people blog for money, traffic, online presence or to be present there in their own little space to share their thoughts with others. One ingredient is common for most of us and that is blogging for Fame, whose extent can vary for different persons.

We all start with the daunting task of building our online presence, struggling to build our own space in the Blogosphere. When it comes to being a part of community we try to add attractive avatars. Just adding our own picture doesn’t help in building the rappo or creating as much of recognition, or convey our buzz factor we might want to send.In personal blogs, or many time in social networking sites your Avatars should build the personality, and should be able to reflect the nature of your personality.

What are Avatars?


They are an extension to your personality, and basically identity of you in web or in online social network websites. Most people create avatars to represent themselves. As a representation of one’s personality or lifestyle, to create avatars is like expressing one’s self. Avatars are popular as simply graphics, and they might be in the form of GIF, BMP, or JPG format not only when it is created but when it is uploaded. In most cases, to create avatars as well as to edit graphics is not a very easy process. It is considered to be a subject that cannot be easily or readily explained or taught.

Why do we bother for our online avatars:

Basically our avatars are the most important identification for most of us on the Internet. It many times reflects our thoughts; it markets us, and even build relationships before even website/blog or profile page. Sometimes when one is not known much, Avatars become reason for huge fan club and following.

Avatars as a secret weapon for online success:

It’s really tough for focused blogging or interaction in social sites when a person doesn’t have readers or viewers of ones blog. In fact many companies have added different animated talking avatars as their website communication agents, and even got their sales improvement.

So we all try to have our avatars as attractive as much, similar way we try to dress ourselves the best. Many times it can be as important as it can be the content of your blog, as web is becoming so socially dominant. It can speak for you are even do lot of marketing for you. Checkout Antmans Avatar, he does what he speaks. He is providing fame to many through his shoutouts, notice the mike his avatar is holding.

From his own blog: We bet you’re asking what is up with the ant? Ant’s don’t "buzz"! That is correct. We would like to give thanks to Chris Anderson, Author of "The Long Tail" www.thelongtail.com for the inspiration. Thanks Chris!!!!

"For a generation of customers used to doing their buying research via search engine, a company’s brand is not what the company says it is, but what Google says it is. The new tastemakers are us. Word of mouth is now a public conversation, carried in blog comments and customer reviews, exhaustively collated and measured. The ants have megaphones." Chris Anderson - "The Long Tail"


How can we forgot so controversial avatar of Marketing Pilgrim in MyBlogLog and so much adored avatar of a very interesting blog of Ilker Yoldas

There can be many more useful uses an avatar can do for online business, and for your presence in social networking site when it gets very memorable and attractive.

Some very interesting services for getting your avatars:
So where can you get your very own Avatars.
I know I have missed few but still you can check these out.

Have some really great picture of yours, which is reflecting most of you. This could be really good and even helps in branding yourself. You can customize your picture for your different profiles from here: Mypictr

Or you can create a animated clone of your own using a very interesting service at Gizmoz create and you can even add your own voice to it.

You can search among the thousands of free icons at Iconator and could find a very specific ones for yourself which conveys your messages. This site is updated almost daily.

A great place for all those girl bloggers out there to create your own personality extension, or guys wanting to have girl avatars can check Dollwizard like above.

It would be really great if you could provide more information for free as well as paid resources/services for getting better avatars.

Go create one fr your own.
Happy Blogging,
Divya Uttam.

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posted by Divya Uttam, 12:12 PM | link | 9 comments |


How to get noticed in the blogosphere?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

When you have ever increasing cloud of blogs and everyone wanting to achieve the very best for themselves, it is getting tougher day by day to actually achieve the zenith of popularity. Blogging has become very easy and profitable exercise, and your blog a part of your existence. With an ever increasing blogosphere, you need to make your own space, so that you can get known for your work and efforts, to actually make a little fortune from it, whether in terms of income or traffic.

As an offline business owner you might like to have an advertising budget and hire a few marketing professionals to generate brand awareness for your company who would look after your public relations with the media and others. Getting online fame is not much different as being popular offline as an individual. Lets take a few offline fundas of getting known. Get more people to know you as friends or acquaintances by being socially active, do something that create news, be helpful to others so that they appreciate you(this is inbuilt not a funda, but guess still makes you known), be a leader of thoughts or initiate and manage events, become an expert of certain aspects so people come to you for your advice etc.

Although if you have struggled helplessly and came to a conclusion that its very difficult to create a large audience for your blog or that you need an advertising budget, I am going to prove you wrong, sire, very wrong. Though the first and foremost is presenting a good blog, the rest goes easy. The content of your blog is what matters most and how professionally you present it. No matter what your advertising budget is, or how much you put into creating back links, if your content is not worthwhile forget about any sort fame. Whether you blog about golf or internet marketing, people will read your say if it provides them what they need. What is there in your blog that others don’t?

Promotion of your blog isn’t what you think it is and it is not that difficult as you think it might be. You cannot promote your blog without providing anything useful and you can still get your blog to the very top even if you are a newbie.

A knack for your niche, an expert’s view and a heart to help others can easily get you started. Blogs do not exist in Vacuum and you need to be socially active in the blogosphere and an ongoing updating of your blog is the basic necessity. I know sometimes there actually isn’t enough time to write quality articles frequently but guess, you got to give something to get something. You will also have to reach other bloggers through your shout-outs, reviews and comments, linking relevant and good posts to provide must read information.

Here is a small list of what all should do to get your blog noticed:-

1. Try to get fame for others, the more you give the more you get.
2. Search engine optimize well.
3. Comment on others blogs, create a conversation.
4. Provide RSS feeds for your blog.
5. Be an expert of your field and provide quality content.
6. Get yourself listed in major directories.
7. Pick up products and provide first hand user experience.
8. People do not talk about you if you are a part of the crowd. You need to be innovative and creative.
9. Get yourself noticed by the A-list Bloggers(I’ll soon tell you how)
10. Add a viral effect to your blog, be contagious.
11. Try Linkbating.
12. Use Social Network Sites to your benefit, without depending on them(Atleast they will help in Branding).

Though promoting your blog takes constant hard work but avoiding it will actually ruin your chances to get popular. Good promotion also helps you to upgrade the quality of your work.

Till then Happy Blogging to Fame,
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 1:25 PM | link | 17 comments |


Understanding Traffic and assessing what it holds for your blog?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do you blog for traffic?
Or do you blog for some defined goals. Have you decided on as to what is your motive behind blogging. Even if you are yet to think about it, I would still recommend you to read this article carefully, because whatever the case may be we there is one thing common all of us, we need Traffic. Traffic is the base of all online business.

As bloggers for what-so-ever reason why we belong to blogosphere they can still be divided in two categories:

1. Those who blog for their business, or improve their business online visibility. They have a motive to fulfill and a company to support. These blogs are basically meant for better communication, building relationship, providing updates or attracting prospects for their business. They are much focused on quality traffic rather than sheer volume of traffic.

2. And those who have professional or personal blogs, but no business model behind them. They are either casual bloggers or even they might be experts in their niches and enjoy blogging. These blogs might not have any specific goals behind, but being interesting many times attract many repeat visitors. Their income source mostly depends upon ad revenue generated through their blogs.

We all traffic and want traffic which is interested in our stuff. The idea popped into my mind while I was doing research about blogging strategies, that there has to be a definitive strategy for traffic. Most of the times traffic should be effortless, and I am more than assured that a strategic approach for developing traffic would always lead to a continuous focused stream of traffic.

So while you begin with your strategies for traffic it is highly advisable to monitor your traffic that by increased traffic is not effecting entrance bounce rate. Sometimes traffic stats can be too overwhelming which may not be true in real terms. Increasing traffic should rather decrease your entrance bounce rate. Just for an example, while you get huge traffic from few social network sites doesn't mean too much in terms of building reputation , than just a boost in your Alexa ranking. And many times few social networking sites appropriately provide you with a continuous stream of traffic.

Getting visitors interested in your stuff should be the priority rather then general traffic. Many times being in a niche is too good for a blog success, which not only helps in gaining volume of search engine traffic quickly but helps in getting more loyal visitors.

Evaluating traffic:

Though this has already discussed previously it is necessary to mention it here, your traffic just have defined ways of reaching your blog.

• Organic Traffic, takes time to build, though efforts are well paid back with time. It is only when search engines have approved your blog and found it sincere enough will it send you traffic on the keywords you have optimized your blog/posts for. Once you are white listed you will often get much traffic from them.

• Another source of traffic is Social Networks which require lots of constant effort. Point to be noted here is that the traffic, which you gain, is not yours. This belongs to the social media site it’s coming from. You need to work a lot for that social media site before you get any traffic from there. I keep researching on such projects and I reached the conclusion that the traffic coming from here needs efforts and many times your efforts are a lot more than overall result. Here I am not talking about repeat traffic but the overall stature of your blog remains the same and if you are not a casual blogger but a professional blogger, I would suggest we have better things to do, if you actually no ideas how to convert them into your fans. Many times people putting efforts in these media sites get banned as soon as their sites their stories touch the homepage. (In Digg and Netscape few times as an experiment, when I stopped putting stories, the traffic faded away with time. Now being a professional blogger I cannot give my 3-4 hours daily to be popular there or to submit stories from over the web, slowly gaining the momentum, so I would be able to get continuous stream of traffic.)

• Referral Traffic: Referral traffic includes link traffic from inbound links and also traffic from few social media sites like MyBlogLog, LinkedIn or even from bookmarking sites like Technorati, Del.icio.us. This type of traffic is really good for every type of blogger. It is even better in terms of repeat visits and getting more referrals, as well as building reputation of your blog. Therefore inbound links are not only profitable for SEO point of view but also referral traffic, which most of the times is focused and interested in your stuff.

• Traffic coming from your marketing efforts, which include Search Engine Marketing, Viral Marketing and successful business model. This make people rush to your blog for updates, make people link you without you, asking for links. This is very important for blogger with long term success.

Most of the traffic building tactics should be done strategically for the long term, exponentially proportionate with your efforts and should not be of one on one types in context of your efforts.

And which one is the best traffic, you can trust?

This is the most important question you need to answer while you blog and blog for results. It would be in appropriate for many of us, If I say you should not consider traffic from the sources which demand high efforts with very limited success. Many do argue and write that it’s well worth putting your energies even for small results as every visitor counts, and I did believe this till few days back. But now I believe in efforts and time given in return of traffic and quality as well. So many times I was able to get traffic and good incoming links from few social media sites which in return require tedious job of being involved and active participation. But was that solving the main motive of my blogging. For me it was not.
Anything, which is not providing long-term solutions for traffic, and where you are not able to leverage your efforts, shouldn’t be considered as traffic source.

Precisely if you optimize your blog for search engines, with time, and some good efforts will help you build your traffic from search engines and this will be a permanent as well as regular, as long as you don’t do something to disturb your results.
And similarly a successful linkbating or viral marketing project would be able to provide you a great stream of laser focused traffic, without you putting your efforts on regular basis. Now this is what we can say successful blogging. And blogging should be a enjoyable affair than just quest for building traffic, but a source of Eternal FAME.

I just got this interesting read from Yuva's blog on "ROI of a Blog".

So what you think your traffic say?

Till next time,

Happy Blogging,

Divya

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posted by Divya Uttam, 11:59 AM | link | 4 comments |


Choosing a Niche for your Blog- Part 2:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to determine what you should blog about?
When you are beginning to blog or taking up your next blog, you need to have a list of all the topics you can blog about. While starting you can think about the various possibilities available. You can have even a list of hundred. In this post we will tackle your list and see the most monetizing and profiting options from it.

Blog your interests: If you are going to establish an individual blog this can be a good starting point. You will anyways be knowledgeable about the subject and would keep up-to-date with it. Writing about it will not only increase your knowledge but you will also know what your target audience wants from you. People will also be enthusiastic once they notice you are passionate about the subject, and would like to know more from you. They would know that they’ll get the latest News about the niche at your blog, so you’ll have more repeat visits, who knows you might create a fan-following of your very own. Interacting and answering issues will be very interesting. You can write about anything from Maintaining Lifestyles to Politics and from Mobiles to latest Technologies.

Have you ever tried to search something but nothing relevant came up, this could be it. You can create a blog about a topic which needs information but yet not looked into by anyone else. It is the best to be the first to fulfill an information gap. Do research using Overture Keyword research tool or any other to find out that there are other people looking for the same subject. I don’t want you be the only one to look for it and write about it.

If you are blogging for your company, it is best to cater to your customers and prospects and write about the topic that interest them. I am taking it for granted that you know your subject well. Provide updates about new products and services, tips and tricks to use your product and latest developments of your company’s market. Don’t sell or even soft sell. You can tell cool features your company is providing but do not tell your visitors to go and buy, this is not what a blog meant for. You can achieve the zenith of customer relationships through your blog.

When you are done with the list, we can start eliminating topics that would end in poor results. Cross those items on your list that make you feel uneasy, and those about which you would not be able to write almost daily keeping it still interesting and fresh. Eliminate those which are not sustainable. You can blog about Cricket World Cup 2007 but that would result in seasonal topic after which you would not be able to produce anything. It might be fine for people who are looking to have periodic profits.

After you are only left with a few try to answer these-

  1. Is the topic popular enough to bring in loads of traffic?
  2. How much competition already exists?
  3. Do you know something through research or experience, which your competition is missing out?
  4. Are there any developments in the field, is it growing or shrinking?
  5. Do you have enough content or resources through which you can find some?
  6. Are there any other income resources for you as a blogger apart from Adsense, like affiliate or network products related to your niche or either do you have your service or product?

It may not be possible that you have perfect answer to every point above but after going through it you could yourself find an answer to the blog topic you should pick.

This article by Chris Garrett is a must read before you decide your niche.

For being a successful blogger, you should either generate an income source or a fan following. Many blogs die out before they come to lime-light. Then this isn’t Blogging to Fame.

Till next time
Divya

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posted by Divya Uttam, 11:06 AM | link | 2 comments |


Choosing a Niche for your Blog- Part 1:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

With so much emphasis given in a last few posts on strategies, I also included that strategies begin the moment you decide have your own blog. One of the first things you’ll be deciding about is your blog’s niche. The most important step to head start your planning.

What is a Niche?

Niche is a small and tightly knitted segment of the market you want to cater to.

As for Blogging a Niche defines the theme of your blog. It is what your blog would talk about in general and in details, and everything related to it. Niche also defines the your target market which you’ll cater through your blog, the number and the kind of visitors it will attract. You can either choose a niche with: Large target market, High competition OR Smaller target market, Lower competition.

Your aim is to emerge as an expert in your niche. Once you have decided your target audience, your blog should be a one stop solution for them. Now if you have a smaller and more focused blog, attaining expertise is not only easier but more targeted audience will give you a higher conversion rate.

Be aware while choosing you Niche:

There is no harm if you do not want your blog be bound by limitations, or blogging about whatever you feel like from cars to music or from internet marketing to cooking. This is a casual approach, and should only be followed, if you are blogging for fun. Professional and serious bloggers, prefer sticking to one theme per blog. Whatever your approach is, you got to stick to your plan. Once you have decided the niche and started your blog it is hard to change directions. If you are not satisfied and want to shift your focus, it is like starting from scratch and building a new blog. While shifting focus, you may eventually loose your already existing audience, which obviously would not be a choice.

Chose an area, which you are passionate about, something that is not time-sensitive, which stops appealing after a few months.

A Blog is for life, well almost. Once you start achieving what goals you have set for your blog, you would not want to leave it(why not ask Problogger), and each time creating new blog will not take you anywhere. So if you are going to blog for life, your content should not run dry or boring. You need something that will develop, excite and spark enthusiasm.

Lets take an example. You might consider Business as a niche, but that would still be very broad. Business --> Marketing --> Online Marketing --> Blogging, and Business --> Marketing --> Online Marketing --> Search Engine Optimization, are two different niches you can handle with two different blogs, and still have enough to write forever because it is an upcoming and always updating field.

You also need to be knowledgeable in the niche you are choosing. You cannot afford to prove yourself a novice, if you soon want to be an A-Lister.

Reading and Writing is not all about blogging. You have to go above and beyond the level of an average surfer that is where you will add value to your blog and emerge as a master. If you are writing the same stuff as others are, you would be a part of the crowd. You need your own thoughts and knowledge about the subject. That is why it is necessary why you should blog what you are passionate about.

To be continued...

Till then, Happy Blogging
Divya Uttam

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posted by Divya Uttam, 10:44 AM | link | 7 comments |


Get Set with your Blogging Strategies

Friday, February 16, 2007

Starting a blog is no big deal, but how to prepare yourself for making it successful and popular from the beginning is one. So before you start blogging put on your spectacles(Its good if you can do without them) and do some research, on whatever you have decided to blog upon.

Your Blogging Strategies will start from where you start planning about your blog. Like its name, the domain name you’ll use for your blog, what platform you are going to use, how will it be designed and everything else. A reader of mine mentioned in his comment that Strategies change from time to time. According to Wikipedia - “A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often "winning". Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand.”

Strategy is a plan of action resulting from the need to reach of specific goal.

If you know your goal, and plan a course of action, stick to it. Changing of routes daily will help you get nowhere. Planning a Strategy takes in a lot of research of the market and developing it accordingly will help you achieve your destination. Following Hit and Trial method is usually applied with tactics, not Strategies.

I’ll pick up an example from Hindu Mythology. I would not get into much crucial details because we are not having a history class here. There were five brothers who were being thought shooting with the help of bow and arrow. Their teacher took their test one day. Each one of them was required to shoot a parrot in the eye(I hope it was a dummy parrot, I am an animal lover). Teacher asked them one by one what they saw. Each of them described the trees and the sky except one. This was the only one who could actually shoot the parrot in the eye. When he was asked what he saw he replied he saw the eye of the parrot. His aim was clear and he knew what he wanted from his course of action. He strategically shot accordingly to accomplish his goal, and he won. So your goal and focus should be crystal clear so that your strategies do not fail.

What are Your Blogging Strategies…

Strategies depend on each individual and his business, so defining Strategies for everyone is not possible(If you are interested to ask me to plan out your strategies, you can drop by a comment) . What I can guide you here through is how you should go about deciding what’s best for you and your business.

Step 1: Decide what you want from your blog, and how it should achieve your goals regarding your business model and develop your strategy accordingly.

Step 2: Research your market and your competition.

Step 3: List the points where your competition might be missing. Your competitions weakness should be your Strength.

Step 4: Your Blog should be interactive. Initiate an honest conversation with your audience.

Step 5: Remember, Blog is an extension to your personality. So, just because a topic is popular, you start blogging about it to attract traffic will reflect in your writing. You have to be passionate about what you write, and in addition to that you should be an expert in that field.

There is more to come in. Stay Tuned.

Happy Blogging,
Divya Uttam.

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posted by Divya Uttam, 1:02 PM | link | 4 comments |