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Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 20 Free Blog Directories

List of top 20 PR 5+ free blog directories with no registration required

The easiest and most effective way to maximize exposure of your blog is to list it in popular directories. Listing your blog in popular directories is important if you want to gain more exposure and increase your targeted traffic, as long as you have fresh and quality content. It also increases the number of backlinks to your blog, more so from these directories themselves.

Personally I do not submit my blog to any directory that requires me to pay, and I do not recommend that anyone should pay to submit their blogs to a directory. There are very many good directories on the www that accept your blog and give you good mileage for your listing - free of cost.

It is however, advisable to select directories with a good PR, preferably PR 5 and above as this improves the chances of your blog and its content showing up high on search engine reports.

The directories listed below are classified first by Google PageRank, then Alexa Ranking. These directories do not need registration but in some cases you may be required to submit your blog to a category or give a reciprocal link. I have indicated "yes" or "no" for these options.

To submit your blog simply click on the name link and it will open in a new page.
Directory Google PR Alexa Ranking Registration Category Link 7 1345 No No No 7 7452 No Yes No 7 42354 No Yes No 7 4048 No Yes No 6 29545 No No No 6 17582 No No No 6 26607 No Yes No 6 2040 No No No 6 63704 No No Yes 6 4550 No Yes No 6 17337 No Yes No 6 43497 No No No 6 59133 No No No 6 61515 No No No 5 47888 No No No 5 858590 No Yes Yes 5 264796 No Yes No 5 440439 No Yes Yes 5 33365 No Yes Optional 5 163601 No Yes Yes
This list is a work in progress and I will continue to update it, as and when Google PR and Alexa rankings are updated. The list should eventually grow to about 100 directories, all of PR 5+.

Do you know any directories that we can add to this list? Send me your suggestions...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The secret of successful blogging

"Real niche" blogging

When you decide to start blogging, one of your biggest challenges will be whether to use your blog to promote your business or profession, make money from the blog or simply share thoughts on a subject that you love.

It may be worth noting that whereas anyone can start a blog, not everyone can write content that everyone (or anyone, for that matter) wants to read.  The most important part of any blog is what you say, how you say it and who you say it to.  Writing honestly and openly about subjects you are an authority on and have a passion for is what will get people who are interested in that subject matter coming back to your blog again and again.

Niche blogging is about focusing on a subject, concentrating on building a following and writing quality and relevant content for advertisers and other bloggers to get attracted to your content.  Personally I would break down niche blogging into three different categories (there could be more) including:
  • Niche business blogs -  These are determined by the present business of the blogger and are also used to supplement the business,
  • Niche website blogs -  In my opinion these are low quality blogs with little to offer their readership apart from referring services, even though they do generate a lot of income for these, 
  • "Real niche" blogs - These type of blogs are determined by your skill or interests. Business blogs can also fall into this category, but "real niche" blogs are normally independent from any other site or service. They can be run as a business within themselves or they can just be personal blogs uses to share thoughts on subjects of high interest and knowledge to the blog owner. 
"Real niche" blogging establishes you as an expert on a specific subject and people will be more likely to visit your blog for the specific information you can provide meaning that with time you will see the traffic to your blog increase steadily based on how much work you are willing to put into promoting your blog. Your "real niche" blog will begin to build followers who will be like-minded people eager to share their thoughts, opinions and ask you questions based on your area of expertise or authority.  "Real niche" blogs are a medium that can be used to bring people with similar interests together to discuss their favorite topic and interact with you and your readers.   Take the online shopping niche for example.  If you write blog posts reviewing online shopping, the pros & cons, the opportunities and the deals on offer, chances are you will develop a good following of people looking to find free coupons, discounts and other deals online. People want to feel part of a community, and by "real niche" blogging, you are helping them achieve this and they will keep coming back for new updates or questions on the topics of your specific skill or knowledge. 

As your "real niche" blog develops you will find that you do not spend as much time writing for your blog as you might have initially thought. You soon realize that most of your blogging time is taken up by reading and responding to comments from your followers and posting comments on other more popular blogs. This is in fact one of the secrets to blogging success and it will help you to:
  • develop new blog post ideas, 
  • learn new techniques to enhance your blog,
  • improve your writing skills,  
  • get your blog noticed within the community you are building, 
  • connect with and build relationships with other bloggers and,
  • improve your blog traffic.
While its possible to rank well in search engines with general blogs, it's much easier to get a higher ranking when you have a focused topic you blog about regularly.  Search engines tend to focus their indexing more on blogs that have authoritative, focused and quality content on a regular basis.  In my opinion niche blogging will always be better than general blogging, especially if you want to establish yourself as a credible expert in the community and potentially create a source of revenue from your blog.

The first step in your quest for a "real niche" blog is to figure out your purpose, establish your message and if you plan to take your blog to the top of the list, find an untapped niche. Choose an interesting topic you are passionate about and put a few authoritative twists on it. Once you find your niche and dedicate your time to dominating it, you will end up with a highly successful blog.

Want to blog effectively and successfully? Build yourself a "real niche" blog.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Get free backlinks...

"CommentLuv" and four hours reading and commenting on posts!

Yesterday I spent my morning reading articles on various blogs, posting comments on almost each article I read.  Most, if not all of the comments were posted on articles that had the CommentLuv plugin installed.  Those of you familiar with CommentLuv will know why my four hour effort was concentrated on sites which had the plugin installed leaving comments while in the process "marketing" my posts to site owners and their readers.  

CommentLuv is a plugin that gives readers of enabled sites the option of an automatic link back to their last blog post at the end of their comment if they have entered their URL on the comment form.  The plugin visits the site of the comment author as they type and retrieve the latest blog post for inclusion at at the end of their comments.  This effectively gives you an automatic backlink to the site where you have left your comments.

The upside of CommentLuv is that it does encourage social engagement and more comments which is what we need for our blogs to become popular and become monetized. Lets face it;  we all want people to read our blogs and that is why we want our blogs and our articles to appear at the top of search engine results.  To achieve this, we need a good number of backlinks and if these backlinks come from other "top" blogs we are well on the way to achieving this.  As a commentator the biggest benefit is you can get a quality and relevant dofollow backlink from enabled blogs.

The downside? There is a limit to how many relevant comments you can post in four long hours, more so when most of the blogs you visit have nothing to do with your niche or the content of the posts you are linking back to them. But, there is no limit to the number of useless comments (spam?) from commentators who are doing so purely to get that dofollow backlink.

But then again sometimes we all just want an easy way to get a few backlinks.

Here is another way to get those backlinks
Try adding internal links on your own blog or site, from one post to another as these also count as backlinks.  Whenever you write a new post try and link it to a relevant previous post.  This works two ways in that you are adding another backlink for the Search Engines and also encouraging visitors to your site to read more posts via that link.

Other methods to add backlinks include:
Submitting your blog feed to the RSS Directories
Write quality and unique content
Social bookmark your posts
Post videos on your blog and submit them to different video sites
Guest posting

All said and done, lets share the Luv! When you  install CommentLuv on your blog, let me know and I will surely come hunting for that elusive backlink with a comment or two (relevant, of course)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Make your keywords work for you

The power of keywords

 The buzz word in todays blogosphere is "keywords"… But just what is a keyword and how does one go about choosing top keywords for their blogs?  A keyword is a word of great significance or a word that acts as a key to a cipher or code.  In SEO terms a keyword is an index entry that identifies a specific record or document and  is used by search engines to find relevant web pages.

Keywords are often used by advertisers in search engine optimization, or by visitors using search engines in an effort to find relevant information based on those particular keywords.  Keywords are used in various combinations of words known as keyword phrases or search terms.  When searching for information on the web you would normally key in a combination of words describing what you are searching for and the search engine then checks its database and returns a list with pages matching your search criteria. Entering single words into a search engine normally returns results which are very broad and often irrelevant hence the use of keyword phrases to narrow your search.  Keywords are the words that are most used to search for information on search engines and can then simply be described as "the right words".  These are the words that get peoples attention and trust, and also persuade them to buy your products or services in the future.  Choosing the right words ensures that you get lots of traffic, new subscribers, earn more revenue and gain more influence in your niche… everything you need for the success of your blog.

Choosing keywords is about knowing the audience in your niche and learning which words will get their attention, earn their trust and thereby drive traffic to your blog. You have to “optimize” your articles and posts for maximum effect on your niche audience.  It does not help to Google the Top Ten Keywords and pick a few to use in your posts irrespective of their relevance.  Keywords must come from your article and should always be the ones that not only best reflect your article, but also get you the most search traffic from people looking for content relevant to those keywords.  If you are looking to build an audience for your website, you will want to use the most effective keywords possible from your articles.  The only way to go about this is researching and looking up the number of searches each version of a keyword gets. (e.g. "website", "web-site", "web site" - we may read these three word in the same way, but search engines consider them to be three totally different keyword phrases).  Doing research is the practically the only way you will learn which keywords are effective for your blog and its niche.

Keywords and keyword phrases are one of the most important components of SEO.  You can boost the traffic coming to your blog from search engines by using effective keywords.  You will have to do keyword research and determine which keywords will drive the highest traffic to your blog.  You can then incorporate these keywords into your post titles, in the blog post, in the image ALT-tags and in the links within your blog.

Try to avoid keyword stuffing as most search engines consider this spamming and will ignore your blog. Using keywords in the first 200 words of your post, in the middle and near the end can be very effective.  Always be sure to use keywords that are relevant not just to your post, your images and your links, but also to your niche audience otherwise you will always turn up in the wrong searches and render your blog irrelevant.

Its important to remember that keywords are not just about getting traffic to your blog - they are about understanding your niche inside and out in order to deliver relevant and quality content to them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Writer's Journey: How to Get Blog Followers

A Writer's Journey: How to Get Blog Followers

Is online shopping for you?

Imagine sitting in the comfort of your home, or office for that matter, and having all your shopping needs delivered to you… from groceries to electronics, clothing to personal care items.  Now that is the life isn't it.  These are just some of the comforts of online shopping.

Online shopping offers consumers and businesses alike numerous benefits and advantages including convenience, better prices and discounts, discreet purchases amongst others.  Chief amongst the benefits is the fact that it saves you the headache of driving or walking around town from store to store checking if particular products are in stock and many more reasons to shop online.

Online shopping is a form of e-commerce where consumer or businesses alike can purchase goods or services over the internet instead of going to a physical shop or store.  Some examples of online retailing corporations include and which after humble beginnings have grown into the largest online stores in the world today.

Advances in technology and the wide world web have has revolutionized the way we do our Shopping and with the internet so readily accessible in our communities, more and more people are turning to online shopping for all their needs..

Consumers can buy virtually anything online without having to leave the comfort of your home or office as most progressive service businesses from groceries to retail outlets have now created websites that list everything they have in stock and also feature products that are on sale.

But online shopping does not come without its cons.  Some of these include shipping costs, the lack of the "see it, touch it and feel it" thrill, detecting defective items after purchase is made, et cetera et cetera.

Ultimately the decision to shop online or not remains with the consumer as each type of shopping has its pros and cons, but when you weigh the pros and cons of online shopping versus the traditional brick and mortar store online shopping comes in way ahead.

Now those are definitely more reasons to shop online.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blog traffic, keywords and writers block

The Budding Bloggers Round Up of the "must reads" on blogging and earning money online for beginners

Having jumped right into the deep end of the "blogosphere" with my new blog, I have had to do a lot of research and reading on terms like SEO, keyword phrases, SEM, backlinks, pagerank, anchor text, et cetera et cetera.  The one thing I have not been able to do since my last post titled The value of product or service reviews is write an article worth posting on my blog, no matter how hard I've tried.  Talk about writers block!

While surfing the net, researching these new terms, it hit me that it is one thing to try and write quality articles for my blog, but then it is yet another thing to show some appreciation to the people I have been learning from in my research and sharing some of their great stuff here on my blog.

Here's what I have picked up so far and who has written about it...

Niche Blog Or A General Category Blog? Confused? 

I really liked this one as it gave me direction (well, almost - still a little confused) on where to go with my blog.  Saksham Talwar  has posted a good article on factors to consider before deciding to do a general blog as opposed to a niche blog.  I know a lot of would be bloggers get confused about this.  A good read for all would be bloggers!

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic
Traffic… lets face it, that is a question we all have to contend with especially for us beginners.  I think Rand Fishkin has delivered a very informative post (a little long, but what would you expect from 21 tactics - plus a bonus 22nd).  Leave it unread at your peril!

How to Choose The Best Tags & Keywords For Your Blog
This one from The Blog Success Journal.  Yet another long and very technical article, but once you read it two or three times it does seem to make a lot of sense about how to get keywords working for your blog. Useful insights on keyword selection and the use for keyword research tools.

7 Ways To Make Money From Your Blog
Some people blog for hobby. Others, for business. This post is for those that dream of monetizing their website by one form or another because if you’re not in it as a hobby, let’s face it… We all want to make some money!  Ricardo Bueno talks about some good stuff he has implemented and what he intends to implement in his quest to earn money online.  Definitely worth reading and giving a try.

5 Must-Know Tips for Blog Search Engine Optimization
If a blog post is published and no one reads it, does it exist?   Stuart Leung points out five things you need to know (and do) before publishing your blog post – in terms of SEO.  Take a look and learn…

Hope this helps those of you who just like me, are starting out as bloggers and looking to earn some money doing it.  I will post more of what I am learning next week.  Hopefully in between now and then I will be able to post two or three quality articles.  (Barring writers block)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The ultimate guide to product/service reviews

Just how valuable is a positive product or service review? 

As more and more consumers begin to rely on product or service reviews for adequate advice on any product or service, studies show that objective use of these reviews can in fact increase sales by improving potential user perceptions. These reviews help establish credibility and trust in the minds of potential customers and often help them decide whether or not to buy or use a particular product or service. From a marketing stand point, they are also a perfect way for companies to put across positive messages about their products or services in a cost effective way . The key factor in encouraging a consumer, to buy or not to buy the product or service, is the quality of the review. It must grab the attention of the reader right away and encourage a positive decision to go out and buy the product or use the service.

A review is an evaluation of a product, a service or a company.  There are different types of reviews.
  • A consumer review refers to a review by the owner of a product/service or a user who has sufficient experience using it to comment on reliability and whether or not it delivers on its promise. 
  • An expert review usually refers to a review by someone who has tested several different products or services within a particular product or service line to find out which one works best. 
  • A paid review is the kind where the manufacturer, developer or reseller pays someone to review his product or service.  
Expert reviews are the most effective, especially if you have a good product or service, because they tend to be given genuinely. The general thinking about paid reviews is often that the reviewers have been offered incentives for what they say in their reviews.

A good review needs to be brutally honest, even if it means saying negative things. Consumers who are trying to decide whether or not to buy a product need to know its good and bad aspects in order to make a more informed decision.  The best reviews are normally those written by reviewers who have actually experienced a product or service.  Contrary to popular belief, negative reviews can sometimes build product or service credibility. If your reviews are always positive, consumers may be led to believe that you are hiding the negatives and only highlighting the positives. A mix of negative and positive reviews can be used to improve product and service perception as this makes your offering look honest, meaning that potential users will not only trust your reviewers, but trust your products as well.  Whereas a positive review convinces the users that your offering delivers on what they expect and want, a negative review will show the product or service provider exactly what they are not getting right and offer them a chance to rectify it and get it right.  Good product reviews will hype the strengths of a product or service while at the same time weighing in the weaknesses in a way that makes certain the strengths overshadow the weaknesses.

The value of reviews is fast becoming widespread as more consumers turn towards the internet for product research.  Reviews have now become the largest influencers on how consumers make purchasing decisions in almost as similar a way as word-of-mouth determines the buying process.  But despite these factors, many companies are still lagging behind in their use of reviews.

Reviews can deliver value market intelligence and vital as well as convincing information about your product to potential clients. They have the effect of making people talk about what your product or service is doing, how it affected them, and where they purchased their product or service. The ultimate aim of online reviews is to make a product or service “go viral”. When people start talking about a product or service without being forced to, traffic grows substantially, and in return, more conversions are turned into sales, which ultimately is the goal of reviews - to increase sales.

Reviews deliver two value propositions - knowledge and opportunity: product developers and service providers who have embraced reviews as a sales and marketing tool are gathering this knowledge and benefiting from the opportunity to improve and adapt their product and services to what their consumers want.

Simply put, consumers have become firm believers in product reviews and marketers will need to catch up in order to keep their products or services relevant.

Do you want a professionally written, honest review of your product or service?  Get in touch with me via the "Leave Reply" or "Comments" fields.

LinkFromBlog - Blog Advertising

LinkFromBlog is a free to join site and offers blog owners the opportunity to earn money from advertisers by writing reviews. As a blogger you can also earn money by referring friends to LinkFromBlog.  When one of your friends who is not currently a member joins LinkFromBlog and spends and earns a total of $500 on LinkFromBlog, you will receive a $50 referral reward.

Whats more, LinkFromBlog offers 0% commission for bloggers and absolutely free money withdrawals.  Joining is easy and free - simply register on a site, add your blog, activate it and you are good to go.

LinkFromBlog is free to join so I would strongly recommend to any one who is able to right creatively through blog advertising.