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How To Bring Interactivity to Your Blog

Blogs can often be two dimensional. The author writes a post. The reader writes a comment.

That’s all well and good, but it’s now very cliche and old.

Over the last six months the blogosphere has seen a huge influx of new media interactivity. Video and audio has been at the forefront of that effort.

Going Beyond Video and Audio

Today, I find new ways to bring interactivity to your blog. New ways to entertain your readers. New ways to ensure your readers feel an integral part of the community you are building. Here are four Ways to make your blog more interactive.

1 - Polls

Polls are the obvious starting point. Many other bloggers have started to make more use of them. Some contain the polls to their sidebar. Others add the poll to a new post once per week. In the short time that I’ve been using polls, I’ve found them to be an excellent, occasional, alternative to readers writing comments. Although my poll posts still receive plenty of comments, I find that the commentators are often different than normal posts. Polls bring in a whole new crowd and allow people to voice their opinion very quickly and purposefully. They’re also ideal for allowing readers to learn very quickly. Nobody wants to read through 30 comments to find tidbits of useful information, so a poll allows users to quickly see trends and crowd opinion.

There are many poll plugins for WordPress, but by far the most popular is WP-Polls.

2 - Guest Blogger Central

This is something I’ve recently seen in increasing popularity. Open up a specific category or a separate sub-blog for guest posts and have those posts display within a user-generated area of your Web site. Allow everybody to register as an author and publish their articles, much like a wiki. Don’t publish them on your main blog yet. Just link to the “Reader Generated Blog” from your main blog. Then each week choose one post from the published list and publish it as a guest post on your main blog.

By allowing your readers to add their articles to a community driven blog with your audience looking on, they’re able to become an integral part of your community. And with the weekly reward of one post being re-published on your main blog, you’ll soon find your readers competing with each other to write the best post.

3 - Live Video Streaming

I said I wanted to go beyond video and audio, and although this does involve video, it does go beyond the basic pre-recorded ‘talking to the camera’ effort. The only time I’ve seen live video streaming used by a blogger used it to communicate with his readers. He setup a camera in his office and had a regular chat with his readers as he worked. His readers could communicate with him via a chat room, and he would respond to their questions on the live video stream. I was one of the lucky few who was able to chat with him in this way and it proved to be an excellent method of interacting and making connections with readers.

In the constant effort to make online communication more personal and inviting, live video streaming is as close to face to face contact as you can come on the Internet.

There are Web sites out there that allow you to easily setup a live streaming feed. UStream TV and Justin.tv are the most popular.

4 - Live Comment Conversations

This idea comes straight from Liz Strauss. Every week Liz sets a topic and her readers come in droves to chat about the topic in her comments section. Liz transforms her comment area in to an instant message conversation. Not only does Liz reply to comments, but other commentators reply to comments. This is a fantastic way to give a new dimension to blog comments and help form relationships between you and your readers, and between the readers themselves.

Set a time of the week. Set a topic. Get the conversation flowing. Your readers will be on your blog for hours are they chat back and fourth.

How do you allow your readers to interact with you and your blog? Is your blog a two dimensional time-piece, of a three dimensional trendsetter?



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posted by Ville @ 2:31 AM, , links to this post
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Social Spark - An Innovative Network for Bloggers to Make Money Online


Social Spark is a new social marketing network that impresses me. The site looks interesting and provides quality advertising services.

Social Spark offers a revolutionized advertising market for both the bloggers and the advertisers. It connect bloggers and advertisers through an online advertising marketplace where bloggers can make money online by displaying text, video or images advertisement and writing sponsor posts.

The online marketplace is just part of the Social Spark, another core part is the Social Spark networking platform that allows advertisers and bloggers to network with each other. It works much like other social media sites such as Myspace and Facebooks. Bloggers can create their own profile with content and information to promote themselves and make friends with potential advertisers that could lead to more advertising revenue generated.

In addition to that, Social Spark also emphasizes on quality. Bloggers who post sponsored reviews can disclosure to their readers that they are paid for writing the content. And in the case of sponsored links displaying on blogs, all of them carry the "no-follow" attribute which will prevent bloggers get penalized by the search engines and losing search engines traffic.

If you run a blog to make money online, I would suggest you check out Social Spark. You may find a lot of sponsored post and advertising opportunities that can increase you blog income.

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posted by Ville @ 1:12 PM, , links to this post
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Earn Money Online Just By Showing Up

Many bloggers and affiliate marketers may not ever find the answer to that question because they won’t do it. Even though I’d never recommend anyone get involved in an MLM business, my 2 ventures into that dark realm were very valuable lessons. We learned that to be in the top 10% of mlmers all you had to do was show up to meetings and events, and then to be in the top 5% all you had to do was show up on time and be prepared to do business. Those seem like brain dead simple things to do, but it was utterly amazing how many people didn’t do them.

Translate that into blogging and online business and you’ll find the secret to making at least some money on the net is no secret at all. The secret is called work. Being in the top 10% of bloggers and affiliate marketers requires that you just do something besides shop on eBay and read the news all day. If you are going to blog, then quit screwing around with it and do it every day, no excuses. Being in the top 5% probably requires little more effort than adding 10 comments and 2 forum posts a day and 1 article to an article directory per week.

It’s a joke to think making any money in the online world is easy. It is not, and the minions of ebook pimps selling their seductive elixir are liars if they tell you different. But don’t kid yourself, a few thousand dollars a month in earnings is well within your grasp if you just follow some simple guidelines and do them every day or as required, on a consistent basis.

What are they?

1.
Blog or write content for your web site every day. If you can’t do this, then just flip burgers for a living and get out of the way of the rest of us.

2.
Leave 10 comments on blogs in your niche every day and especially try to find blogs that award top commentators with links back to their sites. I also prefer not to be too negative or crude in my commenting, but some creative disagreement might bring a good amount of traffic to your site from people wanting to know more about your perspective.

3.
Write 1 article a week related to one of your niches and submit it to 3 article directories for additional links back to your site. My top article directory is ezineArticles.com .

4.
Leave at least 5 forum replies or new threads each day in forums like the DigitalPoint Forums or Bloggeries.com .

5. Grab some sort of attention for your blog at least once a month by ordering a review, writing a guest post, sending a blogger a pic of yourself in their logo t-shirt hoping they will blog about it, paying for a quality ad spot or something else to get featured in a major blog.

Sure, to get to the top blogging and affiliate marketing levels may require some evil tactics that John is an expert at, but there is so much money to be made and so much opportunity at the lower and middle levels that can be had just by doing basic things. We all have to work our way through these levels if we ever have any hope of making it to the top. Probably more than anything else, your level of commitment to your work (there’s that 4 letter word again) will determine your level of success.

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posted by Ville @ 11:11 PM, , links to this post
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PPC or SEO, which one is better?

There has long been an argument about whether PPC or SEO should be more important when you are building a website to ensure its long term possibilities. The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast PPC and SEO so you can determine which would be more beneficial for your business. The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast SEO and PPC so you can make the decision as to what you think would be more beneficial to your website.

Search Engine Optimization involves setting up your website to ensure it appears higher in the organic Search Engine results. Many things you do onsite and offsite can affect your ranking. Many proponents of SEO say that those using Search Engines prefer organic results as they see paid advertisements as blatantly trying to sell something. The downside of SEO is that it can often take days, weeks or even months before you see any tangible results in your Search Engine rankings.

Pay per Click advertising involves bidding on particular keywords or phrases and your site will appear at the top of Search Engine rankings when those keywords or phrases are searched. With PPC you get immediate results, you get highly targeted traffic, and it is easier to monitor the results of your campaign than it is to monitor a SEO campaign. However a PPC campaign can end up very expensive if you do not run your campaign effectively.

As you have seen, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to using PPC advertising. As such, I would recommend rather than choosing one over the other, assuming you have the budget, you should run both PPC and SEO simultaneously to ensure that you get the best of both worlds.

I like to use them as a one-two punch! PPC brings in instant traffic and SEO slowly builds in to an ever increasing free stream of visitors to my site.


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posted by Ville @ 3:44 AM, , links to this post
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CNET UK: Windows Vista is the Top Terrible Tech Product

It has been almost a year since Window Vista launched in US. Are you a Vista user yet?

There are many complaints about Windows Vista, the Microsoft’s latest operatins system. Last week, CNET UK listed Top 10 terrible tech products and Windows Vista is listed!


Its (Windows Vista) incompatibility with hardware, its obsessive requirement of human interaction to clear security dialogue box warnings and its abusive use of hated DRM, not to mention its general pointlessness as an upgrade, are just some examples of why this expensive operating system earns the final place in our terrible tech list.

[via Crave at CNET.co.uk]

I am not sure if it is author’s bias or the truth.

Are you a Vista user? What do you think?


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