The Three Main Ingredients To A Great Blog Having a successful blog is a goal of many bloggers and web developers. Being the owner and webmaster of a blog that is known around the internet is rewarding in a couple of ways. First, we all like the ego boost of people linking or quoting us and second, from selling advertising to selling products blogs that are known have many financial advantages. When it comes to creating and writing a successful blog there are three main things that will make the difference between a blog that has a chance of making it and a blog that will get lost in the herd of a million other blogs on the internet. The first ingredient a blog needs to end up successful is frequently updated quality content. Without good content, people will not link to or seek out a blog and even if they end up there by accident, they will not return. Creating content that others think is so good that they will link to it from their websites is a great way of making a blog a success. The second part of this ingredient is the act of frequently updating the content. A blog is a living breathing website. It is meant to be updated and changed often. If the content of a blog is stale and stagnant, even if it is of high quality, visitors will not return because they will have already "been there, done that". The second ingredient of a successful internet blog is marketing. Whether marketing a blog with an eye on search engine results or through link building efforts, continual refinement of a marketing plan is a must. If a blog has the best content in the world with the most exciting and invigorating writing around, no one will visit if there are no links to get there or it doesn’t show up in search engine results. Usually the best marketing results are achieved through successful implementation of many ways of online marketing, social networking, link building, article submission and search engine optimization to name a few. The third and final ingredient used to make a blog successful is interaction with the visitors to the website. The very nature of a blog being a continually edited and growing website encourages visitors to want to become a part of it. Visitors who feel like they have something invested in a website or blog are more apt to come back again and again as they feel they are a piece of a community. Two of the best ways to increase the chances that a visitor to a blog will feel that they are part of that site is to make sure that comments are enabled and to include a contact form or another way for them to reach out to the owner or webmaster of the blog. Allowing visitors to leave comments creates the chance for their to be ongoing discussions which can sometimes get lively. Prominent placement of a contact form allows visitors to feel like they have a closer relationship with the person or persons running the blog and they can reach out and talk to them personally when they want to. When a good number of blog readers and visitors feel they are part of that blog’s community they will keep returning to, linking to, and promoting the site themselves. Starting a blog is easy, millions have done so in the past and millions more will do so in the future. But to make a truly successful blog takes a great deal of preparation and work. Part of that preparation and work is including the three things that make a blog a success; frequently updated quality content, active marketing, and a sense of interaction and community. Though not a guarantee by any means, with those three ingredients in place a blog has a great chance of experiencing some form of success. —– The Basics Of Blogging For those experienced webmasters and blog owners, some of the more basic things about blogging will seem like old news. But like anything, whenever you are starting out in a new field you first need the basics covered so that you can build on that knowledge, become competent, and eventually reach the level of expert. Blog is the common term for what was at first known as a web log, or weblog. A blog is setup as a series of content that is displayed in the form of posts. The posts are usually then arranged in reverse chronological order, meaning that the newest item posted or updated will appear at the top of the blog above the next most recent post. There are a number of different types of blogs, the most common three are content blogs, video blogs, and photo blogs. Content blogs are primarily text based, although photos and videos can be added as well. Photo and video blogs are self explanatory in that they consist mainly, or even totally, of phots or videos. It is good to have a decent overview of the technical side of blogging, but it is not necessary to be fluent in the programming side of the blogging software. It is possible to design your own blogging platform, but it is easiest to go with one of the many blogging platforms on the market. The most popular platform is called WordPress and it is extremely simple to use, if not master. The platform, or blogging software, organizes and keeps your written content displayed on your website. The platform also usually allows fairly simple ways to change the look and design of your blog. Once you apply the basic blogging information you now know to the daily running of your blog, you will in no time add to it your own knowledge that you either learn from others or discover on your own. Blogging is to a large degree a learning process. The more you know about blogging the better your blog, or blogs, will end up in the end. —– Tips On Creating Great Blog Posts Consistently Often as the owner of a blog you may find yourself falling into a bit of a rut. It may seem like it is hard to come up with something to write about or you may find the quality of your writing slipping. There are ways out of this trap though, it may just mean you have to know a few tricks. Creating great blog posts is an important enough goal that any tip that makes the process easier or more consistent is well worth paying attention to. Before you type the first word of a post for your blog, you should already know a few things about what you are going to write. You should know what the subject of the post is, what your basic conclusion of this subject matter will entail, and approximately how in-depth you are going to explore the topic. By having this information organized ahead of time, you will find the actual writing of the post to be a rather easy process. While writing you post, don’t keep an eye on your word count. Explore the topic as you planned and go as in-depth as it takes to get the post both thorough and coherent. When the article is complete is the time to check the word count. If the total amount of words is a great deal longer than a blog post should be or longer than you think your readers will want to read, edit it into two or more posts and then add them to your blog on successive days. If the topic of your blog is confined to primarily one area and you have a legitimate case of writer’s block, check out recent news articles that are related to your niche. Write a recap of a recent news story that relates to the subject of your blog and then add some commentary featuring your thoughts on the subject. Another great way to counter writer’s block is to visit an online forum that has as its subject matter the same topic as your blog. Look for a thread where someone asks a question, use that question as the inspiration for a blog post. This is a legitimate way to find out what type of information the public is seeking on the subject that you cover. Continually picking topics to write about that legitimately interest you is the number one way to insure that you will be able to consistently post on your blog with quality writing. If you are interested in, or better yet passionate about, the subject you are writing about, then writing about those things well shouldn’t be too much of a problem at all. Throughout the running of your blog, it is best to always concentrate on making your posts of the highest quality that you are capable of. Your writing is what is going to make the difference between a visitor returning to your blog at a later time or never coming back to your site at all. It is all controlled by you and your writing ability. —– Hosting Your Own Blog Vs. Using A Free Blog Host Once you’ve decided that it is time to start your own blog, one of the first decisions that needs to be reached is how the hosting will be handled. There are two basic choices, you can either go with a free blog host like Google’s Blogger or WordPress.com or you can purchase a domain name or your own and host your own blog. There are advantages and disadvantages to both choices and the right decision for one person may not be the same right decision for someone else. Hosting your blog with a free blog provider means that you have no monthly or yearly hosting bill. The space they provide for your blog to be hosted is free which is nice, but it comes with limitations. Some free blog hosts place ads on your blog as a way of compensating them for the free space they give you. Other than the advertising, which not all free blogging hosts use, the main negative to using a free blog host is that you are not in ultimate control of your blog. While you might write the content of the blog, the owners of the hosting company have the ultimate decision on whether to display it or not. They can suspend you based on any content or advertising choices that you make that they don’t approve of. Also, if a technical problem causes them to lose your data, it probably isn’t as important to them whether you retrieve it or not. There are many benefits to hosting your own blog on your own domain name. One of the main benefits is that it provides you with a great deal more credibility when your blog’s URL is its own domain name and not a blogspot or wordpress domain name. Other benefits include the fact that you control every aspect of your blog because you are hosting it, any benefits and marketing you do that increases the value of the domain name you are using can be used to your advantage and not a free blog host’s advantage, and there are more ways for you to customize your blog when you host it privately as opposed to most free hosting packages. The biggest downside to hosting your own blog is that it usually is not free, though the cost of providing your own hosting is not usually prohibitive to most people. There is not one answer for everyone on this issue of what is the best hosting decision to make regarding your own blog. If the blog you are starting will be casually updated and a very part time project, then a free host may be the way to go. It may also be best to go with a free host if you are just starting out blogging and want to see if it is something you truly feel you want to do. On the other hand, if you are an experienced webmaster or blogger then providing your own hosting is the only way to go. It provides you with the two biggest benefits, credibility and control. The importance of these two benefits cannot be overestimated. Whichever decision you reach should be based on the intent of your blogging and the goals that you have for your blog, and only you can make those decisions.