Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What is an aggregator?

An aggregator allows you to read all your blog feeds in one centralized location. They are a great way to keep up with all your favorite blogs without having to remember to go to each individual blog site.

There are two types of aggregators. Web-based aggregators allow you to read all your feeds online through a website. Other aggregators must be downloaded onto your computer before you can use them. A few aggregators you can try out are:

NewsDesk BottomFeeder
EffNews RSS Reader
NetNewsWire (Macintosh)
NewsMonster (Mozilla)

Posted by Mel of Ballyhoo Virtual Services

The joys of Pinging!

Pinging is a way of letting RSS feed aggregators and Blog directories know that your Blog has new content added. In theory, the more often you Ping your Blog, the better your Blog will do in directories and search engines. Take note though that some sites have rules on how many times you can have your blog pingged in a set amount of time.

So how do I ping my blog?

You can use PingMyBlog or my personal favorite Ping-o-Matic.com either one are simple to use. Just enter your Blog information, check off all the boxes, and click "Submit Pings." You will receive a confirmation that your Blog was pingged by each of the sites you checked off.

It’s fast, easy and well worth it.

There’s also a PHP Blog Pingger that you can download but I haven’t had time to check it out yet. It’s called Blogpingger

The following sites will also let you ping your blog:
My Yahoo!

Posted by Mel of Ballyhoo Virtual Services

Monday, July 25, 2005

How and why to start a blog

Internet marketers often use blogs as a way to promote their products or services. The use of blogs has become quite popular because the constantly updated content allows the search engines to spider them quickly and keep them indexed. A blog, simply put, is an online journal or diary where articles and updates can be posted frequently with the intent of drawing traffic to your web site. There are several types of blogging software that can be used to create your own blog on whatever topic you choose.

You can choose to use a free blogging service such as the one we are using (blogger.com - my personal favorite) or you can host your blog on your own site (if your website hosting package allows for it) or purchase a separate hosting package strictly for your blog.

A lot of people say it's a good idea to purchase a domain and host your blog without using free services if you are using it for your business because it looks more professional. Instead of your blog name being mybusinessblogname/blogger.com it would just be mybusinessblog.com. Although I see their point and would agree if it were a website, with a blog being less formal, more friendly I think its your choice and it won't make or break you either way.

There are benefits to using a free service such as having pre-made templates at your disposal, the ease of use - you can have your blog up within a half hour, and you don't have to know HTML to name a few.

Once you have your blog up, a good way to get lots of content is to quote and reference material found on other blogs and web sites relating to your topic, and posting comments as you see fit. Now, I'm not saying to copy/paste other people's work word for word but if you find things that are related to your topic and think your readers might find it interesting or helpful, then quote or reference it. In time you can start to blend in longer articles to express any additional thoughts you may have.

Keep in mind that you should write about the things that are of interest to you. If you try to post to your blog about topics you think your readers will enjoy but its things that you dislike, you will become frustrated and you may lose interest. I found an article on another blog called the Top 10 Topics to Blog About and they have some great ideas listed there.

You can draw attention to your blog by linking to the blogs of others and making appropriate comments. If your posts to other blogs are interesting and informative, they will eventually link back to your blog, making their own comments, which will lead to an increase in traffic to your blog and your web site.

When creating your blog, make sure you have a comment form and your email address readily available so your visitors can send feedback. At first you might not get much feedback and it can be frustrating but the more interactive content you add and the more you leave comments on other people's blogs, the more comments you will get.

It is also a good idea to create a page giving your readers a bit of personal information as to who you are and what type of business you operate. Blogs tend to be more "personal" than a typical website so your readers will feel more comfortable if they know a little about you.

Having a Blog can help you increase your web site traffic which should result in increased profits. The best part is that blogs are quick & easy to get started and if you decide later on that you don't have time or it's not drawing more profits, you can always delete it with no hassle.

Posted by Mel of Ballyhoo Virtual Services

Easy RSS for Bloggers

Do you need help adding RSS feeds to your blogger? It’s really easy and here is how you can do it:

Log into your blogger account

Go to "settings"

Go to "site feed"

Copy the "site feed url"

Then go to www.feedburner.com

Scroll down to "try feedburner today" and paste your "site feed url" and then click next. You'll be at "select services" There are lots of options on that page and you can look through them all, but to get to the feeds you need to go to the bottom of that page and click on "next".

Then you can log in or sign up. It's free to sign up. After you fill in your info then click and that page will allow you to "activate your feed". Click on that and then click on "launch your publicity tools" and then click on "chicklet chooser". Then you have many options. I personally always choose the “my yahoo”, “my msn”, “newsgator” and “xml”. Click on each one and you'll see the code you need to grab. You have to do it for each one.

Then just go back to your template and put it in. You're set. As you can see there are other different things you can do too. So look around in there and check them all out.

But that is just the very basics of getting a feed up. Now, when you get that feed added let me know so I can add you to my personal “my yahoo” page!

Nell Taliercio is the owner of a leading work at home mom resource website packed full of unique information for the telecommuter, business owner and virtual assistant.

**Permission to reprint granted by Nell of www.mommysplace.net

The Key to Successful Book Marketing

Virtual Assistants – The Key to Successful Book Marketing and Promotions
Virtual Online Books Gain in Popularity and Sales

Margate, FL - Finally, the answer self-publishers and published authors have been looking for to compete in the overwhelming and often oversaturated book publishing industry. They have found the solution for getting the same exposure and media coverage as those authors who are fortunate enough to work with top marketing consultants. They have found the one true answer in getting their book the recognition it deserves. Meet the Virtual Assistant!

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are highly skilled professionals who take the time to excel in their given field. They provide extensive marketing solutions, creative and innovative advertising campaigns, administrative support, proofing and editing capabilities, and other specialized services for entrepreneurs, small businesses, authors, and others who want to bring their business to a new level, or market their books for greater results. VAs work globally, taking full advantage of all the connections of the online book networks, online publishing listserves, and other media outlets that are available to all who know where to find them. They utilize all their expert talents and superb writing abilities for book marketing and promotions, thereby helping entrepreneurs and authors achieve the success they deserve.

Diana Ennen, co-author of Virtual Assistant ~ the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA (http://www.VA-TheSeries.com) states, “Today’s Internet has opened the doors to successful marketing. Being able to send your books to other online bookstores, promote your books on other sites, contact publishers and editors of papers via e-mail, and just day-to -day tasks of getting publicity is now convenient and available for all to do. As an author myself, I know how important it is to provide that personalized attention to authors, so I make every effort to provide them that specialized attention and total commitment in marketing their books.”

Virtual assisting has also opened up the gateway for e-books and online bookstores. Virtual Word Publishing’s site has a virtual online bookstore and has experienced tremendous growth over the past few months. Self-published authors are getting exposure for their books and establishing themselves as successful authors and experts in their field. The bookstore currently has a wide variety of excellent books on many topics ranging from starting a virtual assistant business to successful tips on marketing your online business.

If you want to stop by the bookstore and see the many fine books, or list your book on the site, stop by today. You can download sample chapters or get research and information on publishing and virtual assisting as well. Simply the Best, that’s what you’ll find here.
Diana Ennen has written several books including, The Virtual Assistant Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA (co-author Kelly Poelker), Words From Home: Start, Run, and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business, and The Home Office Recovery Plan (co-Author Patty Gale - http://www.home-officerecoveryplan.com). Contact Diana at diana@virtualwordpublishing.com or http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com/

What's happening at Virtual Word Publishing this month!

Virtual Word Publishing is pleased to announce two news clients this month for publicity. One IrvinePress and their book The Spirt Among Us, Everything Happens for a Reason byRev. George Saunders and Phil Ross. This is an outstanding spiritually motivating book similar to Chicken Soup, which we look forward to aggressively promoting. http://www.irvinepress.com

Second, Robin Zell of Bragelets http://www.bragelets.com We look forward to helping her to achieve greater success with her online jewelry business by offering PR, marketing tips, web copy, and more. .

We also have finished the new website for our favorite fiction author, Paulo Reyes, author of Sledgehammer. http://www.PauloReyes.com.

Tawnya Sutherland and her forum VAnetworking.com is awaiting the final word from a TV station in Boston to represent the VA Industry and her forum. As the PR Representative for the forum, I aggressively sent qualified candidates to interview and we look forward to the opportunity to show Boston the great Virtual Assistants available in the Boston area.

My book, Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA has received yet another college order. We are proud that it is being accepted in colleges throughout the United States and Canada and look forward to it someday being the textbook of choice for all Virtual Assistant programs. Now we just gotta get more and more Virtual Assistant programs started in the colleges. I forsee the day when these programs are as common as typing classes! Virtual Assistants are here to stay and helping businesses and authors succeed like never before!

Our site Publicity-VA http://www.publicity.va.com almost ready and will be going live this week.

That's our news! I hope yours is good too. Have a profitable week!

Diana Ennen