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The Essential Beginners Guide to Blogging

The Essential Beginners Guide to Blogging

From personal to corporate, a blog is a must-have when it comes to your online presence. They help create visibility, awareness and a touchpoint for customers, fans, fellow hobbyists, whoever you chose to address. Blogs can turn into a day-to-day lifelong commitment to prose, or a random visual record of events and achievements. Whatever your blogging style of choice, there are several rules and best practices that everyone should follow.

1. Choose the Best Platform For You

The word blog means so much more than just a stream of text these days, WordPress and Blogger are leading platforms that can help you craft well-designed sites or pages. Pinterest lets you take a photographic lead to your blog, while Periscope is the new way to share your live video, or you can host shows on YouTube and Facebook.

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These and many other niche services are all viable. Consider how you can best present yourself, your company or products to the world and go for broke with the most appropriate platform, or play safe and stick with a standard blog you can add many types of media to. Go for an appropriate style and design to attract users

2. Find A Voice For Your Blog

How you address your audience depends on what you want to say and who you wish to appeal to. Personal blogs should reflect your own voice, while a company voice can be narrated by a “persona”, with whoever updates the blog taking on that role. Alternatively, blogs updated by a range of people can have many voices to lend variety and unique perspectives to the mix.

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Over time, you will discover what sort of content attracts an audience. Keep mixing that in with new ideas and vibrant images, riveting information and exciting content to keep people coming back for more. Any content that you can provide, either a unique insight or a useful collection of statistics or facts will always be eagerly sought out. Infographics are very popular and easy to create, but don’t go overboard.

3. Get More Insight Into Your Followers

However you track your followers, be it the number of subscribers, clicks or comments, you will want a useful way to be able to contact them. The best way to capture that information is through a contact form. By gathering useful information, even if it is just a name and email address, you can use it to send out regular updates or newsletters. Entice them to sign up, with offers for exclusive content or information and keep in touch as you cultivate a relationship with your followers to find out what they want from you.

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4. Build A Reputation

Blogs rarely grow a massive following instantly. Instead, they generally develop slowly until established, and then pick up the pace as more people share news about them, be prepared to put in the hard yards on your blog. No matter how niche, or how small the audience, they will come, as long as you keep at it and provide a genuine voice. Stay true to that tone, and don’t go for gimmicks or pad your blog out with dubious content, users can spot fakes and fakers, and will turn away instantly.

5. Link and Be Linked To

The key to any degree of success is the use of web links. Linking to other blogs and sites will help your ranking. Getting people to link to you, or adding relevant links in forums, discussions and across social media will also help people discover your blog. Paying for links, comments, reviews or followers falls under the faking it category and will be immediately obvious to real followers. There is endless discussion of link types, but don’t let that drive the direction of your blog.

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6. Protect Your Blog

Successful blogs are prone to be cloned or have their content being ripped off. Ensure you patrol the web for plagiarists. Also, ensure that your blog text and images are backed up somewhere safe, in case your blog is hacked, the server if corrupted or the host fails. Ensure you only allow trusted contributors access and safeguard passwords and use two-factor authentication to make certain no one else can take control of the site.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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