If you have a business online, you most likely have a website and/or a blog.
From my experience over the past few years with blogging, it is better to have a blog than a static website.
In 1998 I created my first website at Homestead which I loved and was with them for several years. But I took the plunge toown my website/blog instead of hosting it with Homestead for three reasons:
- they didn’t have a good “blogging” system in place to write articles and post
- owning my own website meant never worrying about losing it If Homestead went out of business
- social media was getting popular and they didn’t have the technology to engage visitors
Since owning and creating my own blog, I have learned a few things I’d like to share with you here. Below is a list of resources that you can explore and they’re ones I use now, or have used, that have been helpful but no longer need personally.
For some of these listed, I am an affiliate of and will let you know which ones. Being an affiliate allows me to earn extra income online while promoting their services – I see it as a “thank you” for promoting them! It’s a win-win! Something you may want to consider while creating, improving your own website/blog.
So, here we go: (A = Affiliate)
1. A. Blog/Website Hosting. I use Dreamhost. I have found them to be excellent on service and support. They are also affordable. They use “green” technology. Unlimited Domains and Sub-domains
2. Word Press has got to be the BEST and most FUN platform to use for a blog! Fun? Really? Here’s why, because of plugins. Think of a “Plugin” as a specific software program you’re installing into your computer to do a certain thing.Plugins can make your blog really unique.
Note: Depending on what website hosting company you use, they usually have Word Press available to you when you register with them. First you register with a hosting company, then download Word Press as the platform to use for your blog. Hosting fees vary from company to company. I pay a flat fee of $120.00 per year for hosting, $9.95/year per Domain name.
Autoresponder for Email Lists
1. A. Get Response I have used Aweber, Constant Contact, and found Get Response works the best for me. I like it even better now that they have upgraded their easy to use newsletter design system. They have many web form designs for email opt-ins, surveys, and statistics. The pricing increases as your email list grows. I have a small list right now so I only pay $9.00/month. Not bad. When my list grows to 250, I’ll upgrade to $14.99/month.
Video is a big deal these days when it comes to promoting your message and marketing it. This was a headache for me for a while but I have found a happy solution. YouTube is great to use to get your message out. But if you’re creating a program and you want it to be private, or ensure it won;t be deleted for some reason on YT, then having your own video system in place is vital. Something that will record and give you an embed code so you can upload it to your blog.
1. Easy Web Video This is a really simple, very easy to use program. It’s $20.00/month. You upload your video to their server where you can change the video “skin”, size, and other features. Then it generates an embed code which you copy and paste into your blog. I used this for a while and it worked great. I later chose to use the “big gun” which is more cost efficient if you’re watching your budget.
2. Camtasia Studio I LOVE this. Pricey but worth it. $299.00 for the software. I bought it from Amazon and saved about $50.00. This is the “Big Gun” of video creation. You can record what’s on your screen and create a video from it – great for going to online webinars that aren’t being recorded, or record a PowerPoint presentation. It requires a Screencast account where you upload your videos to, saves them, and generates an embed code to use on your blog. You can control privacy levels. Well worth the investment.
1. Prezi Would you like to turn your PowerPoint presentation into something visually captivating? If you like being creative with technology, creating 3D visuals of your content you’ll have a blast with this. There’s a learning curve, but once you get it – you got it and you’ll be on a roll!
Getting Your Message out / Building Traffic to Your Blog
1. Facebook Got a Fan page? Fan pages to me, seem like the virtual cafes that you’d stop in and have a cup of coffee, read the paper and be off to your next place. Fan pages keep you “posted” and up to date with what’s happening on your blog. So it’s a good extension for your blog/business. Plus any “likes” you get on your blog will shoot over to Facebook! Great, simple, free, advertising!
2. A. Network Superstars. If you’ve read any of Seth Godin’s books you’ll know how passionate he is about “tribes”. Think about it. What can you think of where there’s a “following” for a certain thing, cause, or product? How about Apple for example. They have a HUGE tribe – people that only buy Apple products, right? That’s a tribe. When it comes to getting traffic to your blog it can be difficult, challenging, and frustrating. But if you’re in a tribe – a group of people who visit your blog, write comments on your blog and share the content on Facebook and other social media places – and you reciprocate, then you instantly generate more traffic to your blog and increase search engine rankings. Another win – win. Something to think about and look into, especially if you want to get your message out while making connections and building relationships online at the same time.