Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tips to Starting a Blog

Because it is looking like I won't be able to get my review up, I have opted instead to post some thoughts on blogging.

Five things bloggers should do:

[1] Network. Most people know about contributing conversation via the comment posts of other bloggers, particular of blogs which are of direct interest to your own. Link backs help and at least put the ground work in place, but if your blog lacks the clout of a well trafficked site there is an alternative. A rarely used tactic for bloggers is to "slip the maitre d' a $20", i.e. if you are looking to get yourself noticed from a well known blogger in your field it would do yourself no harm to introduce yourself via a voluntary donation or Amazon wish list purchase to the blogger concerned. Trust me, hardly anyone does it and for $20 it is perhaps the best advertising deal in town.

P.S. I don't have either facility - so no, it doesn't refer to myself ;)

[2] Links. Most people bookmark their favorite links or use feeds and access their favorite sites via these options. However, if you frequent a blog which you would like to see your link added go to their site via the link in your blog. When a blogger checks their source of incoming web traffic there is not an unreasonable chance your link will appear (especially if you head to their site every day of the month). With more people using feeds to keep up to date on their favorite blogs, those unique incoming links from blogs like yours could be the ticket to get your link on their site

[3] Join the crowd. Sometimes it pays to the follow the crowd. This has particular relevance to Stock blogs. Obviously, you want to pick stocks before others buy them up - but when foot traffic is the name of the game it pays to go with what's popular. Wallstrip earned its niche doing just that. The new 52-week high list, or stocks occupying the front page of the dailies are a good place to start. There does need to be a balance - go for something too popular and you may find yourself swamped. Blogger users have an advantage with Google Finance; I don't have the most trafficked site compared to the leading bloggers, but I did get a noticeable bump when I posted about Southern Peru Copper (PCU); mine was the only blog post pertaining to this stock and given its popularity based on performance, a copper play, and its healthy dividend yield - it was easy traffic to attract. The key: spell the company name out in your blog. Again, I think this will only work for Blogger users.

[4] Don't spam. If you want to introduced yourself to a blogger, go to the trouble of writing a personal email directed to the person responsible for the blog. Do not send a three line generic template email asking for a "link exchange". Unless your engadget offering an exchange of "mutual benefit" your email will quickly see itself in the trash.

[5] Dominate. You need two things for blogging; [1] a desire to write through thick and thin, even if your dead pet Rover is your only reader [2] find the gap; identify the vacancy in your area of interest and fill it. For example, US stock blogs are two a penny; but blogs in FOREX, options and foreign markets in particular - are lacking. If one was to give this the switcheroo - there are probably few US stock blogs done in a foreign language (although I don't know how good the translator software is at converting between different languages it surely can't beat the writings of a native tongue). There are still plenty of opportunities out there. Go Conquer!

There - one weekend post...