There are countless opportunities on the Internet to capture a niche market where people are searching for information that you may be able to provide. If you do a good enough job, you could capture a tremendous audience, a huge following, and of course in the blogosphere all of that equals fantastic advertising revenue and sales conversions. There are usually far more great opportunities and ideas out there than you’ll have time for, so it’s important to understand how to have a blog that you don’t need to constantly struggle with.
What’s so difficult about building a successful blog? It’s the element that causes most aspiring bloggers to fail – the lack of time to post quality content and updates to the blog, and every professional blogger knows that if you don’t provide constant updates to your blog, people get bored and eventually stop returning to check out if you’ve published anything new. I’m just as guilty of it as the next blogger. So I’ve spent some time digging through what tools and options are available to bloggers who want to know how to have a blog that doesn’t take so much work and effort, but still keeps readers interested. In this article I’ll outline a few great widgets and resources that can help.
How to Have a Blog Auto-Update With Embedded RSS Feeds
I like this one because it’s so fast and simple to set up. You just choose the formatting, enter the keywords that you want feeds for, and let Google do the work. Typing "SEO" returned the feed link for SEO.com – good enough for me. Clicking on the "Generate Code" button generates the code that you can copy and paste into your blog sidebar. In my case, I use WordPress for all of my blogs, so I just go into the Text/HTML widget for the sidebar and paste the code Google provided.
After saving the changes, the widget gets embedded directly into the sidebar of the blog, essentially an embedded feed reader providing content from the SEO.com feed.
Google is obviously the easiest, but if you want a bit more ability to customize the embedded feed, you’ll want to consider adding any one of the many RSS feed widgets out there.
Embedded Widgets With Cool Content
While your blog is most likely very much text based, in this Web 2.0 world there’s so much more that people are looking for. If you can make your blog a fun and exciting place to check out by providing a wide variety of many types of content, you’ll end up collecting more readers much more quickly. The type of content you want to offer is limited only by your own imagination.
For example, FlashCountdownTimer embeds a cool-looking countdown clock on your site, or another great example is HeyZap, which lets you embed games right on your own blog. Widgetbox has always been my favorite source for these kind of widgets that you can embed anywhere on your blog. A couple of my favorite widgets that I find adds tremendous functionality to any blog includes the Skype Online Status Widget, and the Flickr Slideshow Widget.
Thedisplays your current online or offline Skype status to folks who visit your blog – this gives your readers the feel that the blog is a very direct connection to you, a live, breathing person.
Theallows you to embed a customized photo slideshow of Flickr content tailored to the sort of content you have on your blog. It’s a very cool way to offer your readers imagery about the very topics they’re interested in! These are only a few examples – explore the world of widgets to determine what sort of dynamic content you want to embed on your blog. Just remember, it updates itself – meaning no work for you!
Embedded News Related to Your Content
Another source for some great content are news sources, which are mostly offered free for the taking. Most major news sites provide a widget or embed code so you can place news updates on your blog just like you can embed a feed. My favorite is, yet again, Google News – which offers a very simple wizard to embed news onto your own blog.
You can tailor the news that gets displayed by using keywords targeted towards the content on your website. This is a valuable feature on any blog where people may be coming to you for the latest information and news on a topic – and if your blog is also the place where they can preview news headlines on the subject, they’re more likely to keep coming back. And once again – the news headlines are updated with no effort on your part.
Free Article Directories
One of the things that makes blogging so great is that you can get to know a person through their blog. For this reason, it’s not always the best option to use article directories that offer free content. On the other hand, if you have a very hot niche and simply don’t have time to write about it as often as you’d like, and you don’t have the resources to hire professional writers, then article directories are a very viable option.
It’s important to shoot for the best directories and the highest quality articles (not many article directory articles are high quality, but there are some!) I’ve used some of these free articles before, and two of my favorite directories, as well as the most popular, are EzineArticles and ArticlesBase.
EzineArticles is, by far, the best of the best when it comes to free article directories. It’ll take some sifting through writing that’s pretty horrid at times, but before long you’ll hit a gem. Just make sure that before you use the article, you keep the writer’s byline and link to their website or blog. After all, you’re getting a free article, it’s the least you can do!
Articlesbase is the place I usually go for content when I can’t find anything at EzineArticles. Articlesbase is quickly rising as a prime spot for high quality free articles. Again, if you use any on your blog, just remember to give credit where credit is due, and you’ve got yourself a goldmine of free content for your blog.
In the end, the truly professional blog is one that’s constantly updated by professional, paid writers – that’s what attracts the most readers. But if you’re just starting out on your own and you just don’t have the time to create three or more blog updates a week – the resources in this article will let you update your blog more often without having to put in very much effort.
Do you have any blogging tips and tricks that you use to keep your blog updated and fresh? Share your insights in the comments section below.