Although blogging and RSS seems to be a hot topic these days, only about five percent of American internet users actually use it.
From both a business and personal perspective though, blogs and RSS have a lot to offer for the average internet user.
The main reason is that by using RSS, you can cut down on the amount of email that you receive. You can receive a lot of your news in the form of headlines.
Blogs can tell you what people are thinking about, and what they're really interested in. This is an effective tool for marketers. If you're looking to meet new people, this can also be an excellent way to meet others who share common interests.
It's not really necessary to understand what blogging and RSS are.
Blogs are nothing more than online diaries. They can be used to talk about business trends or any other topic.
RSS is a form of website code that is search engine friendly and can be read in a special type of browser called an RSS reader. As I said before, this is a great way to receive news on just about anything you're interested in.
If the thought of keeping an online journal or using blogs to discuss your business interest you, then I have some great tools that will make your blogging experience a lot easier.
Before you build a blog, you need to decide how you want to host it.
If you're not interested in the technical aspects involved, you can always sign up for a free account on a blogging site.
The most popular is Blogger - http://www.blogger.com
If you'd like to build your own, there are several different ones you can try including Word Press ande Nucleus.
Before you choose a blogging script, I recommend you try different ones to see which one you like best.
Open Source CMS - http://www.opensourcecms.com - offers several different types of scripts you can try to find the blog script that's the right fit for you.
The most important feature in a blog script is that it's search engine friendly.
This may not seem that important. After all, you can just go right to your site and post.
Sounds easy right? Maybe not if editing HTML is as alien to you as the notion of learning to build a blog in the first place.
Try this tool to help you post to your blog. It offers you a WYSIWYG editor, which means that you can write and edit at the same time, and it you'll see exactly how your blog post looks as you are writing.
Blog Editing Toolbar - http://www.aspmodules.com/at/bloginfo.asp - This tool will help you easily edit your blog without knowing HTML. All you need is IE 6, and the install is quick and easy.
Maybe you don't find the idea of posting online very appealing. As a writer I can't imagine being without my word processor.
If you'd rather have a desktop tool, instead of writing your blog from the control panel, this tool is for you.
wBlogger - http://www.wblogger.com - is an excellent application for helping you create blog posts, and you don't have to be online to write posts for your blog.
You create your post and save it for when you are ready to post. This is especially convenient if you don't have time to write everyday.
Although RSS is slowly becoming popular, many still like to receive an email. The problem is that many of the autoresponder systems you can use either don't include RSS, or RSS autoresponders can be expensive.
Below are two tools where you can copy and paste a subscription box onto your site and visitors can subscribe for updates.
If your blog application doesn't create a feed automatically, you may have to make one. It's really much easiser than it sounds.
With this application, you just enter your information and click submit. This is especially useful if you want to create a feed for your website.
RSS Feed Generator - [http://www.rsstoolchest.com/rss-feed-generator/]
Blog and Ping Applications
You use these applications to let the blog and RSS directories know that you've updated your blog. This is especially important if you own a business blog because it allows you to quickly and easily notify several sites at once.
One caveat though: you should only use these applications to update the directories of new posts to your blog. Don't use them to notify the directories that you have an RSS feed for your site. You'll get banned.
Pingomatic - http://www.pingomatic.com
Pingoat - [http://www.pingoat.com]
Although blog and ping is great for notifying the directories that you've updated your blog, you usually need to submit your RSS feed to the directories first before using the update tools.
Feedsubmitter - http://www.feedsubmitter.com - is a free tool you can use to help you get your feed indexed quickly. This will save you some time because you don't have to visit each site to get your site indexed.
Although I can't give you any ideas to write about (although I will if you want to pay my consulting fee :) blogs are a great way to meet new people and expand your business.
Jinger Jarrett owns the blog "Ask Jinger". You can subscribe to her blog and get her best free small business, internet marketing, and writing resources. http://www.askjinger.com
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Article Submitted On: February 27, 2006
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