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How to Make Money with Your Blog

Video Blogging Part 4: SEO Tips for your Vlog


As you may have read this past week, adding video content to your blog is a great way to attract readers and increase your traffic.  This is our final installment in our four-part series about Using Video in Your Blog.

Missed the first three posts?  Here’s a list of entries associated with this series:

Before you start vlogging, you may be wondering: “How can I optimize my site with video?”

Video lacks text, making it difficult for search engines to understand what it’s about, and therefore making it difficult for you, the blogger, to optimize your site or post.

Here are some ways to optimize a video post:

1. Use relevant keywords in your post title, file name and tags

Use a keyword in the title to give search engines an idea about what the video is about.  Do not stuff your title with keywords, of course.  Make sure your title is informative, but also makes sense to readers.  It also helps to think of something “catchy” and exciting.

Also be sure that your file name for the video has a keyword in it, and tag your entry with relevant keywords.

2. Post a short summary or synopsis along with the video

Don’t just post the video.  Post a few sentences explaining what it’s about.  This not only helps search engines, but, more importantly, helps your readers understand what’s in it.  Make it sound intriguing, so readers will be even more tempted to watch it.

You could also include a transcription of the video to help it get crawled.

3. Post your video on other sites

You post your video to other sites like YouTube or TubeMogul.  Remember to optimize on these sites as well by using keywords in the video name, writing a small paragraph describing the video and using appropriate tags.

Video blogging can be a great way to spice things up on your blog.  Not only is it a change from writing all the time, but there are also so many different things you can do with video.  Multimedia is huge, and a great way to connect with your readers, so experiment and have fun with it.

Video Blogging Part 3: Ways to Use Video Content on Your Blog


For the past week, we’ve been doing a series on Video Blogging or Vlogging.  This is Part 3 in our 4 Part series.

If you missed parts 1 (the Introduction to Vlogging) and 2 (Weighing the Pros and Cons of Vlogging), here’s a list of the entries associated with this series:

Video is an incredibly versatile medium that can really provide you with unique ideas and a very different outlet for your blog and for your readers.  Not only does video provide more variety compared to normal written posts, but there’s also a variety of different ways you can use video.

Check out this list for some video blogging ideas.

Just Talk

Just record yourself talking.  While this is simplest, in many ways it is actually difficult.  If you are just sitting there talking, you’ll need to make sure that what you’re saying is truly engaging to your readers.

Keep these short, topical and interesting.  People probably do not want to hear about how you went to the mall, bought a coffee, walked around, and bought some clothes.

Create a “How To” Tutorial

Record video of how to do something.  Some examples:  how to knit a sweater, how to apply make up, how to bake a pineapple upside down cake, how to change a tire, how to play a sport, or how to repair the pipes under the sink.  Just make sure that it’s relevant to your readers and easy to follow.


Similar to a tutorial, only you record your screen as you are doing something.  This is great for blogs explaining how to do things on the computer, like how to edit photos in PhotoShop, how to play a computer game, or how to use a program like Quicken.

For your average bloggers, just post something short and simple.  However, if you want feel free to record longer, more intensive screencasts and link them on your site for users who want more information.

Take video of an event as it unfolds

You really need to be lucky for this kind of video, and be in the right place at the right time.  But if you keep a camera – or even just a cell phone with a camera – on you at all times, and make sure that it’s easy to access, you might be able to catch something interesting going on.

Interview Someone

Contact someone important to your blog’s niche.  It could be another blogger, or a relevant, well known person.  You can set up an interview to record in person, or you could Skype your interviewee and record the interview that way.

To establish hype for the interview, do a post asking bloggers for questions they would want to have asked.  (This also helps you come up with more questions).


A good idea for travel blogs.  When you go on vacation, or even if you are just travelling somewhere near by or going somewhere new, bring a camera and record your adventure.

Be careful when filming other people or other places, some people don’t like to be on camera and some businesses may not want you filming in front of their store.  Be sure to ask and, if you want to get really official, write up a short hand out to give to people so they understand why you are filming them.

Of course you should always be careful when putting images of yourself on the web.  If you’re really worried, you could still take video without recording yourself.  You could do a travel documentary that only has your voice narrating.  You don’t need to film yourself for a screen cast.

And if you’re new to vlogging, don’t be afraid to try out all these ideas to find out what works best.  You can also ask your bloggers for reviews on how you can improve.  The best way to learn how to do something is to dive in and play around with it.

Video Blogging Part 2: Weighing the Pros and Cons


This week we’re doing a series on Video Blogging, or Vlogging!  You can read the introduction post for a brief summary about what vlogging is and why it’s great to include on your blog.

Vlogging Basics

Some bloggers may be hesitant to include video on their blog.  To be fair, there are a few very legitimate concerns that bloggers have with video.  However, there are also many advantages that video blogging can provide.

Here we’ll go in depth to analyze the pros and cons of video blogging.

Disadvantages of Video Blogging

Some bloggers are hesitant to video blog because…

1. They’re intimidated by the technology

To create a video blog, you need a camera and some kind of editing software.  Some vloggers use their webcam.  Others use an actual camera, but then you need a cable to upload the video to the computer.

Information Week has a very thorough article analyzing different video editing programs.  If you can’t afford these, Microsoft should come with a video editor, Windows Movie Maker.  It’s better than nothing and good for those just learning to vlog.

2. They don’t know how to incorporate it into their blog

Different blogging platforms may have different ways to upload the video.  If you lack experience with computers and the internet, it may seem overwhelming.  However, for, Google has a page describing how to upload video to guide you through the process.

Here is another article about how to create a vlog and upload it to your site.

3. It’s harder to optimize your site with video

Since video doesn’t have a text element that search engines can read, it can be very difficult to optimize a site that’s all video.  Search engines won’t crawl it, even if it is perfect for relevant searches – they simply have no idea that it’s relevant.

Of course there are things you can do to address this.  Make sure you include a relevant keyword in your post title.  You can also add a short paragraph explaining what the video is about.  This not only helps optimize the post, but gives readers an idea of what the video is about.

4. They require more bandwidth

On some sites, video may take longer to load.  If it takes too long, this could defeat the point if including video at all.  Some visitors may grow impatient and leave your site.  Furthermore, since video does attract more videos, on top of the size of the video, you may also have more viewers on your site, which can overwhelm the server.

Advantages of Video Blogging

By adding video to your blog, you can…

1. Stand Out from other bloggers

Despite how popular video sites like YouTube are, many bloggers still don’t use it on their sites.  So using video will help your blog stand out from all the others.  Having something unique to offer is what makes readers come back to your blog.

2. Catch more people’s interest

Videos are easier for visitors and probably take less time, too.  People today will probably be more interested in watching something than in taking the time to read a post.

3. Connect with your readers

It’s nice for your readers to see a face behind all that text.  It makes the whole experience more personal and friendly, and so much of blogging is about networking and building relationships.  Seeing a blogger’s face can aid that networking process.

4. Expand your outreach

You can post your videos on multiple websites in addition to your blog.  Websites like YouTube or TubeMogul will allow you to post video, and you can include a link to your website on the same page.  A lot of people use YouTube already, so it expands your potential audience.  Not only are you making it easier for more people to come across the link to your blog, but you’re appealing to a different type of audience as well.

5. Enjoy more creative flexibility

Video is a versatile form of media.  You can use it to show anything, from a screen cast of your screen to a short skit to a how to – anything you can imagine.  You can take a screen cast of how to use PhotoShop, or you can film yourself teaching your bloggers how to bake a cake.

Video Blogging: Basics


We’ve been emphasizing the importance of keeping things on your blog fresh: unique content attracts readers and keeps them coming back.

Using video blogging is one great way to mix things up and increase your audience.  Websites like YouTube are a testament of how popular video is, and including it on your blog may help you appeal to a new audience.

Video blogging can open up a whole new set of possibilities, in addition to attracting new readers.  For example, some things are just easier to explain with video, like how to knit a sweater or how to use PhotoShop.  Video is a very versatile medium, and when you use it you have more flexibility with how you portray your thoughts, ideas and content to your readers.

By using both video entries and writing, you are giving your readers options.  Maybe they’re tired and don’t feel like reading.  Instead of leaving your site, though, they can watch something.

The next few posts will be part of a 4-part series about using video on your blog.  It will cover:

  1. Introduction to Using Video (that’s this post)
  2. Reasons to use Video – weighing the pros and cons
  3. Video ideas for your blog
  4. SEO Tips for using Video on your blog

In these posts, we’ll explain in further detail about why you should use video on your blog (and why some people choose not to).  We’ll also help you brainstorm for ideas.  Not all kinds of video will work on all kinds of blogs: some subjects lend themselves to video blogging, but for other subjects, you may struggle to think of appropriate video ideas.  Lastly, because video lacks text, it can sometimes be tricky to optimize a site or post with video content, so in our final installment you can find some SEO tips for video blogging.

Unique Content Ideas: Follow the News


If you run out of steam and need ideas for content, one great idea is to follow the news and stay ahead of the crowd.  If you check the news regularly, you’ll be one of the most informed and first to know about any given event.  This means that you could help break a news story if you stay up to date with your current events.

Why would you want to break a news story?

If you’re one of the first to post about something online, chances are you’ll also be one of the first that Google notices.  And that means that when people start searching for the news item you’re posting about, your blog will come up.

If it’s an especially juicy news story, then there will be a lot of buzz around the web about that item, and staying ahead of that can be even more beneficial.

Plus, keeping up with what’s going on shows your readers that you’re in touch, that your information is up to date, and ultimately that you’re credible.  It helps establish authority on a subject.

So people will be more likely to find you, and more likely to link to you.  And then you can gain readers.

Useful Tool for Following the News: Google Reader

Alright, so you’re convinced that it’s a good idea.  But with the amount of online papers and media out there, how could you possible stay up to date?

A great tool for this is Google Reader.  You can subscribe to a number of different websites and organize them in different folders.  Whenever a new story is published, Reader will be updated and you’ll see it come up right away.  It displays the headlines in a list, and when you click the headline it expands so you can read either a summary of the article or the article itself (it depends on the website).

You can have all your news sources in one place, so you don’t waste time jumping from website to website, sifting through content.

So start reading the news so you can write about it.  Of course, don’t just repost articles or links to them.  Be sure to include your own opinions and interpretation of what’s happening.  Add a new perspective to make it interesting for your readers.  Remember, interesting and unique content will appeal to readers and keep them coming back.

Pros and Cons of the “More Tag”


As a blogger, one of your options when you post is to use what’s called the “more” tag.  If you have ever seen one of those links on a blogger’s home page that comes at the end of an entry and says “Read more here” or “See full post”, you know what I’m talking about.

Basically the more tag allows you to post an excerpt of your entry on your home page, and then if the reader wants to see more, they have to click the link to see the rest of your article.

How to Use it on Your Blog

Here are instructions for how to use the more tag:

  • Write your post as usual.
  • Click where you want the break to be.  Many people include the first paragraph or first five lines or so on the home page.
  • Look for the “insert more tag” button.  It is on the tool bar / editor at the top, usually next to the alignment buttons, the hyperlink buttons, etc.
  • Click it
  • A line should appear, dividing your post in two

If you are using Live Journal, it will be called an “LJ Cut” instead of a “more tag”.

There are several advantages and disadvantages to using the more tag on your blog.  Ultimately you’ll have to decide what the best option is for you.  What do your readers expect to see when they come to your blog?

For the occasion, I have insert a more tag myself so you can see the result.  Read about the advantages and disadvantages.

Read the rest of this entry »

4 Reasons to Promote Your Blog Using a Blog Carnival


Here’s a nifty idea for new bloggers looking to get their name out: submit an article to a blog carnival.

Blog carnivals are a group, community or collection of bloggers and article entries.  It’s similar to a magazine and has an editor.  The editor collects blog articles and posts an entry with all the links submitted to them, usually with their own comments.  Blog carnivals come out on a regular basis, just like magazines come out with new editions every week or every month, and there is usually a host blog, which changes each edition.

Basically, bloggers post on similar themed subjects, and their posts are all anthologized and grouped together to make it easy for web searchers to find information and blog posts on the topics they’re looking for.

So here are four reasons to use a blog carnival to promote your blog:

1. They help your audience find you

Blog carnivals will already have a large assortment of visitors, who will be led to your blog.  It’s an easy way to find readers – all you have to do is submit your post, and the readers come to you.

There’s a large assortment of information out there, and it can be tough for readers to find your blog over all the others.  A blog carnival will help readers find you more easily.

2. Connect with other bloggers

This is a great way for you to find other bloggers in your subject area and connect with them.  When the carnival is posted, check out the articles and see what’s around.  Read other bloggers’ articles and comment on them.

Blog carnivals provide an arena where you can network with other bloggers and build relationships.  Now not only are you getting readers from the carnival, but you might get links from other bloggers.

3. See what’s popular

You can see what other people are writing about, what articles are getting responses.  You can see what opinions, subjects and thoughts are floating around and being shared, and this may help give you ideas for what to write about.

Find out what topics are “hot” and see if your blog can jump on that bandwagon.  Or, you could always take a different route, and post the controversial opinion.  Both are good ways to attract readers (just different types of readers).

4. May help establish credibility

You have to submit your article to an editor, who then decides to include it in the article.  Since you have to go through this “approval” process, this can establish your authority on a subject.  After all, if an editor includes you, this means that at least one other person has read your article and is willing to share it with others.  This means readers will be more likely to click your link, especially if an editor has written positive comments about your article or blog in their post.

Intrigued?  Get started promoting your blog, and check out Blog Carnival for more information and for a list of blog carnivals out there!

Craft Your Posts For Your Readers: How Article Design Can Increase Traffic


How your content appears on the page can have a huge influence on your bounce rate and ultimately your number of readers.

Blogging isn’t just about writing content, it’s about how you format your content.  Here are a few things you should think about when formatting your content:

  • Paragraph length: keep it short
  • Use of headings: direct your readers to unique content
  • Lists: provide a preview, entice readers to keep reading
  • Your Audience: what do they expect to see?

With the popularity of texting and websites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems as though people today have shorter attention spans.  When people text they try to fit the most amount of information into as small a space as possible.  The same goes for Twitter.

This means that longer paragraphs and longer articles may be intimidating to some of your readers.  Most readers probably do not even read entire articles, and instead just skim them.

Use Short Paragraphs

If you have large blocks of text, then most viewers will probably be bored or intimidated, and they’ll stop reading and leave your site.  Using short paragraphs may encourage readers to stay longer, since it’s easier on the eyes.

Think about it: if someone puts a large cookie in front of you, you may decline because it’s too big, you’re too full and you don’t want all those calories.  But if someone puts a plate of small, snack-sized cookies in front of you, you’ll eat one, and then another, and then another.  Before you know it, they’re all gone.

Break up your post with headings

This makes your post more structured looking, and helps your reader know what each part of your post is about.  They can skip headings they’re not interested in and beeline straight for the ones they are.  Thus it’s easier for them to find information they’re looking for, and when a site is easy to use, visitors will keep coming back.

Headings also help search engines understand what your content is about, so they have a better chance of marking your page as relevant.

Lists are fast and easy to read

Lists also look appealing, and add more variety to your post.  With bulleted lists and headings your post will be less intimidating to readers afraid of large blocks of text.


  • are easy to read
  • are a good summary for your readers
  • can act like a table of contents (if included in the beginning of the post)
  • sum up the post for readers
  • act like a preview to entice readers to keep reading

Your Audience

Keep in mind, of course, that different subjects will have different kinds of readers.  For example, a political blog will probably have followers who enjoy reading long, analytical posts, so it’s good to do long posts now and then, too.  Longer posts with more text may look more academic, and so if you are targeting a more academic audience, you’ll want to structure your posts for them.

More Blog Promotion Techniques


Blog promotion is a necessary component to accumulating readers.  In addition to using SEO and building relationships with other bloggers in your niche, you can use some of these ideas to attract visitors to your site.

Join Directories

You can submit your blog to a directory.  These can help you gain traffic.  Some people swear by them, others put less of an importance on them.  They are not used as much as they were in the past, but they are worth a try.

Directories can also help you find other bloggers in your niche, and can help those other bloggers find you and, possibly, approach you for a link.  Directories are usually organized by category, and different directories will have different features.  Some may be pickier than others, for example, but you know that the blogs on pickier directories are successful, noteworthy blogs.

Here is a great article about different blog directories you can submit your blog to.

Use Give-Aways

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers – especially fashion or shopping blogs – with give-aways.  They’ll hold contests of some sort and the winner will receive some product.  Of course, you’ll have to pay for this somehow.  If you can’t afford to give away products, you can always make them yourself.  Blog layout themes, for example, are one popular give away, and you can have the users link back to you.

Use Branding

Branding makes your blog unique and distinctive.  For example, a specific logo design that you always use, even if your layout changes, is a form of branding.  Also having a specific message or slogan helps you brand your blog, site or product.

Branding is mostly used for products, but there’s no reason you can’t apply it to your blog.  Leo Babauta has some great points about how it’s okay – and in fact, a good thing – to use advertising techniques for your blog and how to use branding effectively for your blog.

Craving more information?  Stay tuned for a follow up post with more ideas, or read a previous entry about 5 Steps to Promote Your Blog.

Alternative Media to Spice up Your Blog Content


Blogs are about writing, but if you have a variety of media, then you’ll expand your audience.  Different people like different things – for example, some prefer to read, others, however, prefer to watch.  Most people write on their blogs, but don’t limit yourself!  Here are different ways of communicating to your readers:


If you are an artist, you can post pictures of your artwork: whether it’s painting, sculpture or something you made photoshop.  You can even include information about what materials you used, where your readers can find those kinds of materials, what you got your inspiration from.  You could also encourage readers to respond by asking them for their comments or constructive feedback.


Like taking pictures?  Start uploading them.  Keep in mind that the internet is a public place of course, but feel free to take pictures of your adventures.  You could even try posting an entry in several pictures, and let the photographs show the story for you – without words.  Or post a picture and have your readers guess what it is.  Many people do a thing called “Wordless Wednesday,” where on Wednesday they will post a picture that describes how they feel or is just something they like.


You could also start posting a webcomic.  The webcomic world is difficult to get started in itself, like blogs, but you don’t have to do anything serious.  Instead of writing about something funny that happened, just make a doodle or draw up something in Paint.  It doesn’t have to be a work of art, but sometimes it’s nice to express yourself in a different way than usual, and it can unlock the more creative side of your brain.  You could even post a picture of today’s Dilbert comic, for example (and provide a link back to their site, of course).  Make sure that whatever you do, it’s legal and within copyright laws.


Film a video log or pod cast and upload it to your journal instead of posting an entry.  It could be anything – a how to, an opinion on a current event, or even a story.  It depends on what the subject of your blog is.  Don’t do something random, make sure it appeals to your readers.

Audio clips

Perhaps you’re on vacation and want to blog about your adventures.  Spice your entries up with a little soundbite of the waves crashing on the shore and the seagulls chirping in the background.  Help your readers really feel your experience.

These are all ideas that you can incorporate into your blog. Don’t just do all of one thing – mix it up!  One day, post a how to video.  The next day, write an entry.  Day after that – post your day in photos.  You can even mix them within the same entry.  Think outside the box.

These ideas are meant to help you generate interesting and unique content, to engage your readers and to make both sides of the blog experience fun.  Always remember that you should remain on topic with your blog and that your content is relevant.  For more ideas, check out last week’s post on Unique Content Ideas.

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