creating unique contentLet’s face it: no matter how talented a writer you are, there is very little in the way of subject matter and article formats out there that haven’t been done a thousand times over, and that simple fact will require that you give your content a unique spin each and every time you write if you want to catch the attention of fickle readers. From the way that you write to the images that you use in your blog posts, every single factor counts when the competition is this stiff!

In the name of helping what your blog has to offer rise to the top, here are five tips for creating perfect content:

1. Shine Up the Old Until It’s New

Given the point made in our opening paragraph, it’s very likely that the topic that you choose to undertake for your next article has already been done at least once by another blogger, and that means that you’re going to need to put a unique enough spin on things that your words won’t end up reading like many millions before them. To this end, be sure to employ your own unique style, allowing your personal voice to be heard clearly, even among all of the others.

2. Always Illustrate

Instead of leaving your readers alone with your words, take advantage of the potential of a graphical addition to your work in order to make your content more engaging for anyone who stumbles upon it. Whether that means sprinkling your paragraphs with simple images that relate to the topic at hand, or utilizing infographics or other visual aids in making a point, every single piece that you publish should offer your readers a perfect combination of words and images, giving them a double dose of worthy stimulation as you walk them through your point.

3. Consider a Formatting Theme

creating unique content

One excellent way to make not only your individual posts stand out, but your blog as a whole, is to choose a formatting theme and stick with it across the board. This could mean formatting each piece as a top 10 list, in the form of a letter, or with a simple introduction, body, and conclusion; no matter which style you choose, you can bet that your readers will appreciate the continuity as they surf your content.

Obviously, the key here is to be sure that you choose a formatting theme that is as engaging and appreciable as your content itself!

4. Be Unique – Stand Out From the Crowd

Every topic may have been covered one thousand times over online, but that doesn’t mean that a bit of your creative genius won’t be enough to establish some uniqueness, and this is exactly what you need to do if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Instead of telling you how to be unique here – that may be just a bit counterintuitive – we’ll leave the particulars up to you, but never be afraid to let your personality shine through in everything that you write, allowing your own creative chops to help you to create something that is truly worth reading every single time your fingers begin to fly across your keyboard.

5. Write Every Word For Your Readers

While it can be easy to get lost in your prose as if you were writing for yourself, it’s very important that you remember your audience with every word that you commit to, allowing yourself to always be creating content for them and them alone. This means taking into account what you know about your readers: why are they visiting your blog to begin with? What related topics do they enjoy? How can you better compel them to click an internal link? What can you offer them that will make them thankful that they paid your little corner of the web a visit?

By following these simple rules, you’ll have a great head start in putting together absolutely perfect pieces each time you’re ready to publish!

Image Credits: 1, 2.

About the author: Anna Fox is the creative writer running a blog about productivity and self-improvement. For illustrating blog posts on her own blog for making them shine she is using images from Smart Photo Stock – a source of high quality photos and graphics.

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GooglePlusLogoGoogle Plus is one of the most popular social networks today with users increasing rapidly every month. Here are some Google Plus tips to help you get the most out of it. If you are a new user, these tips will help you get started and learn the ropes, Even if you are long time user, you will still find these useful.

Some Really Cool Tips

To make a draft of a post, just make a draft circle or just share it to yourself. The nice thing about Google Plus is that you can make lengthy posts and then edit it later if you want. But if you want to tag your buddies in Google Plus posts, just use the “+” or “@” prefix followed by your friend’s name. Your post now has a link to your buddy’s profile.

Here is a cool tip for those who want to move their Facebook contacts into Google Plus. It is true that Facebook does not permit direct export and import of their contact into Google Plus. It isn’t just Facebook but also its apps; they don’t allow you to do it either. But you can use a Yahoo account to get around it. Start by importing your Facebook contacts into Yahoo and then transfer them to Gmail and that’s it, because your Gmail contacts will appear in Google Plus.

If you want to integrate Twitter and Facebook into Google Plus, there are plugins for Firefox and Chrome that can do it. Now if you want to use Google Plus search engine with Google Chrome just open Chrome. Look for the spanner icon and click it and choose options. Look for the Manage search engine under the Basic tab. You will see the all the search engines that Chrome is using. To search in Google Plus profiles just add Google+ profiles in the textbox.

More about Google Plus Circles

The circles are used for grouping your friends into clusters, and you can select what content to share. This allows you to organize your friends into family, colleagues, and close friends and so on. Google Plus has default circles built in including Following, Acquaintances, Family and Friends, so you don’t have to make one from scratch. The Following feature is similar to the one used in Twitter. Keep in mind circles are private and no one will know which circle you placed them in. They cannot even see the name of the circle.

Hangouts

These are video chats that may consist of up to 10 people. It is similar to Skype but comes with a social network component. By combining this with Google Calendar you can set up Hangouts. If you are a businessman or run an NGO you can use Google Plus Hangouts to conduct meetings. With Hangout you and your friends can watch the same YouTube videos.

On Facebook you use the Like feature to let your friends in something that you find interesting. In Google Plus you will put a +1 on it. Unlike Facebook Likes which get buried when something new shows, your +1 will still be there.

These Google Plus tips and tricks show you just how powerful this social network can be. It is not yet as well known as Facebook or Twitter true, but it is increasing in popularity rapidly, so don’t get left behind.

Know Your Guest Author:

Alan is the free lancer writer of many technology sites and he loves to share his knowledge on Google Plus.

 

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ideal blog postThis is a guest post by Arba on characteristics of an ideal blog post. You can check out the guidelines for guest posting on our write for us page.

Can you recollect one of those ideal blog post that you have seen in the last few days?

The blogosphere has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years, so much that you can find a blog on just about any topic, be it the always in demand “online money making”, or the mysterious “Search Engine Optimization”, blogging, business, travel, technology, health, fashion, sports, current affairs, you just name it, and you will find a Blogger covering that topic in detail.

However, as the numbers of blogs and blog posts rise, we are witnessing a steady decline in the quality of the content coming up on the surface of web. To be frank, blogging requires a little more than reasonable writing skills, and a good writer cannot automatically become a good blogger. An ideal blog post needs to have some characteristics, and I am listing them down for those who have just ventured into the field of blogging, and those who are interested to buff up their blog posts’ quality.

Characteristics of an ideal blog post -

There could be a lengthy debate on what an ideal blog post should look like. Though people might have different opinion about the characteristics of an ideal blog post, the guidelines pretty much remain the same. The characteristics could also depend to a large extent on the objective of your blog. An ideal blog post for a “make money online” blog could be different from a personal blog which does not have to look for characteristics.

Remember that these points mentioned below are more important for those who are looking to monetize or popularize their blogs. If you are running a personal blog with your own random mutterings; you probably don’t need to worry about these characteristics or, about writing an ideal blog post.

We will look at an ideal blog post from 3 different aspects.

An ideal blog post must make a point – The Objective:

In spite of the fact that we often refer to a diary when trying to explain what really is a blog, that doesn’t mean you can write all kinds of pointless thoughts that people usually write on their diaries, and call it a blog post. Instead, all blog posts must have a purpose, a message, or a point, regardless of the type of the blog posts (e.g. lists, tutorials, opinionated, etc).

Even when you are sharing a funny or inspirational incident from your life, you have got to end it with something to take home for your readers. In short, a blog post should be a little more descriptive and soulful than a tweet. This is the primary requirement of an ideal blog post.

An ideal blog post must stay true to the title – The Content:

It’s easy to come up with a title that grabs the attention of the web surfers and make them click, but a good catchy title alone can’t make a post stand out in the crowd. You have got to do justice with the title and write a post as catchy as that title. At times, we stumble upon titles that promises big, but the post falls short when trying to fulfill the promise made in the title.

While writing, try to make your post as unique, and as catchy, as the title.

An ideal blog post must be well researched-

You should aim for a post that covers the topic from all angles, and all perspectives. The more angles you can cover, the better it will be for the reader. The better it is for the readers, the more beneficial it will be for your blog. Not to mention that search engines also prefer pages with lots and lots of quality content.

So, instead of covering a topic in several different posts, you should try to cover it expansively in a single post.  Rest assured, this single post will fetch more riches than many short posts combined. Also, a comprehensively covered topic will make it a good resource for readers who will be referring to this single post and your blog in future, instead of trying to keep a tab on many different resources.

An ideal blog post must be up to the minute -

The information in your blog posts must be up to date, especially when you are covering topics that are constantly changing and are eventful, like tech, or fashion, or Search Engine optimization, etc.

For example, it can be quite embarrassing to do a post on a mobile phone launch, which has already been canceled or, postponed by the company, same goes for the topics like Search Engine Optimization where covering a month old development might sound quite out of date.

An ideal blog post must add something new to blogosphere – The Contribution:

A requisite, we often see in the guest posting guidelines is the fact that the post must add some value for the readers. But for some reasons, we overlook this very important element when writing for our own blog.

It is true that you should update your blog on regular basis, but that doesn’t mean you start rewriting on topics which have already covered a hundred times on other blogs out there, an ideal post must add something new to the blogosphere, even if it is a new list, new opinion, tip or trick.

The topic of how an ideal blog post should look like, is one that can start an interesting debate. Tell us your opinion on the characteristics of an ideal blog post by commenting in this post and we can start a debate.

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Length of Blog Post

There has been a constant debate on the ideal length of a post in a blog. There are people who say that an idea can only be communicated in a blog post that is long. Small posts cannot express things effectively and so on.

What is your take on the ideal length of a post?

To a great extent it is true that what you want to express looses its effectiveness if you do not explain it in detail and in a manner that your reader understands it. In order for you to put your point across effectively, you have to write a detailed post and such posts will be about 600-700 words long. I am a firm believer of the fact that blogging is like story telling and for a story to be effective you have create a background for the story and when you create a background, the story becomes slightly longer that you would want it to be.

Just imagine, would the Hollywood movie “Avatar” be as effective, if the director tried to wrap it up in less that 90 minutes. It would not, right? Nobody bothered about the length of the movie, because the story was neatly laid out and told effectively.

So, does that mean only long stories can be effective? No, that is not the case.

Then how can will you make a long story short and yet keep it effective?

Let us discuss about the movie “Avatar” itself. If you have seen the movie, you will notice the fact that the beginning of the movie is actually a narration. The director narrates a background very effectively in very limited words and straight jumps into the actual story. The base of the story is the narration at the beginning, yet it is so effectively communicated in a short narration and while doing this the director also ensures that the viewers do not loose interest or, focus in the story.

While writing blogs posts, it is important to do the following -

  1. Identify what is the crux of your article and write about that it only so much detail that your readers can clearly understand it.
  2. Rewrite all such sentences that are creating the background for the article in such a way that it conveys a longer message in shorter sentences.
  3. Whenever you write short sentences to convey an idea, just ensure that you maintain a smooth flow of ideas into the next few sentences where you actually narrate the story.

Having said all that, I should also say something here. While we are discussing about the length of the blog post in this post, and while the world may profess that the length of the post is important, Brian Clark, who is a master copywriter himself, breaks all the myths by writing one of the shortest but most effective posts, I have ever seen. You can see this post “Actually, Blogging *is* dead” at his blog at copyblogger.com.

In an effective and short post he discusses about the debate on “blogging is dead”. He very smartly links this post to a few of his earlier posts thus ensuring that he creates some internal links and also makes his readers ask for more. And they find more information when they read the other posts that he is linking to in this particular post. I rate this as the “Post of the year”. This short post has already been tweeted 538 times, has been shared 58 times on Facebook and has about 85 comments. That can tell you the effectiveness of the post.

So, forget about the length of the post. An effective post can be short too.

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Focussed PostingHow many blogs do you have in your favorites list?

I have quite a few in mine. I am a voracious reader and I am frequent visitor to many of the blogs authored by the best bloggers on the internet. Yaro Starak’s entrepreneur’s journey, Jeremy Schoemaker’s shoemoney.com, Carl Ocab’s carlocab.com (I even guest authored a post there), Brian Clark’s copyblogger.com, Daniel Scocco’s dailyblogtips.com and Darren Rowse’s problogger.com, all are blogs that i frequently visit and have subscribed to. These blogs have been a source of learning and information for me over the past few years.

There were certain other blogs as well that were part of my favorites list but which dropped off them in the past few days. If you ask me the reason why, I would probably have to be a bit too blunt in saying that they had started to drop in terms of quality. John Chow’s blog and Caroline Middlebrook’s blog is amongst these blogs.

I know I am kicking off a debate and am being a very rude critic when I write this post. But the fact of the matter remains. Top bloggers have started loosing focus in their posts. The quality of posts have dropped.

Most of the successful bloggers either write a couple of posts in about 10 days, most of which are posts on affiliate products or, they are discussing off-topic things like the dinner they had the earlier day and the like. What do I have to do with the information on their dinner menu for the previous night? It is true that a bit of harping about your lifestyle and your earnings can motivate new bloggers on the blogosphere. But too much of it is injurious for both the blogger and the reader. Isn’t it?

This is where I am still a fan of Problogger and Copyblogger. Information contained in these blogs even after so many months of producing content, is relevant and informative. You feel like reading their posts again and again and you feel like remaining subscribed to them.

Carl Ocab, for instance had been basking in the glory that it attained as a “blog of a 13-year old blogger” for a long time. The quality of posts had dropped and there were very few or, no relevant posts. “Make money online” was only a mere punchline for the blog. There was nothing about making money online in the blog. I who was a frequent visitor to the blog, stopped reading the posts there. My interest in the blog also dropped. I am sure there would be quite a lot of readers like me, who would have unsubscribed from the blog. Though the quality of posts have suddenly improved there, it is going to take some time for a reader like me to start frequent visits to the blog.

What is the reason for the drop in quality?

These big boys in the blogosphere have lost their focus of blogging. With the kind of cut throat competition that is there in Internet Marketing business today, survival was a matter of “who has the most apples”. In this ensuing competition, most of these bloggers started shifting their focus from mere blogging to other arenas like affiliate marketing, product creation, social media advertisements etc. But what they forgot was to maintain a balance between the numerous apples that they were juggling. They started ignoring some of the things that they were doing and consequently the oldest project – in this case their blogs, started to go stale.

Does it mean that you should not venture into other projects?

Of course, not. What it means is that it is very important to maintain a balance between the projects that you are doing. It is here that a good business plan comes into picture. You should know the basic requirements that any new assignments need and the time that your will have to devote in order to get the project up and running and sustain its optimum performance. If you have an exact blueprint of your newest project you can work out schedule where your ensure that you do not ignore your current project and in the process loose your current readers and subscribers.

In addition to this, somewhere I also felt that many of these top bloggers were a victim of fatigue. It is not long back that I started blogging. The reason why I started this blog was because of my horrifying initial experiences with Internet Marketing. I wanted to make available to the newbie internet marketers, everything that I kept searching for and couldn’t find. After about an year into this blog, I feel many a times that I am running short of material to write about. These big bloggers, who have been blogging for the past 3-4 years are sure to experience this phenomenon. Some of them who are very strong and knew what they were doing overcame it and are still doing good. But yet others who couldn’t overcome this fatigue, slowly started to move off-topic and lost focus.

How to stay focused on your topic?

What I am about to say is better said than done? I know it is difficult, but you have to remain focused in order to achieve your financial goals in life.

Reading – The best way of remaining focused on your topic is to read. Read as much as you can and read relevant news and information on the internet. Read good blogs, articles and ezines. You will gain insights into a lot of things that are happening in your area of interest when you read. In addition to that you will also get information that can be duplicated in your own writing style, in your blogs. These information could be of help to your readers. Being updated with the latest is, in a way one of the easiest ways to remain focused.

Posting – This could sound a bit controversial and my opinion on this is a different from what the other bloggers feel. This opinion of mine has stemmed from my personal experience.

How many latest blog post updated would you want to receive in your feed reader from a particular blog in a particular day or, week?

There were days when I happened to see almost 3-4 recent posts from a few of the blogs that I had subscribed to. After a few days, I started to feel tortured. I did not want to read so many blog posts at the same blog in a single day. Also the flavor and aroma of the oldest post was lots in minutes because of the newer posts coming in. I was in a way fed up. This is a reader experience.

Such frequent posting leads to idea erosion as well, if you think from the perspective of the blogger. Today I might have about 10 different ideas to blog about and tomorrow I will have none. So does it mean that I should publish all my ideas today itself and publish nothing tomorrow. No, absolutely not!!

Each of your ideas should be carefully captured into your posts and these posts can be scheduled over a period of time. Ideas do not have a shelf life. So you need not worry about it getting stale.

I am of the opinion that you should only publish about 2 posts in a week, so that you readers are able to digest what they have read in your post. This helps in maintaining freshness in your blog and would also prevent “idea erosion”.

Conclusion -

A blog is your personal asset. It is an idea that had taken shape in your mind and that you had expressed in the form of words. It is entirely upto you, how you want to maintain it. The thought expressed in this post is entirely my opinion and I would surely encourage a healthy discussion around this. You are free to express your opinion in the form of comments. Also this post is not aimed at tarnishing the image of any blogger named herein, and all of them command respect from me.

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Niche researchWhy should you research you niche when you are writing a post in your blog? An interesting question and this has an interesting answer as well.

Niche research is one of the most difficult things to do. People spend hours and hours together researching their niche before they start their blog because this is what most successful bloggers teach. Then when they are asked to research their niche further before writing any posts in their blogs, they start pulling their hair.

Actually niche research involves a lot of time, but the quantity of the results in comparison to the efforts put is very minute, like processing milk to get butter. You have to process a large quantity of milk to get just a small cup of butter. After putting in so much of effort, when there is nothing substantial to show, it becomes a cause for frustration for many. In addition to this, the lack of knowledge in niche research adds up to the frustration levels.

But niche research is not actually frustrating and worthless. It pays off but only if you persist and consistently understand your niche.

Researching a niche to decide on the blog is acceptable to most people, but when it comes to researching every time you have to write a post to your blog is tedious and involves quite an effort.

Why should you research you niche when you want to write a post on you blog?

You have created a blog on a niche topic. Now you want people to start visiting your blog. You also want the search engines to index you blog. You want your blog to feature in searches when the search terms involve your niche. It is unlikely that anyone starting a blog would say that they do not want any one of the above. How is it that you would make it possible? Will your blog start featuring in search engines all by itself?

It is here that niche research helps you. Carefully research your niche and find a few keywords in your niche that are being searched for by people. You can use Google Insights to check the searches and use that data as well while you are researching. Then write you blog post on one of these keywords, with the keywords itself featuring in the post. Maintain enough keyword density within you post and your blog post will start to feature in search results very soon. Search engines would start sending in a good amount of traffic and people who come to your site in search of information on the keyword, can be made to stay at your page by providing them useful information. When people find good information on your blog they would read through other posts in your blog and might even add your blog to their RSS feeds, thus increasing the number of regular visitors to your blog.

Is niche research required in all your blog posts? The answer would be “Not really”. You can occasionally write posts which are carefully researched in order to get traffic flowing into your blog from search engines. At other times you can write about other things on your niche so that you provide content that is useful and fresh and has a touch of your personal experience in it.

If niche research has proved to be a tough affair for you, then I would recommend you buy Micro Niche Finder. The tool is very handy, easy to use and does the entire research in less than 30 minutes, so that you can utilize your time for other important things.

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