If you’re looking for sound advice on how to build a better blog then read on. Sharing practical tips built from experience is one of the best ways of learning about effective blogging. This handy collection of blogging resources is designed to help beginners and the financially motivated gain control of their blog space. I’ve included some tools that I find useful for blogging along with a few tips of my own.
General blogging tips
This group of links covers essential blogging tips and answers the most frequently asked questions. There’s advice here for both beginners and experienced bloggers to digest.
- Building a Better Blog by Brian Bailey, presents his Top 10 ideas for how to build a better blog. Good back to basics advice and tips dealing with topics like categories and content.
- How to Blog is a piece by Tony Pierce, winner of the Bloggies 2005 category ‘best article or essay about weblogs’. 30 topical tips on style, technology and telling it like it is.
- 47 key tips from the World’s best BLOGGERS serves bite sized chunks of wisdom with links to each guru’s weblog.
- Blog Tips – Central Register has a collection of links to blogging tips covering many important aspects of blog building and maintenance.
- Pro Blogger has tips and hints on how to market and profit from your blog.
- Blog Business World posts on marketing, public relations and search engine optimization. The blog has a good list of links to other business related websites.
- Winners of the 2005 Business Blogging Awards is a good place to check out some highly rated blogs about business.
Useful blogging tools
A few of the tools I use, how and why I use them. There are lots more tools scattered around the home page that come in handy from time to time.
Using a spell checker is the most reliable way of correcting spelling mistakes in your posts. If it’s a lengthy post I recommend backing it up by pasting it into a word processor or notepad and saving it. At that point you can run a spell check, more sophisticated programs do this automatically and can highlight problems with grammar. Apart from this here are some free tools that can help.
- SpellCheck.net is an online tool that lets you paste in text for checking. There’s also links to other useful reference tools for language and maths.
- tinySpell is a small Windows freeware utility I use. It monitors your typing on the fly and alerts you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It also checks the spelling of every word you copy to the clipboard.
- ieSpell is a free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage.
- TurboScout is an online tool that lets you search across multiple engines from within a single window. If I need to widen my search options this is the tool I use. You only need to type your keywords once to compare results from 90 popular search engines including blogs. This is a speedy tool for finding blog posts, news, products and media files. It pretty much puts all your favourite search engines in one place. You can also use it to quickly find information about your own blog.
Tip; use the ‘subject’ prefix in Blogdigger to narrow your search by categories like this;
Search Engine Optimization
These next couple of tools I came across at the LawTech Guru Blog which also discusses how to use them. They’re not tools that I use regularly but if you’re interested in search engine optimization they can be useful. Calculating your keyword density certainly provides insight on how search engines may be seeing your work.
- GoogleRankings.Com lets you check the ranking of a Web page in Google. Try some of the links at the bottom of the page like keyword density.
- Google Page Rank Calculator has a few tools for analysing keywords and page rank in Google, Inktomi, and AltaVista.
- 99 Free SEO Tools has more tools than you can click a mouse at.
Submitting RSS Feeds and Getting Your Blog Listed in Directories
Here’s a tool for automatically submitting your RSS feed to the main directories. This means your blog posts can be found in RSS search engines. The other links take you to sites with comprehensive lists of services to submit your blog address and feed to manually.
- Thomas Korte has a feed submission form that sends your feed to several main services simultaneously. So now you can rub shoulders with the BBC.
- Submit RSS Feeds is an extensive list of services you can submit your feed to.
- Submit Your Blog is a list of directories you can get your blog listed in.
- RSSTop55 – Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites also has recommendations.
Notifying blog search engines and similar services that your blog has been updated is a fast way of advertising your efforts. Here’s a couple of tools I use to ping important services. You should only ping when you publish fresh or updated content.
- Ping-o-Matic is a popular notification tool. Once you’ve pinged, bookmark that page for launching automatic pings later to save filling in the form each time.
- Pings.ws is a form that lets you notify manually or automatically the most important weblog sites at once. An alternative to Ping-o-Matic.
- Blog and Ping Profit Secrets has a list of 45 URLs you can add to your update services blog.
You can categorize your blog posts by adding Technorati ‘tags‘. Once ‘tagged’ you can ping Technorati to have your post show on Technorati tag pages. Other people interested in searching for items using the same tag names will then find your posts.Tags also offer value for your readers by providing additional pathways to categorized resources. You can learn all about using tags here.
- Technorati Tags Bookmarklet a handy tool you can use to automate the process of making tags.
There are lots of new RSS tools and resources emerging daily. It’s good to have a few sources for finding them. Here are some sites and tools I use;
- RSS Compendium is a good place to drop by for news and tools. The blog is a fountain of all things feed worthy. See also Weblogs Compendium for weblog resources.
- RSS Specifications Blog has news and a good selection of RSS categories.
- Eyetools Research Greg Edwards on design and content optimization through eyetrack testing — Interesting viewing data and rules-of-thumb from measuring what people read, look at, skip, and ignore on webpages.