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Writing and publishing a blog online is one of the hottest ways to get your business message across to others on the internet. You can use a blog to brand yourself as a business expert, to promote your products & services and to communicate with others in a way that wasn’t possible in the past.

When it comes to blogging, here are my top 8 mistakes that you need to avoid making.

1. Don’t spam up your blog with a slew of banner ads, button ads, slider ads and all of that nonsense! You can monetize your blog but you need to do it in a way that doesn’t irritate your readers and chase them away.

2. You must and I will repeat this…you MUST back-up your blog on a consistent basis! Personally, I backup my blog every time a new post is added or something new is edited on my site. Many bloggers don’t take out the time to backup their sites and every day millions of them get their sites hacked and have no fresh backup of their content.

3. Don’t run around on the internet stealing another blogger’s content and graphic images! These things are copyright protected and you need to do your own work. Just because something is published on the web doesn’t mean its free for your taking.

4. You must have a way for readers to contact you! Add a “contact me” form or publish your contact information so that readers, customers, clients and others can contact you easily. I have seen all kinds of blogs online where there is no “contact me” information available.

5. Don’t overload your blog with too many graphics and fancy widgets/plug-ins that slow down your page load time considerably. Readers will not explore your content and hang around if your site is giving them 2 and 3 minute page loads. Test out your site using different web browsing tools (Internet Explorer, FireFox and Google Chrome) to see how your site is displayed and how fast your pages load.

6. You must be consistent with your blogging efforts! This means you need to publish new content to your site at least once a week (2-3 times is even better). In addition, you can’t disappear for several weeks or months at a time and think that your readership will stick around for your return. If you plan on taking some extensive time off, pre-write some posts and schedule them to publish to your site while you are gone.

7. Educate yourself about “no-follow” and “do-follow” links! These days you can get penalized in the search engines if you have too many outgoing “do-follow” links on your site. As a blogger, you want your site to rank well within the search engines so I highly recommend that you do all “no-follow” links on your site.

8. Publish content related to your blogging niche! While it is okay to occasionally step outside your niche and publish a few posts that are unrelated, you mainly want to stay within your niche. After all, that is why people are coming to read your content!

example: If you are a foodie blogger, writing and publishing posts on kid’s car seats would be inappropriate for your site. If you are a fashion blogger, writing and publishing posts on children’s games and gardening supplies doesn’t fit well within your niche.

There are many mistakes that I see newbie bloggers making online when they jump into the blogging world. The 8 mistakes that I listed above are the top 8 that I see new bloggers making today.

Working from home takes a lot of time, planning and focus. When you finally make the decision to work from home you will need to allocate space in your home to be set up for your home office. Once you have the space, you will need to go out and purchase all of the ‘must have’ essentials that you will need for running a business smoothly from home.

Here is a list of the items you will need.

* Designated Work Space – For some that will mean a complete room in their home designated for business work. For others, it might mean a corner in a guest bedroom. Doesn’t matter where…but you definitely need a space set up for work!

* Work Station – You will need a desk or table and a comfortable chair for your main home office furniture. I also suggest that you invest in proper lighting for your work space.

* Electronics – A desktop or laptop computer, all-in-one printer/copier/scanner and fax machine, calculator or adding machine, telephone with voice mail or answering machine.

* The Internet – You will need a reliable high speed internet connection! Don’t waste your time with dial-up because you will get frustrated with the speed and connectivity issues. When using it for business, put out the money and get something decent, fast and reliable.

* Storage Space – Invest in a file cabinet, book shelf or a storage bin to hold some of your home office business supplies. You will want to keep things organized and clutter-free for an optimized working space.

* Business Supplies – You will need printer paper, pens, pencils, calendar, day planner, file folders, paper clips, highlighter markers, stapler with staples, mailing envelopes, postage stamps, package mailers, labels, sticky memo/note pads, etc.

For some business owners, you won’t be able to go out and purchase everything at one time. That is okay…but try to get most of the essential items first. You can then add things as your budget allows.

When looking for deals…you can check out closeout sales, clearance sales and the secondary market for items like desks, chairs, lighting and for some of your electronic essentials. If necessary, see if you can borrow a few things from friends and family members to get you started.

Well there you have it, my list of “Must Have” Home Office Business Essentials.

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