Category Archives: blogging

Exciting New Word Course

From posts to whitepaperWe have created an exciting new Word online course From Posts to Whitepaper.

As we have been discussing , using an email newsletter is an important part of promoting a website. To enable this, one adds a sign-up form on your website. On the form one has to offer some free incentive to encourage the viewer to sign up.

Many Useful Techniques
In this Word course we show how to create pdf whitepaper to be used as the sign-up form incentive.

In addition, the seven lesson course covers a wide range of Word techniques that will be useful for other projects as well.

Leveraging Articles
The course covers a second aspect. Over time one writes many useful articles on your website news or blog. If they deal with the same subject, one could collate them into a whitepaper and so leverage the work that has gone into writing the articles. In this course we copy blog posts from this website into a Word document to create a whitepaper entitled Practical Website Promotion.

Click here to go to the course page to learn more.

The course will be followed up with a companion WordPress course Email Marketing for your Website (coming soon).

Article Writing Tools

toolsWe have covered different aspects about writing articles as a way of promoting your website. Up until now we looked at the structure to follow, how to find topic ideas, and the importance of scheduling. Sure, it is still WORK but really rewarding.

In this post we will consider four tools you could use to make the task easier.

1 Create Folders
In no time you will have written several articles, and will be working on new ones. Soon there will be files everywhere!

It is useful to start with at least one folder called, for example, Website Articles. I tend to create subfolders for each article as well.

You might have more than one draft of an article, as well as several images that you are considering. It is helpful to keep all these together in its own folder.

2 Write Off-line
Develop your article in your favourite word processor first. That gives you powerful spelling and grammar tools and an easy way to move things around. Don’t worry too much about formatting at this stage.

Once you are happy with the article, you can copy and paste the text into WordPress’ post editor. Then you can do the final formatting and upload and place the images.

3 Take Notes
There are useful apps like OneNote and Evernote that you can use to take notes for articles that you are working on. However, I find having a small old fashioned notebook like a Moleskine, to work just fine.

So when you sit in Starbucks and you get an idea, create a note straight away. Often doing that will lead you to the next idea.

4 Collect Images
When you are working on an article, use the Images feature of Bing or Google to look for suitable images. When you find something you like, save it into the corresponding article folder.

Typically I collect several images and then often create my own using ideas from the images I have downloaded. One can easily create interesting graphics using the graphic tools included in Word.

Summary
Writing articles is key to promoting your website or blog. In this series of articles we have discussed points to keep in mind to make the task easier and to save you time.

We cover the topics in more detail in our many online courses so be sure to visit hmdtraining.com.

Writing an Informative Article with Ease

IllustrationPart 1 – The Structure

In the first post of this series on promoting a website, we stated that having good, informative content was the key strategy. Writing articles can be time consuming, so one wants to minimize the work needed and to make it go further.

When discussing how to write articles for your website, one must consider 4 main points:

  1.  Structure
  2. Finding Topics
  3. Scheduling
  4. Tools

In the post we will focus on the Structure of an article. (On a side note, we will refer to articles and posts interchangeably as we assume you will be using a tool like WordPress where your articles will be posts. However, you could equally well write your articles as traditional web pages.)

Structure
The following diagram describes a good structure to follow:

Article Structure

The Title
The title of the article is the first key element. It will appear in the article url and in search engine listings and is often the first thing people will see. SEO gurus will tell you it needs to contain as many of your keywords as possible. Personally I think it is sufficient that it honestly reflects the contents of the article.

The image
It is good to use an image or graphic to illustrate the article. For one, it catches the eye faster than the title, which still has to be read.

Introduction
This is where you introduce the issue, or problem that will be discussed in the article. It sets the scene as it were.

Specific Purpose Statement
This paragraph often is what makes a person decide to read your article or not. It should be a statement like “here are three easy steps to solving the problem”, or “here are four reasons why you should do xyz”. So basically it is a promise of what the reader will get when the read the article.

The Content
The content section will depend on the topic being addressed. Keep in mind, people are put off by large blocks of text. So keep your paragraphs, and sentences short.

It is particularly helpful to use subheadings in the content. We have learned to scan the subheadings to see what the article is about. If they subheadings make sense, that too will encourage people to read the article.

Conclusion
This is also an important part of the article. Mostly it can be a summary of the points made in the article. However, depending on the nature of the article, you can state clearly the action that you want the reader to take as a result of your article.

It is also an opportunity to promote upcoming articles and other services that you offer. In our case we will discuss where to get article topics in our next post.

The Wonder of OneNote

OneNoteAs part of upgrading to Office 2013 I found OneNote included but no Outlook. That just did not make sense. Who uses OneNote – what does it even do, I wondered…?

I had seen it on my phone and my tablet, but I use yellow stickies for notes anyway.

Somehow I was prompted to find out what OneNote was all about. For sure, one can use it for old fashioned notes and that is what I did initially – I put my grocery shopping list on OneNote on my phone.

But it does so much more. It keeps record of all your information, no matter what format it is in. It could be a photo, a hand scribbled note, a spreadsheet etc. No more looking for where is that document that I save somewhere…

So OneNote is an ideal management tool for book and video projects. It is especially useful if you work with a team of people and have to attend meetings.

So now that the rainy season is upon us, take some time out over a weekend and look into OneNote.

Why and What to Blog?

In a previous post I explored the different technologies one can use to tell your story. One of these was the blog. From questions that I was asked, it was apparent that many people were not clear about what a blog was. So in this article I will explore blogging in more detail.

A blog is not as mysterious as it sounds. Basically it is a website where you write articles as web pages. Websites based on Blogger or WordPress provides you with the tools to write your articles and save them in the website. The articles are saved chronologically. When you save an article we refer to it as “posting” the article.

The “why blog” will provide the clue as to “what to blog“. In other social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, one tends to write short bits of a few lines. Replies are even shorter. Basically it is like having a conversation over a cup of coffee – one  is being social.

Why Blog?

By contrast blog articles are longer. Because they are longer, one can explore a topic more fully. So blog articles tend to be more thought out. Often they require considerable research. They take time to read, so you have to write them well enough that it will be worth people’s time to read. All of this spells WORK.

What to Blog?

Because blog articles require work, you need to stick to a topic or range of topics that you are passionate about and therefore will be willing to put in the effort required. Whether it is work related, or your hobby, you must be willing to put in the time! Personally I have a blog, jesusinnewwest.org, which takes many hours a week to write and manage.

While it helps, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert on the topic, but you must be willing then to do some research. So it is not just time one puts in, one also has to add value. When you are willing to invest the time and do the research, then your blog will be tremendously helpful for people with similar interests.

How to Blog

Here are some articles on how to write good blog content.

And some ebooks:

In Summary

Hopefully this blog article will make the point that blog articles are 1) longer, 2) more thought out/structured, 3) more researched, and 4) add value. So what are you waiting for – you have a blog in you!