Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blogging – Why All Small Businesses Should Have a Blog

Blogs are not just for personal bloggers any more, more and more businesses are jumping on the blogging bandwagon, and for a good reason, blogging can have a very positive impact for small businesses.  

Blogs are an inexpensive way to not only keep in touch with your customers, but to allow new customers to find you and it is a great marketing tool.  There are several free blog hosting sites out there or if you already have a company website, it is fairly simple to add in a section for a blog. 

Small businesses should not overlook this very useful tool to boost their marketing power all they will need is fresh content to keep the blog updated.  Setting up a blog and then not adding content is a common mistake that small businesses make.  Blogs are a tool to deliver fresh content to the readers; it is an excellent way to showcase products or promotions and to generate interest. 

Interaction and Feedback

Blogs offer your customers a way to interact with your company.  Your blog should allow users to post comments and feedback.  Companies should closely monitor the comments and be sure to reply to them; even the negative comments and feedback should be addressed because it shows concern for the opinions of the people that make your business successful. 

By monitoring blog comments, you are gaining valuable feedback that can be used to improve your business.  Additionally, customers are more inclined to be repeat customers when they feel as if they are valued and blog interaction is a great way to show your customers that their opinions are valued.   
Clients like to know that their opinions matter and when you occasionally have blog content that is asking for their feedback specifically, it shows that your company is open and receptive to what they have to say.

You will be able to get to know your client base better with a blog and they will get to know you better as well.  When you walk into a business, you do not know who the people are behind it; you just know that there is a service or a product that you like.  Blogs allow your customers to get to know your business better, to understand who is behind it and what the company’s goals are.  Blogs give a personality to your business, a personality that allows your customers and clients to connect to your business on a more personal level.

Boost Sales and Bring in Business

Blogs are valuable tools for boosting your sales.  Companies can showcase a different product once a week, giving clients and in-depth look at the product and its uses.  Blogs can be used to generate interest in new products and services, before they are available. 

You can build up interest in upcoming promotions and products and by marketing through you blog, you can reach a wider audience than just by having a website alone.  Having all of the information on your website is one thing, but your clients probably do not check the website unless they need something.

However, with a blog, they can stay up to date easier.  They can subscribe to your blogs via email, and so whenever you update, they get notified that there is new content on your blog.  By combining blogs with social media such as Twitter and Facebook, the marketing power of a blog is nearly doubled.

Companies can notify a wider audience of blog posts by tweeting a link to the blog or posting a link on their Facebook page.  Using blogs alongside with social media keeps businesses in touch with their clients and a wide network of potential customers.

Fresh Content

Blogs need to be updated constantly, but doing so will be well worth the while.  Once a week is the average blog post rate, but if something comes up and you need to get the word out, a blog post is a great way to do so. 

Your blog content should focus on your customer.  You are not writing a blog for you, you are writing for them and as long as you keep that in mind, your blogs will generate interest.  You can use the blog to educate about your company, about your products and services, you can use blogs to reach out and give examples about why and how your products and services can be useful.  This is your chance to not just tell them that they need a product, but to tell them why they need it.

Another benefit of a blog is that through SEO – Search Engine Optimization – your blog will show up on search engine results when keywords from your blog are searched for.  Being higher ranked on search engines means that more web-traffic will be directed to your site.  The more content you post; the more web exposure you will get.

As long as you have the time to update a blog weekly, it will pay off in many ways.  Blogs are an underutilized business tool but when used properly, they are a valuable way to get more exposure for your company, increasing your sales and boosting your client retention.

A Teenager’s Guide to Earning Money Online

Not all teenagers are lucky enough to get an allowance so teenagers are always on the lookout for ways to make money.  Since not all companies are receptive to hiring employees under the age of sixteen or eighteen, teenagers looking for extra pocket money are becoming increasingly creative about how to earn money.

The internet provides more than just entertainment; it is also a way for teenagers to be able to earn extra money, without having to ask their parents.  Teenagers actually have more moneymaking opportunities than they might realize online.

So what are some of the ways that teenagers can make money online?

Selling Things Online

As teenagers grow up, they grow out of their childhood toys, books and other items.  Clothing that is no longer worn, old phones, old mp3 players, video games that are no longer played, books, jewelry, old toys.  Instead of handing over these things to Goodwill or to a charity, teenagers can sell their items on Amazon or EBay and make money.  Books, electronics, CDs, old phone chargers, and even toys can all be sold on Amazon and those things and more, such as jewelry and clothing can be sold on EBay.  


When it comes to getting advice – teens are often reluctant to go to adults because they feel they probably do not understand.  Teens seek the advice and counsel of other teens and this is why teenagers with blogs can make money.  Teenagers know exactly what other teenagers want to read and it gives them a way to interact with others who are facing the same issues that they themselves are facing.
Google AdSense is one way that bloggers can make money.  You can choose a topic and then it will link to advertisements relevant to that topic.  There are also affiliate link programs that will link to your blog and so when those links are clicked on, the blogger will make money.

The more traffic their blogs generate, the more money they can make.  Teenagers can make money by doing movie reviews, writing about relevant teen issues or even just write about their daily activities and random thoughts.  By using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, teen bloggers can get more exposure for their blogs, earning themselves more money.

Taking Surveys Online

Numerous websites offer money in exchange for taking surveys.  Sometimes it will be a check that is mailed out, sometimes it is money through PayPal and sometimes it is payment via gift cards; either way, teenagers with some extra time on their hands can take surveys online and make money.
Teenagers are a highly desired target demographic for marketing companies and for that reason, their input in valuable to marketers, and that is why online survey taking is one way that teenagers can make money. 

Here are some reliable survey sites:

·      MySurvey – With MySurvey, members can earn points for taking surveys and then redeem the points for cash.  In addition to earning points for taking surveys, they sometimes have opportunities to test products at home.  You can trade in points for cash, payable via PayPal or Prizes and the minimum payout is $10, 0r 1,150 points.
·      Global Test Market – Completed surveys earn members marketpoints which can then be redeemed for cash, in the form of a check that is mailed out.  The minimum payout is $50 or 1,000 marketpoints.
·      NPD Online Surveys - Completed surveys earn the survey taker points, which they can redeem for prizes, gift cards, and cash.  The minimum payout is $15.
·      MindsPay - With MindsPay, members can earn cash per survey, which is sent to the survey taker via PayPal.  In addition, they also pay per e-mail that is read in their system.  The minimum payout is $50.

Playing Games

For teens that are good at playing games, they can actually turn their skills and love of games into a way to earn money.  Sites like Skillville Games and Worldwinner are free to join and games can be played for prizes or cash.  To access the games with a higher chance of winning games that pay out higher, some of the sites may require members to pay.  For example, a game that costs $2.50 to play could have the potential to win $5 or more if you are the top winner against the other group of players who are playing.


There are a variety of websites that give teenagers who are interested in writing a way to freelance their writing skills and they can earn money for writing content and having it posted online. 

·     Yahoo Voices– Yahoo Voices, which used to be Associated Content, pays an upfront fee for each contribution as well as sharing revenue based on how much traffic that article generates.  You can choose what content you want to write about or you can see targeted topics.  Articles will earn you about $3-4 each and then add an additional $1-2 for traffic for articles that generate high interest.

·      Helium – Helium also pays upfront for written content in addition to royalties for traffic that the article generates and for advertisement revenues.  Helium pays about $1 per article plus traffic royalties but to earn payments you must rate articles written by others.  The real way that teenagers can make money is through their marketplace section where you can earn money by writing gigs for clients, starting at $5 and up.


With, teenagers can earn money in a variety of ways.  They post gigs for what they will do for $5 and then buys will purchase the gig.  Gigs on run the gambit from selling homemade crafts, videograms, to short how-to videos and with the variety of things that can be listed as a gig; nearly all teens can find a way to make some money through this website.

For teenagers looking for extra cash, there are a variety of reliable websites in addition to what we have already listed.  A good rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  Do your research online to verify if a site is on the up-and-up and if you have any doubts, do not use the site.  Sites usually require you to register but the reliable sites do not require you to pay to use them, so if a site is asking for payment in order for you to use it, proceed with caution.