Top 5 Quick and Dirty Hosted Blog Publishing Services

Whether or not you have your own domain, sooner or later you’re going to have the need for a hosted blog platform to create more backlinks.

Webories, the web directories web site, has two articles on hosted blog publishing services* (“Top 5 Hosted Blog Publishing Services” and “Top 5 Hosted Micro-Blogging Publishing Services”) that I would like to add to with my top 5 ‘quick and dirty’ hosted blog publishing services. Some of these are new to me, but they come recommended by The Challenge, which I also recommend for anyone starting out making money online.

  1. LiveJournal – a free blog publishing service centered around it’s users. There are paid options to make it more secure. “Discover global communities of friends who share your unique passions and interests.”
  2. Xanga – “The Blogging Community” is a free blog publishing service. It’s ad based, but paid options reduce the number of ads. You can also get a personalized URL (domain name). If you do, make sure it contains your primary keywords.
  3. Blogger – Blogger is an easy way to share your thoughts about anything. There are a host of features to make blogging as simple and effective as possible and integrating with Google Adsense is a snap.
  4. Identi.ca – Identi.ca is a micro-blogging service. Join for free to share short (140 character) notices which are broadcast to their friends and fans using the Web, RSS, or instant messages.
  5. Posterous – Posterous lets you post things online fast using email. You email us at post@posterous.com and we reply instantly with your new posterous site. If you can use email, you can have your own website to share thoughts and media with friends, family and the world. And they don’t care what anyone says, “Posterous is NOT a micro blog!”

*A blog publishing service is inherently hosted by someone else who manages the server, its software, and its settings. It’s a kind of software-as-a-service, or SAAS thing. Blog platforms, on the other hand, is blogging software that you host on your own server or hosting company’s server. You manage the software and its settings. A good example is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a blog publishing service while WordPress.org is a blog platform. They both use the same software – the difference is in who maintains it: you or them.

How to Build a Mini-Site Around a Micro-Niche in 10 Steps

Mini-sites are web sites setup to cover very specific things (micro-niches) and are not usually updated, or at least not updated that often. A mini-site that is updated often stops being a mini-site and becomes a blog. Mini-sites usually answer a question, act as a guide, or help filter information to help searchers find answers about a particular micro-niche. A micro-niche is simply defined as a smaller, sub-section of a niche that together with other niches make up a market, which together with other markets make up an economy.

Mini-sites provide value for both the visitor and the vendor. Sometimes it is hard to find what you need online because the niche is so small that no one has thought to gather the information together before into a micro-niche. When you do that in the form of a mini-site you add value to the visitor and in return get value in the form of ad clicks or affiliate purchases. Think of it as organizing the web into specialty areas that provide the content that search engines need and you see how building mini-sites can be a very noble endeavor.

Below is a Checklist for How to Get Started Making Money Online in 10 Steps:

  1. Decide which Affiliate program you want to use (Clickbank, CommissionJunction, Paydotcom, Amazon, or LinkShare, for example) and register.  You may need to have a website first (chicken and egg, I know), but you can get a blog for free at Blogspot.com or Tumblr.com to get started.  If you already have a web site, make sure it has some content.
  2. Browse around their respective marketplace and look for 5-10 products which look interesting to you, but that are hard to find. For example, if you joined Amazon Associates, browse Amazon to find 5-10 products that interest you, but but that you could add more information to, group, or sort differently to help people find them easier.
  3. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find keywords (key phrases) that advertisers are purchasing which receive between 1,500 and 20,000 exact searches per month.  The difference between ‘exact’ and ‘broad’ is that exact has to occur in order as if in quotes, but broad can have the keyword out of order.  Run competition tests on each of the keywords you find. If there is a page or web site in Google ranking in the top 5 results with less than 100 backlinks, then it’s generally a good keyphrase to go for.  Otherwise, keep looking until you find some.
  4. Go to Bing and search for link:www.site.com –site www.site.com to view backlinks from other sites to that site (replace ‘site’ with the actual web address).  Google hides their backlinks, but you can find out more detailed information on your site by using Google’s Webmaster Tools.  However this doesn’t help while researching other people’s web sites. If your competition has more than 5 homepage results or more backlinks than you are willing to spend the time and money to compete with, then start over at the top of this checklist.
  5. Decide on a final keyword (just one) that you want to go with. If a lot of them are similar in statistics, just pick the one you know the most about and make this the title of your web site and home page.
  6. Purchase a domain that is very relevant to your keyword and/or includes your keyword(s).  A keyword-relevant domain with good content and backlinks will toast the competition based on Google’s current algorithm setup.
  7. Make sure your site has at least 4-5 pages of relevant, unique content with at least 400 words per page.  Add at least one picture to each page to help with promotion later and to get traffic from Google Image Search.
  8. Install Google Analytics so that you can track how many visitors your site is receiving and see where they are coming from.  This will help you measure success and help you decide when and if to change things up.
  9. Design or purchase a theme for your web site and install it.  This should be done after writing content because content is more important than design.  Let me repeat that.  Content is more important than design.  Yes, design can affect the helpfulness and value of your site, but it is far too easy to get caught up tweaking a web site for weeks before a single post has been written.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Save the design work for after the content and before the promotion period.
  10. Its time to promote your web site.  Submit to search engines, find relevant forums that contain signatures and get involved, find relevant blogs to comment on, and consider writing articles for submission to other web sites.  It’s all about creating backlinks to your site from areas relevant to your keywords.  Keep working on building backlinks until you rank in the top 5 results on Google and you are receiving at least 200 visitors per day.  Only then should you tweak your design to help increase revenue.

Now go make some money online!