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Blogging for Beginners: How Blogging Software Works

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Do you know how your blogging software works? Many people are interested in the idea of blogging when they first come to realize that it is its own thing separate from “standard” types of websites and that it’s an easy thing to get started in. And although there is a lot of great information available to beginners, I find that there isn’t much that explains something that’s really important: how blogging software works. This is important because it’s an incredible differentiator between “normal” websites and blogs. Understanding this difference can often help a person decide if having a blog is the right decision. Also, some of you may have just begun blogging, but you don’t really know how your blog works under the hood. You may not need to be an expert mechanic to drive your car, but we all know it helps to know a thing or two.

How Standard Websites Work

Standard (non-blog) websites are often a collection of web pages that have been created and are stored on a web server as individual files. Somewhat like how loose pages in a physical folder might exist, except they are electronic documents in a virtual folder. But in may respects, they can be treated like word processing documents or spreadsheets: each page or document is a self-contained and distinct object or file. When you click on a link to pages in a standard site, that page already exists in its entirety, and it’s sent to your web browser.

To create or edit such pages, you need to know XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript, or, you need software such as Dreamweaver. The main point is you need specialized training and knowledge to be able to do even the simplest task. Some companies and services are attempting to level the playing field with this and make it easy for anyone to create and edit websites, such as Google Pages, but even these are still far more complicated than setting up and running a blog, especially if you use a free blogging service such as Blogger or WordPress.com.

How Blogs Work

With a blog, the setup and the structure are complex, but the use of the end result is quite easy. Blogs and blog software consist of 3 major components:

  1. Database
  2. Scripting/Programming
  3. Style and appearance information

Database

The database holds all the information about and in your blog. Every post you write, all the comments, all the categories, all the settings are all stored in a database. Even the administration and authoring information. This keeps everything very organized and allows certain information to be reused over and over again, which saves time and bandwidth.

Programming

The scripting and programming component is what pulls information out of the database, turns it into a web page, and sends it to a visitor’s web browser. The programming component also allows you to write a post and send it into the database or add links to your blogroll. The programming controls all of your blog’s functionality. Your blog is actually a software application that is running on a web server, in the same way that Microsoft Word is software that runs on your computer. But instead of using a software program’s interface, we use an interface that is in an administration web page.

Styles

The information entered into or pulled out of the database has to be made into web pages which are sent to the browser. The scripting/programming component does a lot of this, but there is a third component that tells that information how it should be formatted and arranged on a web page. That third component is the style sheet. The style sheet has rules and information for how everything is supposed to look and where it’s supposed to go in a web page layout.

Putting it all Together: Alphabet Soup

Okay, here is the part where I start to get a little technical. If the database is the information storehouse for a blog, and that’s important, then what database should you use or how do you get one? One database that is extremely popular in blogging software is called MySQL (pronounced My-S-Q-L). SQL stands for Structured Query Language. This is the language that “runs” a database. When you get a hosting account for your blog, most standard service packages will include a number of MySQL databases that you may create and use.

The programming component for blogs often is a programming language called PHP, which stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (a recursive acronym — how’s that for geeky?) The PHP language is used to write scripts or programming code that interacts with the database. If you use the WordPress blog software, a great many of your files end in the .php file extension. As with MySQL databases, the capability to work with PHP probably is standard in any web hosting package you buy.

When the PHP scripts get information out of the database, it sends it to the visitor’s web browser as XHTML, which stands for eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language. This is the language that web pages are written in. However, XHTML doesn’t tell the information how it should look, or where it should be on the page. That is handled by yet another language! This language is the language of style: CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets. By simply changing the CSS information for a blog, you can change the entire appearance of its content. This is how you can have the ability to choose a template or theme for your blog with the click of a button.

So, when you log in to your blog, write a post, and click that Publish button, you’re filling out a web form written in XHTML, styled in CSS, and sent to a MySQL database via the PHP scripting language. When visitors view the blog, PHP extracts the requested information from the database, makes it into an XHTML page, and sends it to the browser, where styles in a CSS style sheet provide information about how the content is supposed to formatted and arranged on the page. And that’s how blogging software works!

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Michael Martine has been involved in web design and internet marketing since the late 90's. He is a blog coach and consultant at Remarkablogger. He lives in beautiful Vermont, U.S.A., with his wife, step-daughter, and grandchild.

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What Is the Incredibly Easiest Way to Drive Blog Traffic?

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Drive traffic to other blogs.

Give what you want.

Help people get what they want and people help you get what you want.

I have found this to be the easiest way to drive traffic to my blog because friends I made through cross-promotion promote me around the clock, 24-7, 365. Easy peasy.

I checked my Twitter a few moments ago. During the past 3 hours I noticed 11 mentions, engagements and retweets collectively. 3 hours, 11 engagements, more blog traffic.

I drive a heavy amount of traffic to my blog by driving a heavy amount of traffic to fellow bloggers who drive a heavy amount of traffic to Blogging From Paradise every day, all day long.

The more you give, the more you get.

The hardest way to drive blog traffic is to try to do it solo. Imagine publishing one post and hitting social share buttons. Even if I do a fine job writing the post, gaining traction solo is tough because successful bloggers know: 1000 is better than 1. 1000 blogging buddies promoting you 24-7, 365 beats you promoting yourself or you trying to write and publish 5 to 10 or more posts daily.

I used to publish 60 posts daily between 2 blogs. Short videos and short posts created the bulk of the content. I had a difficult time succeeding because you can only do so much solo. I published 60 posts in a cyber cave. Nobody listened to me because I did not listen to anybody. But making friends by driving traffic to other blogs made blogging easier and easier for me.

My blogging buddies – who appreciate me promoting them – freely:

  • link to me on their blogs
  • retweet my posts
  • share my posts on Facebook
  • share my posts on LinkedIn
  • send my blog posts to their email list

That my friends is a lot of traffic flowing to my blog easily, freely and exponentially.

Every time a blogging buddy promotes you to their tribe you gain exposure to one more large, targeted audience. Imagine when you gain exposure in front of 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 or more audiences daily? This is serious traffic! Plus it is easy traffic because your prime duties of reading posts and tapping social share buttons, or, linking to fellow bloggers on your blog, are quite easy.

How to Drive Traffic to other Blogs

I spent a fair chunk of today driving traffic to other blogs.

I promoted some of my blog posts linking to my blogging buddies. I also retweeted and Facebook shared posts from other bloggers.

Each share lays the foundation for new blogging friendships and fortifies old blogging friendships. Every time I promote Donna Merrill or Alonzo Pichardo, we bond more deeply. Easy way to keep friendships strong and to grow your blog traffic exponentially.

You Will Run out of Time Solo But You Never Run out of Friends

Eventually, I ran out of time each day trying to do it all by myself. No human is super human. No human can be in a billion places at once, by their own steam.

But you never run out of friends if you are generous. During a reasonable lifetime, no blogger will befriend all 7 billion humans. You will however keep meeting friends every day if you drive traffic to other blogs every day.

As more folks befriend you, more folks promote you. What an easy way to increase traffic to your blog. Your ever expanding friend network does much of the legwork for you and also drives traffic to your blog:

  • when you sleep
  • when you travel
  • when you spend time offline with family and friends

Sounds sweet, right?

Give freely.

Drive traffic to your blog easily.

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What Are 2 Powerful Qualities of Top Bloggers?

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John Chow and Bigfoot.

No correlation exists save this post. Although John is super tall. I met him in person during Affiliate Summit East.

Both JC and Bigfoot taught me 2 incredibly powerful qualities of top bloggers.

John taught me how to think abundantly.

Bigfoot taught me to be open-minded and to think for myself.

Think Abundantly

A while back I recall reading a post on John’s blog.

He explained how being an Amazon Associate creates a steady passive income stream.

For an example, he showed how linking to a product your audience finds useful – in the proper context – leads to blogging profits. At the time, I admired his strategy but could not get why you’d link to an affiliate product for a measly $2 commission. But of course, John thinks like, feels like and is a multi millionaire so he thinks of acquiring increasing wealth versus thinking of how little he makes on certain commissions.

$2 adds to the John Chow millions. Plus, even if JC began blogging yesterday, at zero, he thought like a millionaire well before becoming a millionaire, so he would have made his first $2 on his way to millions.

These days, I think, feel and act abundantly. I celebrate every penny I make online because where your attention and energy goes, grows. Top bloggers think abundantly. If you think, feel and act abundantly, at year’s end, the $2 commission per sale yields $500,to $1000, to $5000 per a single income stream because the more you celebrate money and feel rich, the more money you make.

Top bloggers think: money. Open 5, 10, 15 or more income streams. Seize every opportunity to prosper. $2, there, and 100 sales later, you made $200. Top bloggers think abundance – versus lack – and make money.

Be Open Minded and Think for Yourself

As you know, I love studying the creature Bigfoot.

Most humans are closed-minded and follow the herd, being lazy thinkers, and simply agreed with the herd; naturally, these folks believe Bigfoot is a myth.

A handful of YouTube videos of Bigfoot scientifically breakdown:

  • the size of these creatures: 7-10 foot tall, up to 5 feet wide, and 500-900 pounds
  • the physiology of these creatures; compliant gate, 90% knee flexion, absence of neck, hulking trap muscles, heavy brow ridge
  • the sounds these creatures make; clearly not within our current animal kingdom

If you are open-minded and think for yourself, you clearly see a huge, primate-type creature with some human-like qualities appears in these videos. Truth reveals itself to clear, deeper thinks.

But if you are closed-minded and agree with the herd, you become blind to the truth and see a guy in a suit, or hoax, in these handful of legit Sasquatch videos.

Like the small group of humans who know Sasquatch exist, top bloggers are both open-minded and do their own thinking. Successful bloggers open up to new strategies and new income streams. Plus these top folks never agree with the herd just because most people think a certain way; these pros think critically, for themselves.

I think incredibly deeply about blogging, and mindset, and see parallels no blogger on earth sees, save me. Why? I am open-minded and do my own thinking, for myself, never being swayed by the general public and its poisonous, limiting skepticism.

You almost have to be insane *not* to believe in Bigfoot after scientific video breakdowns and tens of thousands of credible eye-witnesses prove these encounters are with large primates, not humans in suits. Even a 300 pound, pro bodybuilder would look like a 5 year old trying to fit in his dad’s suit if he tried to wear a suit with dimensions for a 9 foot tall, 800 pound being.

In the same breath, you really need to be out there, if you are so closed-minded and agreeing with the poor masses, that you are blind to the truth of abundance around you, as a blogger.

Think abundance.

Open your mind.

Think for yourself.

Succeed.

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What Should You Ask Yourself Before Using a Pop Up or Slider Form?

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Before you use a pop up or slider form, ask yourself:

“Do I want to ask the reader for something or tell the reader to do something before I give them what they want?”

Yesterday I clicked on a link based on the blog title promise. I found the title and link on Twitter.

Since I wanted to see the solution based on the title-promise, I looked forward to reading the blog post. I wanted content; quick content, easy to access content, and simple content.

But I was quickly disappointed.

Why?

One second after arriving to the blog to read the post, I saw a pop up form. The blogger wanted something from me; my name and email. The blogger asked for my information. I did not click the link to volunteer my information. I clicked the link to get what I wanted; content. Oh well.

Mildly annoyed, I closed the pop up form to finally get what I wanted: helpful content promised via an attractive blog post title. But then I had to deal with a slider form; yep, the blogger asked me to click a box if I agreed with my personal information being stored via cookies. I have no idea why you do this as a US blogger; the European Union and its laws have zero jurisdiction in the US. Mass fear tends to goad the weaker minded to do silly stuff.

Anyway, this marked the second time the blogger asked me for something or told me to do something before giving me what I wanted. 99% of the time, I close the window and leave the blog forever. I have no time to waste. But to see how far this blogger would go, I closed the slider form and stuck around. Until 2 seconds later when, I kid you not, the blogger used a corner slider form calling me to do something else. Some ask; some command.

I immediately closed the window and left the blog; never to return.

One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is promising readers helpful content, then, before giving readers what they want, asking them once, twice or three times to do something, before giving readers what they want.

Bad idea.

Most or all readers will exit your blog and never return. Who wants to jump through hoops once, twice or 3 times before getting what they want? Readers get my content immediately. I use no pop up, slider, or barrier to content. People get what they want immediately and also buy my stuff. Good for me. Good for you.

Jeff Bezos became the wealthiest human being in modern times because he made it incredibly easy to get what you want immediately. His net worth is $150 billion because:

  • he enabled one click buying
  • he offers 2 hour to overnight delivery for many products in urban and suburban areas
  • he uses few or no pop ups or other barriers to giving customers what they want

Why do you think I have 170 plus products on Amazon? Dude makes it easy for me to make money. No barriers to buying.

Ask Yourself

Do you want to give readers what they want quickly and easily so you succeed more quickly? Remove all pop ups, sliders and other barriers to content and buying. My blog took off like the dickens when I removed everything so readers could read my content fast and buy my stuff fast.

Stop trying to get what YOU want (names, emails) and give readers what they want – quickly – to become a successful blogger.

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