Blogging – One Chris tells you why, another Chris tells you how

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The 1st Chris

On the topic of startups, Chris Brogan says if he were to start today “No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog. It’s a website, with lots of built in features that make it useful from a search perspective, and simple from a content creation perspective. That alone is worth the price of admission.” And Chris should know.

Chris Brogan Blog

Chris Brogan Blog

Chris Brogan is a ten year veteran of using social media to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. Chris blogs at www.chrisbrogan.com, a blog in the top 10 of the Advertising Age Power150, and in the top 100 on Technorati.

With a blog virtually anyone can publish their thoughts, ideas and opinions to millions of potential readers. In return, those readers can “participate” by expressing their view points or comments. This method of communication is allowing all of us a means to become involved in information rather than just being passive consumers of it.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary awarded “blog” as “The Word of the Year” in 2004, when more and more people started using them as a means to express themselves personally. Today, blogs are reaching new heights in popularity. Many businesses and corporations are increasingly implementing blogs as they discover the flourishing opportunity it provides to build relationships with their existing customers as well as developing relationships with prospective new customers!

We’ve talked to many of our customers who say they want a web-presence. Cash is tight and they don’t have big advertising budgets. Blogging is a very inexpensive way to help accomplish this goal (all you need is your IX Web Hosting account).

Some of our customers haven’t started a blog because they are intimidated by the setup process. That’s where the other Chris comes in.

The 2nd Chris

Now that you’ve heard the reasons that a blog is the first thing to do from Chris Brogan, it’s time to hear from another Chris. Our own Chris Testerman. Chris will help you with the “how” do I start. Chris created this really awesome video that will show you how to set up a WordPress Blog in your IX Web Hosting account in under 2 minutes!

If you don’t have a hosting account here’s a blog post to let you know why you should.

Now, there’s nothing to hold you back!

Now that you’re ready to start creating your content, you are going to have to start sharing it with someone, right? So please, feel free to comment to this video with links to the blogs you’ve created. We’d love to take a look at them!

By the way, here’s a link to the tutorials Chris mentioned in his video: http://www.ixwebhosting.com/index.php/v2/pages.customerCenter

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How Bored Are You?

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How Bored are You?

This may seem like an extremely odd question, but I was thinking (as I sometimes do when the weather is nice), why are you reading this blog?

Is it because you’re secretly hoping that maybe, one day, it will contain information relevant to your account? It will, I promise. As much as I love delving into difficult topics like MC Hammer pants and the curious patterns of squirrels, I am fully aware that customers are interested in things that involve THEM. This is why we’re working on getting a customer forum, our status blog and our Twitter status account up and running for you. We greatly appreciate your patience while we set these things up. We would also love to get your feedback about these ventures. What are you interested in? How would you most like it presented? For example, would you like to see a status blog that churns out facts about system functions daily or would you like something more interactive where you can leave comments or interact with other customers?

Or are you reading because you’re in some way dissatisfied and hoping that we’ll address your concerns here? If you take a look at the comments we received on our first post, you might notice that many of them were cries for help—feedback voiced in our very first medium between customers and staff that isn’t LiveChat, a phone call or our ticketing system. This was a big indicator to us that we were doing something wrong. What was being expressed on our blog could have been voiced on the phone or through any other avenue of support, but obviously, those channels were not satisfying some of you. This too will be changing. Our support is getting better each day because, well, you all know why. We want you to be happy. You employ us. The changes we are making to our customer support will be big, they will be noticeable and they are already happening. If any one of these items proves untrue, I trust that more than a handful of you will let us know and more than two handfuls of our staff will get moving on making them so.

Or is it because you lost your job? OK, this is a stretch, but losing your job frees up several hours in the day for blog-reading, starting a home-business online or scowling at those that insist on constantly flaunting their new stuff.

The economy is so bad, I might actually have to break my 2 dollar bill!

So those are not real tears, but that is a real $2 bill and that is indeed a real used-tissue...

So those are not real tears, but that is a real $2 bill and that certainly is a real used-tissue...

We record the reasons that our customers leave so that we can better tailor our product to prevent cancellations. Well, guess what one of the leading reasons for cancellation is? “I can no longer afford hosting.” Most of you already know that we’re one of the least costly hosts available, so it is thoroughly depressing to hear this as a reason for ceasing to host with us. Still, even more depressing is giving away free hosting to those who cite their inability to afford it only to hear that they “no longer have a need for their account” because they couldn’t get their home business off of the ground. Well, providing detailed information and resources about making your home business work is also on our agenda. We’ll have to count on Obama to take care of the economy.

When I was younger, I genuinely thought that my father was a superhero and that I was placed on the planet to get him fired from his company so he could fulfill his true calling full-time. In that notion, I was not far from the truth. He has several skills that would be impossible to use all at one company (especially with a talent list as diverse as his: wind-harmonica out of a car doing 80 mph, moustache grooming, writing, child-lecturing, JavaScript, SQL, oil painting…). My point is that people with diverse skill sets can be liberated by job loss because they can use the internet to employ themselves in their own business, or even just to secure an even better job by creating a site to strengthen a résumé.

Here’s a good example: Let’s say that you got fired from your job and now need to justify the monthly cost of hosting. Here are a few things you could do:

  1. Set up a site to slander your former employer. This, while obviously a joke, is something people really do! Instead of taking that route, I would actually suggest creating a site or blog that outlines your work experiences—things you have learned, things awry with their current business model (you might want to avoid naming the company specifically if you still want them on your list of good references) and advice you would give other employers. Creating a community out of a site like this is easy as there are several people looking to release steam about being released from employment. That community would be a valuable asset for those that have entrepreneurial/superhero aspirations because more could be done than just commiserating with your visitors. There’s an increasing market for job counseling and HR consulting, and whether you earn revenue from it or not, you’ve contributed something to the global community as well as enhanced your résumé. Imagine what: “Built an online community from zero to four-thousand by providing valuable, original resources and consulting. Please see www.HireMe.com/about for more information.” could do for your résumé…
  2. Create a site to show-off. Set up a site with a forum to discuss hobbies with friends, organize gatherings or anything related to things that you’re good at. Throw videos, pictures, artwork, lessons (if you have a teachable hobby) on your site and then bask in self-satisfaction.
  3. Resell your hosting account. Do you know someone who is constantly talking about his/her ideas but not actually doing anything with them? Sell them a portion of your account to get them started! They can still develop their domain with your hosting and you won’t have to worry about bandwidth or transfer (because it’s unlimited) and you set the price. You can even buy a domain for someone as a gift and host it on your account, free. No more need to read holiday or special-occasion wish-lists. Just give everyone hosting! That includes Mom (Mother’s Day is coming up in the US!), your brother, your 7-year old daughter (she has to learn sometime!) , etc…

I think it’s safe to say that most of you could come up with better ways to use your hosting account. When we get our customer forum ready to go, please feel free to inform fellow customers how to make the most out of their account; if not for us, then for the economy.

Thanks for reading!

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