Comment Terrorism – How to be a Good Blog Citizen

Anyone who runs a blog and modifies the comments which come through to you on a regular basis knows that sometimes, people behave badly online. Unfortunately, the lack of censorship online and the safety of having a screen between you and the world can sometimes lead to rash statements, comments made in poor taste or simply the joy of finding a platform where people can behave badly under the safe guise of anonymity.

Couple the ease with which people can make unpleasant comments with the huge prevalence of spam on our blogs, and it can make it difficult to wade through the feedback which you get on your site to find the truly relevant information. Sometimes as bloggers we need to take some time to look through our spam folders and unearth anything of value, as occasionally great remarks will be relegated to the trash pile unfairly.

As inhabitants of the blogosphere, we also have an obligation to know how and when to post up comments appropriately. Sometimes, the lure of comment terrorism can seem irresistible. Imagine if you have a client who has let you down financially, through, for example, not paying a bill.

The evil side of you understands that as a blogger with a strong following, you have the ideal platform for a naming and shaming exercise which could bring your assailant to their knees with a few choice posts. Add in the power of Twitter and Facebook for reinforcing your campaign, and you suddenly feel a rush of power, knowing that you control your site and all which goes on it, and have the capacity to damage someone’s reputation for good.

A nice feeling? Well, yes. Constructive? Not really! Campaigns like this may be a great way of highlighting the wrongdoings of others, but rarely bring much customer satisfaction when your readers get bombarded with off-target and venomous posts. Apart from looking unprofessional, it makes us seem like people who are not ethical or great to do business with, and a personal rant on the soapbox platform of your blog rarely yields positive results. The most likely scenario is that the subject of your comment terrorism gets off unscathed, while you end up looking like a small-minded bigot.

With all this in mind, here are some tips for playing nicely in the playground of blog commenting and tweets…

Keep it relevant

Never visit someone’s site to post comments which are not related to the post topic. This is the realm of spammers and psychos, and is best left to them as the experts. People aren’t interested in hearing about a great new software download site when they go online to look for tips on dog grooming. Stay on topic, and you’ll gain followers. Deviate, and you run the risk of being added to the trash along with the Viagra adverts.

Keep other people relevant, too!

Support readers on your blog to offer the same courtesy – when people go off-topic, bring them back through a few choice nudges in the right direction. This supports your blog to stay focused even when things have the potential to get heated.

Keep it polite

Don’t ever, ever bring personal or subjective views on to comment boards. The blogosphere is by and large a polite place, and an overly personal rant or attack on another person simply undermines your credibility. Would you want to buy services from someone who can’t rein in their opinions? No? Neither do your customers.

Keep it professional and product or service-related

If you have an issue to deal with professionally, take it off line rather than succumbing to the temptation to air your views through your blog. Your daily ups and downs are fascinating and engrossing for you, but don’t really hit the mark when your customers are deciding whether or not to make a positive purchasing decision.

Blog Carnivals – How To Get On The Fiesta Bandwagon

Spend any time at all in the blogosphere, and you will eventually come across blog carnivals. The festive name hides a serious business benefit: A way of promoting your blog and your business online, by joining a group of bloggers who all share similar interests as yourself. In essence, a blog carnival is an online event which brings together bloggers who specialize in certain subjects, showcasing their work and offering a series of links for customers to access subjects they are interested in, easily.

How does a blog carnival work?

Just as a special-interest publication such as a fitness magazine or film review guide has a series of articles on a similar theme, so the blog carnival is designed to invite submissions from talented bloggers on a scheduled subject, so all topics share a subject can offer different perspectives on a chosen topic.

Carnivals are published as articles with a series of links collated by the owner of the scheme. Other people are able to submit their articles, leading to a superb collection of related writing. Usually hosted by guest writers, carnivals move from site to site depending upon who is hosting the event.

Blog owners can really increase traffic to their own site by submitting articles to blog carnivals in their field of interest or expertise, and if they are successfully featured within the carnival they stand to gain readers and reviews.

www.blogcarnival.com is the most popular site for listing these online events, and it’s well worth researching what is coming up to see if your work can fit in to one of them.

Why should we get involved with blog carnivals?

Blog carnivals bring a host of benefits to the business blogger. They support people to join an established community with other people who share similar interests, opening up possibilities for marketing to potential new customers in your industry area. They also help to drive traffic to your site, by giving you well-publicized backlinks to your blog which encourages people to visit and stick around.

Joining a carnival also brings you recognition for your efforts as a blogger, as you gain feedback from a wide range of people who may not have found your article, otherwise. This can be a real confidence boost for people who blog regularly and can sometimes feel as if their efforts are going unrecognized.

Most carnivals offer you the services of an experienced editor, which can give you insight in to your writing style, offering advice about how you can improve to attract a wider audience. Perhaps best of all, being part of a scheduled carnival gets you in to contact with a network of people, all of whom share your passion and interest for your area of expertise.

You can find out more about blog carnivals, and when future ones are scheduled, by searching online. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by joining a carnival, so do some research and find one taking place soon that you can get involved in!

Blog Tech Guy Now Runs On Headway

You probably haven’t noticed (at least I hope not) but the Blog Tech Guy website now runs off the Headway theme for WordPress. Headway tries to take the programming and technical challenges out of customizing a theme and each version it gets better and better.

Headway Themes — Manage your website with drag and drop layout editing and more!

My design is a wonderful custom design by Nate from Unique Blog Designs and I didn’t want to lose that. With Headway I didn’t have to and hopefully not many people have noticed that I’ve even moved.

So why switch?
There were a few reasons. Being a geek I wanted to see if it was possible. Not just from a technical standpoint but from my own abilities. I customize sites all the time for clients and I wanted to see if what I thought I could do, I could. I’m glad to say I was right!

I also recommend Headway to a lot of people and I wanted to get more hand on experience on how it works and what it does when you ask it to do something. I also wanted to see how easy it was for others to change elements. With 1.7 things are getting easier and easier, and more intuitive.

Can you transfer your site to Headway?
I’ll be lying if I said my transfer was easy. It was straightforward, I had a list of things that needed to be done, and with a few minor hiccups I achieved them. But it wasn’t easy and took about 6 hours. However it’s unlikely that you will be transferring to Headway and wanting to keep exactly the same theme as you have now, like I have. The beauty of Headway is that you can easily make a different layout or design to what you have now and you have ultimate control over colors, fonts, layouts and more.

You can see a video of me taking a quick look at the new features for Headway 1.7 (early September) below. Additional features include a quick start wizard, leaf templates, automatic upgrades, SEO improvements, speed increases and much much more.

Making Your Blog Mobile Friendly

With mobile phones becoming more and more popular as a tool to access the internet, here are some killer tips to make sure your blog is mobile friendly.

Make signing up easy

I can’t count the number of times I have found a blog that really interests me and then have spent ages trying to find the RSS feed button – or in some cases haven’t found one at all. When you are setting up your blog, make sure the RSS feed button is right at the top of the page – or as near to the top as you can place it. If you place it at the bottom of the page, you will get fewer subscribers and probably no mobile ones at all. There has to be a really good reason for someone visiting your blog, via a mobile phone, to scroll all the way to the bottom of your list of posts.

Get shorty

Once a mobile user has found your feed button, the next problem they will face is your feed URL. Many blogs will place lots of data, or even a description of your blog, in the URL. This means that the URL can run to fifty or more characters, which is not a great sight to be greeted with. The best way to overcome this is to use a URL shortener to make your feed URLs short and easy to work with. Many online sites offer free URL shortening applications, WordPress 3.0 has one built in for it’s own posts, or a free plugin like Pretty Link can help.

Bigger isn’t always better

When writing a post, especially a post aimed at mobile users, use bold snappy headlines and keep your paragraphs short. If you have ever tried to view a blog with a mobile phone you will understand what I mean. Many bloggers will use one main heading and then paste a single block of text into their post. This is so frustrating when viewed on a mobile because it is easy to lose your place in all that text. With bold headers and short paragraphs, even if you scroll too far or get distracted, it is easy to find your place again.

Picture this

It is always good practice to host your pictures and buttons yourself (or on an account you own, like Amazon S3) and not to rely on third-party services. The simple reason for this is, although it might not affect page loading when you are on your home computer or laptop, it really slows things down when using a mobile phone. Another good tip when using pictures is to limit not only their size but also their dimensions. Anything above approximately 100kb is just too big for mobile phones to handle at the moment and an image that is too wide, or to long, will really cause problems for you when scrolling.

Keep yourself mobile

Finally, subscribe to your own mobile content. Many bloggers forget this simple step and it is the easiest and quickest way to see whether your blog looks good on a mobile phone. If you are signed up to your own feed, you can make tweaks and changes quickly, before visitors have the chance to see your feed.

Use a Mobile plugin

There are a couple of plugins that you can use to transform your site into a mobile friendly version. WPtouch is one and WordPress Mobile Edition another. Both are good but do transform the look o your site completely but optimize it for mobile devices.

How To Make Money Video Blogging

You may have seen a lot of people promoting Gideon Shalwick’s new free report called Rapid Video Blogging. It’s a brilliant 92 page report full of useful info that will help you move into the new era of video blogging. Nearly 11,000 people have downloaded it already!

Click Here To Download Your Free Copy Of Rapid Video Blogging

I’ve known Gideon for just about two years now, he actually introduced himself to me online and we formed a friendship. I still do work for him today (though had no hand in this product at all just to be clear!). He’s a master at YouTube and creating compelling, high quality videos and all his products so far have been top quality.

Because you’re smart you will have guessed, or heard, that the free report is a lead in to the launch of his Rapid Video Blogging course. As part of the launch he has some great content, such as the free report of course, and also you’ll get access to some free videos:

Behind-the-scenes: This is a behind-the-scenes look at super fast video creation. It’s 30 minutes long, so not a quickly thrown together video with no content! It takes you behind his home studio setup, showing you everything from lighting to editing to ‘getting comfortable’ tips.

Case Study: This is a real life case study of someone making a full time income from YouTube and her blog – 4,000 to 6,000 bucks per month and again is full of content at over 35 minutes long.

If you haven’t already downloaded the report you can do from the video pages too.

Now I really believe in Gideon’s teaching and his method and have personally seen a small part of what he plans to provide for the course. He has put together a very comprehensive video course that shows you, exactly step-by-step what you need to do to help you successfully implement your very own Rapid Video Blogging system.

My bonus to you

It could be called a bribe, but as it’s extremely complementary, they’re almost two parts of the same whole.

My Income Blogging Guide course that I run with Andrew from We Build Your Blog teaches you step-by-step how to create an income from your blog, monetizing it, and creating your own products for sale. It covers building the blog that Gideon uses as one of his three foundations for your “Video Domination Hub”, and also one of the other three parts (see his report for what that is!).

You see, we contacted Gideon and he said that he doesn’t go into the detail our course does for blog building. “Your course would be an excellent companion as a bonus for people.”

Check out what our course offers by going here: https://blogtechguy.com/go/ibg, plus it includes a free premium WordPress theme and the best support in the business.

But don’t buy our course… get it for free by grabbing Gideon’s course.

How to claim your bonus

1) Join Rapid Video Blogging using this link only https://blogtechguy.com/go/rapidcourse
[By signing up with this affiliate link I do earn a commission.]

2) After buying Gideon’s course just send us your ClickBank receipt and we’ll get you hooked up to our course immediately. Email us at support@incomebloggingguide.com with a copy of your receipt and we will set you up with access within two days.

Please note: If you cancel your Rapid Video Blogging membership, it will also cancel your Income Blogging Guide membership.

That’s it. Buy one course get another free but only if you buy via this link https://blogtechguy.com/go/rapidcourse.

If you have any questions at all please contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

Getting Yourself Into The Blogging Habit

Habits are formed by association, when you repeat something often enough the brain recognizes it as a pattern and that pattern becomes associated with something either pleasurable or negative. As we get older this becomes harder for the brain to accept, so we need to help it along!

Keeping your blog as a positive thing on your task list

Try associating writing your blog with a pleasurable part of your day, maybe you have a cup of your favorite coffee and a couple of biscuits while you write. By a pleasant association you are more likely to enjoy the experience every day. If sitting down and writing becomes connected with a negative experience or feeling you are less likely to want to form that habit. If writing it feels like a chore then you aren’t going to want to sit down and write it!

Build it into your routine. Choose a time of day to write your blog that best suits you and your finest creative brain. Some people work well early in the morning, some in the evening. They don’t take long to update, try allowing yourself some time in your life to write uninterrupted; by allowing yourself some time it does become an integral part of your day. I find the first light of day an inspiration and love listening to the silence of the day before the hustle and bustle starts properly.

Making your environment work for your blogging

It’s also a good idea to make sure working conditions are good for you. Let your friends and family know this is the time that you will be writing your posts and you’d appreciate it if they gave you some peace and quiet for a while. It’s impossible to think when the kids want you to sort out an argument, you’re wanted on the phone or one of the other many reasons our lives are never our own. Shut the door; give yourself some space to think.

Forming the habit of writing it is going to take time, it’s not going to happen overnight, just as a good following won’t. Psychologists recommend doing an activity everyday for 30 days for something to become a habit.

…And that is good advice for a blogger. In order for a blog to work it needs to be updated regularly, every day to start with. Your followers are looking for good and original posts from you regularly. Although you shouldn’t post things just for the sake of a post, that kind of content is less likely to wow than one you actually have something to say in.

Maybe you can’t get to your PC to write sometimes. We all end up with other overriding commitments sometimes. If this happens, try taking a notebook or a voice recorder with you so you can brainstorm at convenient times, when inspiration strikes. Lots of us have this facility on our phones these days – I find both methods useful when I’m out and about, to record ideas that pop into my head.

Keeping the blogging habit alive and well

When it comes to blogging commitments, focus on the positive, not the negative. Rather than dwelling on the posts you forgot to publish, concentrate on tomorrow’s post and make sure that gets done. In order for something to become a habit, you need to think of it in a positive light. If you start concentrating on the negative you will condition your brain to associate blogging with stress, performance anxiety and boredom. Remember we do this for the pleasure, not because it causes us pain!

All habits take a while to form, so give yourself time to get used to your new routine. Keep light-hearted about your blog, and use it as a platform to promote you and your business without feeling overwhelmed by the obligations which regular blogging brings.

More Income Blogging Guide Feedback

As I’m sure a lot of you know by now, Andrew and I run a blogging course called Income Blogging Guide. You can read some previous feedback on this site and on We Build Your Blog, but here are some further reviews.

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Income Blogging Guide

Howard Harkness (owner of Celtic Fiddler) was the winner of our free Ipod contest and says, “The iPod arrived Wednesday. So now I can not only vouch for the ebook, but I can vouch for the fact that they really did give away a new 8Gb iPod Nano like they said they would. I see that they are indeed practicing exactly what they preach in their ebook (which I went back and read again, this time much more thoroughly, and came away even more impressed than before), and I think that they deserve success in their Internet marketing efforts.”
You can Howard’s full blog post about our free blogging guide (and his Ipod win) here: Freebie Blogging Information

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Mike Verdicchio (owner of Confidence and Joy) said, “Particularly helpful is their step-by-step guide, with images, of  ‘must-have’ plugin that you need to install on your blog, plus the necessary tweaks for those plugins.”

You can Mike’s full blog post about our free blogging guide here: Are You Blogging?

Disclaimer: Mike is also a client of mine for my blog solutions.

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The Professor (owner of scripts for your website) says, “I’ve seen lots of so-called “blogging guides” that tell you what you should do, but don’t give you any clue as to HOW to go about doing it. There’s a new one out, and I just got a copy for review the other day. So I took a look at it — it’s got all the details. If you’re a newbie, you’ll love this.”

You can read The Professor’s full blog post about our free guide here: Everything You Need To Know About Blogging

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Martin Henking (owner of iminternetgeldverdienen) says, “If you are looking for an ebook that explains them in understandable terms , how to make money with a blog , then I can highly recommend blogging income.”
You can Martin’s full blog post about our free guide here: Income Blogging

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Scott Moody (owner of Soccer Fit Academy) says, “Over this time our blog has grown from 2-3 readers per day to over 300 readers per day! One of the resources that helped us out during this transition to social media was Andrew and Joel’s Blog Blueprint to Blogging Guide.”

You can Scott’s full blog post about our free guide here: Thinking of Starting a Blog?

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Jack Heape (owner of web marketing local) says, “This blogging guide is laid out in an extremely detailed step-by-step fashion. They make it very easy for a neophyte to find their way through the intricacies of setting up a WordPress blog.”
You can Jack’s full blog post about our free guide here: Income Blogging Guide Blueprint Review

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Iroko Akinola (owner of 15klaptops) says, “For me, this is like the ultimate blogging blueprint, it takes blogging from the scratch to the height of it…”
You can Iroko’s full blog post about our free blogging guide here: Building A Successful Blog: The Income Blogging Guide Blueprint Approach

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Bob McCluskey (owner of Going Strong Seniors) says, “If you don’t understand all of the jargon…don’t worry, they will be completely explained and you will learn some very interesting things about Internet marketing.”
You can Bob’s full blog post about our free blogging guide here: Product Review: How to Make Money from a “Granny Blog”

Do you Digg it?

It can be a bit confusing to know what social networking sites to target to improve your blog readership. One of the most popular sites to use to generate hits on your own site is Digg. Digg has been going since around 2005, and has grown steadily in popularity so that its website traffic was ranked 100th by Alexa.com in April 2010.

What’s it all about?

Digg is a site that allows people to find and share content from anywhere on the web. It operates without editing, as a truly social site. All the content is placed on there by normal people who simply read something they like, and then ‘Digg’ it to let other people know about it.

Basically, it’s a big online popularity contest for good content. Material is ranked in order of popularity and value, and any site, however small or mighty, can be included in the lists. At a time when we are flooded with web pages from all over the world, it can be incredibly useful to have an index of content which is rated by normal readers with no ulterior motive than to share good stuff with other people.

The ‘America’s Got Talent’ of web content

Just like a reality TV show where people are voted on or off according to the entertainment value of what they do, so Digg allows pages to move up or down the scale depending on how good they are. ‘Good’ content could be funny, informative, useful or just plain silly, but it must have something catchy and relevant about it to hit the top spots.

Once a submission to Digg gets enough ratings from people, it hits the front page of the site where millions of visitors can see it. This is like winning America’s Got Talent and hitting the jackpot of popularity – a great goal for anyone who makes a living through online writing or video.

Digg includes images, music, news, video and articles, so it covers the whole spectrum of available web content in its rankings.

Supported by an online community

Digg also offers a community service, where people can discuss items and share them, passing on other pages of interest. Digg’s philosophy is to promote content in an unbiased way, which means that anyone can get on the front page if their material is interesting. It doesn’t make any difference how big or small your site is – it’s the content, and how people respond to it that counts.

In reality, these days it can be incredibly difficult to get onto the front page due to the power users who dominate the site. I’ve been on the front page twice (not with this site as I deliberately only have Twitter on here for reasons I can talk about another time) and can vouch for the massive increase in traffic, but just getting a small amount of traffic from many articles is often worthwhile.

Adding Digg to your blog

It’s pretty easy to use the Digg plug-in to get it on your WordPress site, and start to benefit from sharing your content with other people. There is now an updated application that builds on the previous Digg buttons and widgets, making it straightforward for you to engage Digg on your blog. You can also use a plugin like Share This, Sociable or Sexy Bookmarks.

If you have visitors to your site who like what you do, they can ‘Digg’ your content and start you off on the great global popularity contest of social computing – it’s well worth getting this on to your blog, if only to encourage people to share what you do with the rest of the world!

Why Bother Guest Posting?

Most of us at some point or another have thought about the possibilities of guest blogging, or may even be doing it right now. Guest blogging is the exchange of information (content) from one blogger to another, for a site which is not your own.

It can be hard enough coming up with original content for your own site, so the idea of writing for someone else on top of your usual routine probably fills you with dread. The thing is, there are a number of advantages to lending your services out as a guest blogger. Here’s the lowdown…

Gain exposure on the web

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. The more you put yourself out there on sites and blogs, the more publicity you get to showcase yourself and your services. By taking some time to write for another person, you get the opportunity to introduce yourself to new people and potentially increase your own customer base and contact lists if they like what you have written.

Get subscribers to your own site

Without subscribers to your blog, your site will end up being a lonely and ignored affair, which makes you feel as if you are posting up messages in to the ether. Having a broad range of loyal readers is the equivalent of going to a party and knowing everyone there – it makes you feel as if you are doing something really worthwhile, and your blog is well liked. By posting up quality content as a guest blogger, you enhance your prospects of gaining a wider readership for your work.

Generate more links

Hyperlinks are the friendly and helpful powerhouse of the internet. To enhance your ranking on Google and other engines, you need links. They help you to be recognised as an expert in your field, direct traffic to your site, and increase your visibility on the web. Guest blogging helps you to quickly and easily develop custom anchor-text and back links to your blog. It’s a free and highly effective way of driving your marketing strategy forward.

Direct valuable traffic to your site

We are all ultimately in competition for our readers. If we don’t stay ahead of our game, people will leave our site and look elsewhere for their information. High traffic means high recognition, and high awareness – invaluable if you are selling products through your blog. Sharing your blogging services enables you to generate more traffic. Which enables you to generate more sales. Simple!

Guest blogging is a great way of helping other people, and gaining from it in return. Blog owners gain free content for their site, and you benefit by generating traffic, links and subscribers for your own blog.

If you write quality content that is completely original, use images and research your platform, you will be able to write effective articles which really enhance your personal brand. If you’re lucky, you’ll get asked back to post. You could also ask people to post on your site, and take the day off from writing! Remember that as a guest blogger, this is your chance to showcase your knowledge and encourage people to support you.

If you write good content for other sites, you’ll get all the benefits that guest posting has to offer. If, however, you produce poor-quality writing, you run the risk of doing more harm than good for your own business.

To learn more about guest posting check out Chris Garrett’s Guest Posting eBook ($10).

Why You Should Use Video On Your Blog

Now this post is going to be slightly ironic as it’s text but hey I do lots of videos too! Unless you have been living on the moon for the past few months, you may have noticed that video is taking off, when it comes to delivering information through your blog.

Online marketing videos are the latest craze for people wanting to promote themselves, their company and their products. Making the jump to video is easier than ever, and we need to keep up to date with new technology developments to keep our blog at the forefront of people’s attention!

Here’s why using video on your blog can provide a cheap, easy and engaging way to encourage people to come to your blog, stay a while, and then return to it again and again…

You get your message seen by your target audience

These days, people have less and less time to spend on…just about everything! Long pages of text may be informative, but it could put some of your potential customers off if they think they’re going to have to spend time reading it. Video, on the other hand, is quick and easy to watch and is seen as entertainment, not effort.

Just as with writing, as long as your video is interesting and tuned in to your viewers needs or problems, you have a potential customer’s full attention. But stray from this for just a moment, and your viewer becomes bored and will click away.

You put yourself out there as an expert

When you create a video you are automatically seen as an expert in your field. This gives extra credibility to your business as you become the right guy to go to with the answers to problems in your field. Put some useful information in your videos, not just sales messages, and you’ll build up a loyal following of viewers.

You have the potential to educate your customer base

By its very nature, video is a visual medium. It is much easier for your customers to watch a short tutorial video than it is to read through a heavy technical manual, just to understand a simple point or technique. This method alone can slash your customer support costs, by providing an opportunity to help without going through the lengthy training manual production process. Many people absorb information better through viewing it, so it offers a double advantage.

You have an opportunity to build up trust in your online relationships

Your audience is not stupid – people instinctively know what is a sales pitch, and what isn’t. As soon as people some sense they are going to be sold to, they’ll leave you and go somewhere else. By putting your message on video, you have the opportunity to let your customers see your face rather than your company, let them get to know you, and make them more inclined to use your services.

People only spend cash with people they trust. The best way to build trust is to answer their concerns honestly, without hype or spin, and instead of trying to sell them, make it easy for them to buy.

You can get your video message out quickly and easily, to a large audience

To make the largest profits from the least expense in any business, you need to find a good customer base that are looking for your products. By listing your on-line videos on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, with effective use of relevant keyword tags you have access to a huge audience. It has never been easier or cheaper to create effective online marketing videos to promote your business, church or non-profit organization.

With just a little thought and effort, you could be reaping the benefits of online video marketing without spending a fortune.