Category Archive Setup a Blog

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Got Writers Block? Use Google Alerts to Find the Best Stories for Your Blog

Once you’ve learned all about how to create your own blog, it’s time to start sharing your compelling copy with eager readers around the world. No doubt you have a least a handful of concepts for your first few articles, but what happens what the well dries up and you find yourself without any website content ideas?

Regardless of what topics you generally cover, every writer sometimes gets stumped and could use a hand coming up with a fresh subject to write about. A surefire way to clear the roadblock and give your fingers the fodder they need to craft another captivating post is to scour the Web for recent news relating to your topic of choice. But finding that information can take time, especially if you’re not sure where to start looking. Luckily, Google Alerts exist to keep you up to date about news in your industry, which can help you find valuable inspiration for your next blog post.

Here’s a look at Google Alerts, how the service works, and how to get started using it.

What are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is an often overlooked, but incredibly useful service powered by the Internet’s most popular search engine. The way it works is simple: You give Google a set of keywords to monitor, and whenever those words appear on a newly published Web page, you’ll receive an email notification. Using Google Alerts makes it easy to get ideas for website content by having the search giant keep tabs on keywords relevant to the scope of your blog.

It’s no secret that some of the most-shared content on social networks relates to current event topics. By using Google Alerts to find out about the latest trends and developments in the area(s) that you write about, you’ll be better positioned to share your thoughts about that news while it’s still relevant to the rest of the world.

Ideas for Blog Content

Getting Started with Google Alerts

It’s free and easy to get started using Google Alerts, but it helps to know a few tricks about how the search engine works first. To begin, head over to http://alerts.google.com, and you’ll immediately be presented with a search box prompting you to “Create an alert about…” Enter the keyword or phrase that you want to keep track of in this field. Use quotation marks around groups of words if you only want to receive alerts about pages that include those words in the same unbroken order as what’s inside the quotes. Use a dash before a word or phrase to exclude results that include that word or phrase. (There are several other ways to use symbols and punctuation to fine-tune your search results, but those are the biggies. Learn about the rest here.

After entering your keywords or phrases in the search bar, you’ll see the most recent results relating to your query. These are the results that Google would email you for that particular alert. Depending upon the popularity of the words you’ve chosen, the results could range anywhere from just a few, to a few thousand. Fortunately, Google Alerts also gives you the ability to determine how often you’d like to receive your alerts.

Customizing Your Alerts Experience

After you’ve defined the keyword(s) that you’re interested in tracking, you can customize your alert experience by clicking the “Show options” link underneath the search bar. You can select if you’d like to receive alerts once a week, once a day, or throughout the day, as they happen. Based on the popularity of the terms you’ve chosen, alerts could range anywhere from a few a week to a hundred or more each day. For more common keywords, a daily or weekly digest might be your best bet. You can also denote which sources you’d prefer to receive alerts from, whether they be blogs, forums, news sites, or anywhere else on the Web. You can also choose to only receive alerts in a particular language, or from a certain region of the world. Finally, you can opt to receive alerts whenever your phrase is mentioned on any site, or you can leave it up to Google to only send you the results that it deems most relevant.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to get ideas for writing blog posts by using Google Alerts, you’re in a powerful position to create killer content for your website. Using Google Alerts can help you generate blog material that can keep you top-of-mind with your readers, while also enabling you to grow your digital following. So if you’re looking for personal website content ideas, count on Google Alerts to save you time and energy by doing the legwork for you. One you receive your alerts, you can just scan the headlines, and if it looks like something you’d like to write about, you’re well on your way to crafting another winning blog post.

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Must-Know Terms When Building Your First Website

First Website Terms to Know

Are you building your first website, but hesitating because you’re confronted by a bunch of website terms you don’t understand? Don’t worry! This brief article will cover the basic words mentioned in every introductory website glossary. Here’s a crash course in the terminology of website building – designed to help anyone build their first website ever.

Domain Name

This is the address of your website or blog, which typically ends in a suffix such as .com, .net, or .org. You can purchase your own domain name from a registrar and link it with your website, or you can use a subdomain name provided at no charge by many of the free website builders. So instead of having a blog or website at yourgreatsite.com, it will be located at yourgreatsite.wix.com, or yourgreatsite.weebly.com.

For those looking to have the domain name of their choice, you’ll need to pay a fee to the website builder. A domain name never comes for free and when looking for one you have to make sure it is unique. The free website builders allow you to obtain your domain name via their site.

Web Terms to Remember

Website Template or Theme

When building your first website or blog, you will be asked to choose the “template” you prefer, sometimes the word “theme” is used instead. Either way, this refers to the look and feel you are choosing for your site. Most of the free website builders have created hundreds of these templates for you to peruse when building your website. All of the coding is already complete and you, as the user, simply need to choose the one you want.

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Follow these 10 web design blogs for inspiration

Has your next web design project sent you into a Pinterest spiral? Not sure which design format will yield the best results for your site? We’ve all been there. Stop storyboarding a ton of ideas and head straight to the experts. The top 10 web design blogs are full of ingenuity and smart ways to jazz up your online space.

Whether you’re building a website for the first time or you’re a professional web designer, it’s important to stay on top of the latest web design trends. The best web design blogs know how to reach their audience and convert visitors into customers, and their bloggers are constantly studying ways to improve their craft. Even those of you building a website using a website builder like Web.com can benefit from some web design knowledge when creating or refreshing your webpages.

Here are 10 of the top web design blogs to help get you started.

Web design blogs – Smashing Magazine

1. Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine is a web design blog known for it’s vast information and tips for creating a well designed and engaging website. With monthly contests, thousands of pages of tutorials, ebooks, posts, a job board, and more, it’s one of the largest resources anywhere on the web. The blog focuses heavily on web and mobile design, an area that is largely overlooked.

2. WebDesignerDepot

WebDesignerDepot has been running since 2010, covering hot topics in design such as usability, typography, and responsive design. Great for people building a website for the first time and pro designers alike, this is the place to go for web design inspiration, tutorials, and lots of great resources.

3. Designerfix

Designerfix is a blog that constantly updates about the latest graphic and web design trends. Its web design section is full of great examples on how to optimise your site’s look and feel to better fit your primary objectives. Believing in the power of free knowledge, their motto is to “be less selfish with our design, and be more about sharing like a community intent on evolving the art!”

4. Web Design Ledger

WDL is more of an online magazine than a blog, but it is still insanely useful. Hundreds of posts and easy to access archives covering topics from User Interface tips to typography can be found throughout the dusty URLs of the site.

5. Six Revisions

Six Revisions is one of the best blogs for beginners, as it skips a lot of the artsy design ideals and gets straight to the point. With many different guides to choose from, if you’re doing something wrong, this blog will let you know – but it will also help you correct any mistakes you’ve made. Not sure what images work best or what’s the best use for white space on your site? This great blog has all the answers for you.

Web design blogs – You the Designer

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