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How to Create an eBook Without Spending a Dime

April 30, 2008

eBooks are easily one of the most vital parts of the web. They are books or information contained in digital form, which makes them extremely handy, portable, and easy to share with others. Some people find them useless, and others think they’re one of the most important things to read and collect. Either way, learning how to create an eBook is good for any blogger.

You can use an eBook to promote your site, build your audience, increase RSS subscriptions, give back to your readers, attract traffic, create a great portfolio of work, package your site’s articles into one easy place, and even make money online – plus whatever else you can think of. Mastering the talent of making eBooks is something every blogger should strive to do.

Personally, I’ve been experimenting with creating eBooks for a short while now. I’ve learned how to make an organized and attractive eBook and I’d like to teach you how to do the same thing – with a $0 budget. Yes, that means you can starting making eBooks to help you, your blog, and your readers without spending a dime!

How to Make an eBook for Free

A PDF is the best format for an eBook. You could always purchase Adobe Acrobat and use that, or use Microsoft Word and download free PDF converters online, but there’s a much cheaper and easier way – and it’s called Google Docs. It allows you to create all kinds of things, including documents, spreadsheets, presentations, folders, and more. Then it allows you to share them and convert them into several different formats, including PDF files. Helpful? Very. I’ll teach you how to do it.

1. Open Google Docs. If you don’t yet have a Google account, which you already should, then make one – it’s free. This way you’ll be able to login to all of Google’s free programs, including Google Docs, and have your past work handily and safely saved in your account for you. So open up Google Docs and sign in.

2. Click the ‘New Document’ button. Upon clicking here, you’ll be greeted with a full screen where you can type up your work and edit it with all kinds of different fonts, add HTML, insert pictures and hyperlinks, spell check, and much more.

3. Save your document. When you’re done typing up your eBook, hit the save button. Don’t worry, you can always go back and edit it later, so start out with a rough draft for now. Since you haven’t seen how it’s viewed in PDF format yet, you’ll most likely have to go back and edit multiple times anyway to get it looking nice.

4. Convert it to PDF. Now go back to your Google Docs dashboard, tick the check box by your document’s name, then go to ‘More Actions’ and ‘Save as PDF’. Then you’ll be allowed to save your PDF document to your computer where you can read it and look it over. Wasn’t that easy?!

Creating and Marketing a Successful eBook

This is a series, and in the next part I’m going to teach you how to make sure your eBook is successful – what to include, what to leave out, and how to make it look good. Then I’ll show you all the different kinds of eBooks you can make, how to use them and promote them, and how to market your eBooks. Soon you’ll be reaping the benefits! If you don’t want to miss out on the future installments to this series, subscribe to Super Blogging in your feed reader or email inbox. It’s easy and free! In the mean time, feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.

Part 1: How to Create an eBook Without Spending a Dime
Part 2: Ideas for Creating Your Perfect eBook

Creative Commons License photo credit: *clairity*

Meet Super Blogging’s New Theme

April 27, 2008

newlook.png I understand that you all might be thinking that this blog already got a new design pretty recently, and if you are thinking that, then you’re right. The answer is that yes, Super Blogging had been using the Revolution News theme as of March 5 – until now, that is. While the entire set of Revolution themes are excellent and probably the best magazine-style themes I’ve ever seen, I have found that they’re not right for this blog. Thus, I decided on the great free theme PassionDuo.

Like I said, I completely love the Revolution themes, which is why I was so excited to use one here in the first place. It’s a very professional and organized theme. However, I found that that type of theme is best for blogs with multi-authors, or ones on multiple topics. Using that theme helped the organization and helped keep the spotlight on older content, but the blog didn’t feel like a blog to me – apart from that, it was also a lot harder to keep up with.

That doesn’t mean I would totally rule out magazine style themes for blogs in this niche, or even for my blog. I think it is very important to experiment and find what’s best for you and your site. And obviously, the demands of your readers will always be changing so sometimes that requires for a change in design or how you run things as well.

I’m not sure if using the PassionDuo theme is a permanent decision, because that all depends on what YOU think. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this theme, and if it’s right for Super Blogging. Also, if you have any other recommendations, don’t hesitate to send them to me – I’m all ears to your suggestions and I’m open to any other theme choices you might know of!

One big question though: is this theme better than the previous one? Let me know what you think about that as well.

Also note that there are some open advertising spots again, so if you’d like to be featured on this blog in the prime spots we offer, go ahead and purchase one or contact me for more details. And if you didn’t know, there are currently some HUGE advertising deals on Super Blogging – including one where you can purchase a review and get a 125×125 banner free. There are a total of four current deals, so be sure to check them out if you’d like to get some exposure on the space that comes with a new theme.

8 Ways To Add Value With Link Roundup Posts

April 25, 2008

Links posts or roundup posts are ones in which a blogger links to different articles on other sites. These articles should be ones the blogger finds funny, interesting, helpful, etc. and that will provide value to the blogger’s readers. Some bloggers only do occasional link posts whenever they see fit, and other bloggers will have them on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly.

I’m composing this article because link roundup posts are extremely common in the blogosphere, but they don’t get much attention. Link love posts here at Super Blogging used to be a weekly occurrence every Friday – and now they’re bi-weekly, every other Friday. You can view the archives of link roundup posts here.

There are a few different reasons why I began doing the roundup posts less often. Firstly, it’s because the weekly quantity of content here has decreased to about two or three posts a week, which I feel is currently a good amount. Continuing to have a link post a week would really drown out the other content. Apart from that, it felt that the roundups were just a way to add some filler content, and they were something no one took seriously. Link posts can add some great value to a blog, but only if they’re done right and not as a way to just add more content.

So how do link posts add value to a blog? Let’s take a look.

How Link Posts Add Value

Show your readers what YOU’RE reading. By linking out to others on your blog, you’re giving your own readers an insight to the blogs you love and learn from. This way, if they’re not readers of the same blogs you are, you could introduce them to new resources. But if you’re constantly linking out to the same blogs each week, your readers could already be reading them and it would get old.

Link out to your blogging friends. The blogosphere is a very active and social community, as if you didn’t already know. Networking and building relationships with fellow bloggers is very important, and what’s an easier way to do that by exchanging links and helping each other out in terms of getting new readers and improving SEO? However, again, make sure to offer diversity in your roundups and don’t link to someone solely because they’re your friend – provide value.

Generate traffic from your roundups. Linking out to others doesn’t always have to be a totally selfless act. By doing this, bloggers are going to check their trackbacks and see who’s linked to them – thus visiting your blog and bringing you some more traffic. Also, if you can make your link roundups look more like a resource list, they could generate some success in social media as well.

Help the beginners. With Super Blogging growing more and more everyday, I occasionally get emails from people asking me if I’ll link to certain articles they’ve written on their own blogs. I honestly don’t mind helping out at all and if it’s a relevant, well-crafted article that can benefit my own readers, I’ll be glad to share the link love.

Provide plenty of information in one place. If you manage to compose your link roundup post successfully, it can be an excellent resource for anyone who views it, helping both you and your readers. Hours of reading and learning can sometimes be generated from one simple roundup, making it an excellent place to gather and share information.

As you can see, roundups offer plenty of benefits to both the author of the blog they’re on and the readers. However, there’s a difference between a good link roundup post and a great one, one that provides the most knowledge and entertainment possible.

How To Compose A Good Roundup

Organize your link roundup posts. Make sure all of the links and articles featured are on one topic, and that that topic pertains to your readers and will be once that they’re interested in. Make sure the links are arranged in some kind of order – whether it be by sub-topics or order of importance or quality. If you want, you can merely link to the posts, or include an icon, excerpt, or description to go with them – it’ll be a little more work but your readers will appreciate it.

Make sure everything works and looks good. Make sure all the links work and point to the right places, and double check that you’ve got the names of the articles and sites right. While you can always go back and edit the post later, it’s so much better to proofread and not make the mistake in the first place, so check for broken links and spelling mistakes, as you should with any other article you publish.

Make the roundup post eye-catching. Create your own special image or header if you plan on doing regular link love posts, or come up with a catchy name. For the link roundup posts here at Super Blogging I nicknamed them ‘The Best of the Blogosphere‘ and made a logo to go with it, at the top of the post. This draws your readers’ attention and even generates more traffic to the roundup.

Now that you know how to create an excellent roundup for your own readers, the rest is up to you. Are they going to be a regular thing on a certain day of the week, or just whenever you’ve gathered up enough good content to create such a post? How often do you publish new content? Make sure your link posts don’t overrule the other content, and make sure they haven’t just become filler – a post that you create just to have more content, and one that no one reads anyway.

Let us know how you feel about link love posts. Do you have them on your own blog, and if so, how do you organize them and how often do you publish them? As a reader, do you tend to skip over roundups on your favorite blogs or do you delve deep into them and spend quite a bit of time reading? Share your thoughts!

Creative Commons License photo credit: monkey123

Asking The Readers: About Making Money Online

April 23, 2008

askingthereaders.pngWelcome to Asking The Readers! You are invited and encouraged to share your opinions and responses today. Super Blogging has a fantastic community full of friendly and intelligent readers – so don’t be afraid to read the post and the other comments, and then share your own thoughts and ideas. We love hearing what you have to say!

Today I’d like to bring up making money online. It’s the niche we all claim to be in, but all we post about and are preoccupied with are tips on blogging and productivity. While that’s not a bad thing and while those articles are most certainly needed, they’re not about making money online. The last time I published an article about actually making money online was my review of PepperJam, over a month ago.

So now I’m going to discuss making money online with all of you – how much you make, how you make it, and how much work you’re putting into it. If you want, you can also let me know what things you don’t know about making money online, and then hopefully I can create future posts covering those points for you and other readers. But now, it’s time to ask the readers…

1. How much money do you make online in a month?
2. What do you do the most to make that money? (Sell private ads, do affiliate programs, etc.)
3. How many hours do you put into it?
4. What would you like to learn or experiment with when it comes to making money online that you haven’t done yet?

Most of the readers of this blog are obviously trying to make money online, so these questions should apply to many of you. However, some people don’t like disclosing all the details – so if there are any questions you’d like to skip or not answer in full, you’re not obligated to do so. Apart from those questions, feel free to share any thoughts and opinions you have about making money online – along with any questions. If there are any articles you’d like to see here that help you make money, let me know!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and, if you do so, for sharing your own responses. We all have the same goal in mind, but it’s one we often talk about less and less. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and learn what you all think. Remember, if there’s ever a certain post you’d like to see here about a tutorial, case study, experiment, or lesson with making money online, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m keeping a notebook of reader questions and maybe yours can be answered next!

Be sure to subscribe to Super Blogging so you don’t miss the results of this Asking The Readers session about how to make money blogging and online!

Great Tool: How to Tell if a Site is Down

April 20, 2008

how to tell if a site is downI was using StumbleUpon a few days ago and came across an excellent tool that can easily let you know if a site is down or not. Sometimes when browsing the web and visiting your favorite sites, or even a new site you’ve never laid eyes on before, it won’t load. Then you’ll start to wonder if the problem is on your side or theirs.

Luckily, there’s one tool you should always have in your bookmarks for a time like that – and it’s called Down For Everyone Or Just Me. Upon visiting that site, I was pretty impressed. It was as simple as any site can be made, with a white page and only one line of text. Basically, it says “Is ____ down for everyone or just me?” All you have to do is enter in the site you want to check, and then click on “or just me?” and it’ll tell you.

But like I mentioned, Down For Everyone Or Just Me is a great example of how important simplicity can be. The creators of that site understood that all the visitors wanted was to know if a site was truly down or not – and they didn’t need anything else. This lets the site load quickly and its users easily find what they’re looking for.

down for everyone or just me

So next time you’re wondering if the site you’re trying to access is unavailable for just you or also for the rest of the world, try Down For Everyone Or Just Me. Have you ever used this tool before? Do you know any others similar to it, or any better alternatives? Let us know what you think! And I have plenty more great tools to share, so if you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to Super Blogging today!

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