What is a WordPress Blog?

A professional and great way to start a blog is to use WordPress as the blogging platform, self-host the blog by paying for a hosting plan at a web hosting service, and register your own domain name to use with the blog.

Although a blog is a Web site, a blog is not exactly the same as your common garden-variety Web site. A blog is a powerful and flexible way to publish information on the Internet. It can be used for just about any site purpose you can imagine. You can use a WordPress blog to talk about your dog, or you could use a WordPress blog to run an online business that sells dog food and dog-related merchandise.

The word “blog” is created from “web log.” Technically speaking, a blog is an online chronicle, account, journal, or diary. It is made up of content that is published chronologically with the most recent information appearing at the top of the blog, in the form of entries which are called “posts.” Posts are saved in the blog, you can page backwards (travel backward in post time) through a blog and view all of the posts previously published. Blog “archives” are a special way to view older posts and “categories” can be used to view all posts of a similar topic. Blogs are like libraries of useful content and information.

A blog is a dynamic kind of a web site. This means that a blog’s content is easily, and usually often, updated by adding new posts to the database that powers the blog behind the scenes. The content or information shown by the blog changes as new content is added to the database.

In contrast to a dynamic blog, with a static Web site it is not as easy to change the content. To show different information on the web pages of a static Web site, each page that has new content must be individually changed by someone capable with XHTML or HTML (the code that makes web pages work). Hand coding web pages is harder, more time-consuming, and cumbersome than simply making posts to a dynamically powered Web site like a WordPress blog.

Posting new content to a blog is a lot like using a word processor. You type in your new content, format it as you desire, but then instead of saving or printing a document as you would with a word processor, with a blog you click a button to post the new content. The new content will then automatically appear at the top of the blog’s posts. A blog allows you to easily edit anything you want to change in any of your older posts. Making new posts to a blog, or editing old posts requires no special knowledge of web page coding or programming. A blog has an administrative interface that makes all the chores and work of blogging user friendly. I’ll let you in on a secret… blogging is fun!

WordPress is a very powerful and popular blogging platform. WordPress uses programming code called PHP and MySQL, and a database to display content. A very nice thing about WordPress is that it is free, using WordPress to power your blog won’t cost you a single cent. Plus, support and information about WordPress is readily available. A professional way to have a blog is to use WordPress, self-host by paying for a hosting plan at a web host service, and register your own domain name to use with the blog.

A WordPress blog can also be customized and configured so that it appears and behaves just like a regular Web site made up of individual pages linked to one another in various relationships. The WordPress blogging platform (or engine), that powers the blog can add this Web site-like functionality. The WordPress blog engine is very good for configuring a blog to act like a common Web site… only with lots more flexibility, options, features, and power!

A blog can be published by just one person, which is probably the way most blogs make their way to the Internet, or by a team of people who create the content and information appearing on the blog. A business might find the team-style approach to blogging useful.

If you need a blog or Web site, or both, for your business, church, organization, or for personal means, then it is hard to go wrong choosing WordPress.

Improving The Credibility of Your Blog in 5 Easy Steps

Blogging is all about showcasing expertise in a particular subject field and building credibility. If readers feel that the information found in your blog is accurate and that you know what you are talking about, they will not only become repeat visitors, they will also likely sign-up to your newsletter and RSS feed, comment on your posts, and tell their friends about your blog. Building a popular blog is therefore all about building credibility.

Aside from being knowledgeable about your blog’s subject matter, there are other steps that can be taken to allow your blog to build credibility. These steps involve both improving the design of your blog to give it a more professional look and improving the quality of your posts to ensure the information you are providing is accurate and well-written.

1. Blog About What You Know

The most important step to improving the credibility of your blog is to provide accurate information in every article. There is really is no room for error here. Although the information in your blog can represent your own opinion, any statement you make should be based on facts that other experts in your field could validate. Bloggers often fall into the trap of trying to broaden the scope of the subjects their blog covers beyond their expertise.

For example, if your blog is about Canadian taxation, you should be careful before broaching the subject of American taxation, even if this subject might bring your blog extra readership. Should you happen to make an error regarding American tax law, the credibility of not only your article, but your entire website will be questioned. Therefore, try to stay within the boundaries of your knowledge and avoid posting articles about subjects with which you are less familiar. If you wish to expand the categories or subjects your blog covers, then make sure you do extensive research before you post.

2. Avoid Grammatical Errors

Nothing will hurt your blog’s credibility more than a post full of mistakes and grammatical errors. Even a few mistakes here and there make your articles appear unprofessional. Make sure you read over each article several times before you post to your blog. Read over it once after you have finished writing, then wait 24 hours and read it again. Finally ask someone else to read it as well. Also make sure you proofread your website’s content such as “about” or “profile” pages.Further, it is important to write professionally when you respond to comments, or comment on other blogs as well as when you respond to e-mails and requests.

For many bloggers, this tip will seem fairly obvious, and it is. However, it is harder than we may think to consistently post well-written content that is error-free. In the interest of expediency, we tend to write fast and do not always take the time to review our posts as many times as we should. However, like a first meeting, readers will form an opinion of your blog almost immediately upon reading the first post, and if it is poorly written, you may have lost that reader forever. It is therefore important to take the time to go over your posts and make sure they are free of errors.

3. Get a Custom Blog Theme

Getting someone or a company to design a custom blog theme for your site is a great way of improving its credibility. A custom blog design can make your site appear more professional than using the basic theme provided with your blogging platform. A custom blog design also allows you to customize the navigation and layout of your blog, making it more user-friendly and allowing you to organize your posts more effectively.

There are many affordable blog design services out there that will create a custom theme for your blog. Yes, it will be more expensive than a generic template or a pre-built theme, but keep in mind that they offer exclusivity. It really depends on how far you want to take your blog. Most, if not all, of the internet’s most popular and successful blogs have custom designs. It becomes necessary as your blog expands, but it also sends a message that you are serious about your blog and that you are willing to spend a few dollars improving it.

4. Do Not Overuse Keywords

In the hopes of improving search engine rankings, many bloggers will stuff their posts with keywords to the point where they become unpleasant to read. Remember that in the long run your blog’s popularity will be dictated by the quality of the information it provides, not by the amount of keywords on your site. So, make sure your posts remain readable, fun and interesting and implement your keywords when it makes sense to do so. Anyway, too many keywords will hurt your blog’s rankings.

Keywords should be placed evenly throughout the body of your post and they should also be included in your article’s title. You should use synonyms and variations of the keywords to avoid excessive repetition. One way to make sure you are not putting too many keywords in your post is to write your article first, then perform your keyword research and decide which keywords to focus on once your post is finished. This will insure that you are writing for your readers and not for search engines!

5. Get links from credible blogs

Link building in theory is simple, but the application is very complex. It is not easy to build links to your site, and getting them from credible sources is even harder. However, getting links from credible blogs is not only important to building your own blog’s credibility, it does wonders for SEO. Obviously, blogs that have gained a strong reputation in your subject field are best.

So how can you receive a link from a credible blog? The first thing you should do is ask. If your blog has something to offer and interesting articles, they may simply link directly to one of your articles. They may also ask you for original content that they can post on their blog with a link back to your site. If asking does not work, try to join the forum or comment section and build a presence on the blog. Other readers will notice your comments and opinions and may follow back to your blog.

Remember that building credibility on your blog is not something you do quickly. It takes time and demands effort and constant attention and hard work. However, building credibility on your blog will lead to more followers and its popularity will constantly increase; the rewards are therefore worth it so be patient!

Hard Money Commercial Loans Revealed!

Where did hard money come from?

Hard Money Loans in general have traditionally been only for investors seeking to purchase real estate quickly and with little documentation. Investors by nature are much more educated about their financial situations and options since they are utilizing their sources and going through the lending process much more frequently than the average home owner.

Investors did not want to have to go through a 30-45 loan process every time they purchased a new investment property. Often times their investment projects were time sensitive and needed to be quickly financed or they would lose the deal. Enter Hard Money.

Historically hard money was meant to lend money to anyone based only on the equity position of the property. These new forms of commercial and residential loans were both lent based on the assumption that the lender would only provide 60-65% of the value of a property. They would not be securing their money against the credit worthiness of the borrower, just the equity of the property. This meant no more lengthy credit underwriting bank reviews. Interest rates are much higher with a hard money loan than with traditional financing, but investors are more than willing to pay the higher interest rates and points associated with acquiring these loans in exchange for not being declined due to credit, job, or income issues.

Commercial Hard Money Loans Evolve

Hard Money Loans filled a huge gap in the lending and banking industry. Investors were now able to obtain short term financing very quickly to purchase their properties.

These loans also became very popular with residential lending over time. The average home owner through mortgage brokers gained easy access to these loans which was advantagous to them for several reasons as well. A loan of this type became an option for a home owner who was falling behind in their mortgage payments. Traditional banks and lenders wanted nothing to do with someone that was not able to make their monthly mortgage payments. Often times these people only needed a short term reprieve to overcome some challenge they had been faced with in their lives.

This new loan allowed the home owner to refinance and catch up on mortgage payments. Their payments inevitably rose even higher due to the higher rates, but the loan also allowed the home owner to cash out up to 65-70% of the value of their home! This gave the home owner the power to pay off other debts, catch up on their mortgage history and then refinance again once they were in a better position to more traditional loan options.

Whats in it for the lender?

The lender has several incentives for their risks. The most obvious is the interest the investor makes on his money. It is not uncommon for a hard money lender to command anywhere from 10.99% all they way up to 18% interest on their loans depending on the risk and property types.

The second incentive is the points that a lender collects for offering you their money. The lender often collects anywhere from 1-8% of the total loan amount as their fee for offering you such high risk money. In addition to these upfront fee’s and the high interest rates, the lender may also impose a prepayment penalty ensuring that they get their interest payments over a 6-12 month period. Should the client refinance or sell the lender is able to collect even more fee’s for using their money.

The final benefit is the property itself. Often times the lender does research on the property and determines their risk by their ability to make money should they take back the property from the client. If the client falls behind in their payments the lender would be able to take ownership for example of the mulitfamily apartment complex and make money on the net operating income the property would offer. If the return is not high enough for them they are also able to sell at a discount. Remember they are only lending 65% of the value of the property so if they take it back they can always sell quickly at a discount in order to make quick money on the capital gains of the sale.

Hard money commercial loans today

Hard Money has truly evolved. With the fallout of the credit markets in 2007 this market has a new face. In both residential and commercial markets, hard money seems to have replaced a void left by the subprime market. Subprime is a whole other article but let us just agree that subprime was not only for bad credit buyers and therefore now that hard money is takign that market space neither is hard money.

These loans now can accommodate a wide variety of loan scenarios. It is no longer just for the foreclosure bailout crowd or bad credit investors. The product can cover anything outside the normal local banking guidelines. Private lenders are now allow CLTV’s up to 90%! A commercial investor may only need to bring 10% of the purchase price and can still obtain a hard money loan. This means not showing tax returns, not waiting for lengthy underwriting processes, and getting their money fast.

A commercial Lender today will often do their own due dilligence and appraisals. They are streamlined and have formula in place to quickly tell them if they will be likely to see a return on their investment.

This product is becoming ever more popular in the mortgage industry. Non Standard sources flock to hard money lenders to help them invest their money including pension funds, insurance funds, etc.

As mortgage brokers further infiltrate the commercial market we are sure to see an explosion of hard money commercial loans becoming available to more commercial investors whos only access to commercial money in the past may have been their local bank.

Construction Financing and Commercial Loans

There are many new challenges which are increasingly evident with commercial mortgages, particularly those involving commercial construction loans. Many commercial financing experts currently project that the changing environment for working capital loans and most other business financing will produce several new but avoidable problems for small business owners.

There have always been complex problems for business owners to avoid when seeking commercial loans. By most accounts, these difficulties are now expected to multiply because we appear to be entering a period which will be characterized by even more uncertainties in the economy. Prior standards for commercial mortgages are likely to change suddenly and with little advance notice by lenders if the current financial turmoil continues.

This article will evaluate why commercial construction loans have become harder to obtain and will discuss possible commercial finance funding solutions. The current economic uncertainties combined with less capital availability for commercial mortgages in general and construction financing in particular means that it is much more likely that borrowers will need to look beyond their regional market area for business financing help. In many areas of the United States, virtually all business construction funding sources are effectively inactive at this time in addressing new loan requests.

Even before business finance funding options became more limited recently, construction loans were generally considered to be riskier than other commercial financing by most lenders. For a commercial lender, the most significant risk factors for commercial construction financing usually include the following: (1) until the new building is completed, a commercial property cannot produce income to repay a loan; (2) a substantial risk factor is the possibility for contractor liens; and (3) many commercial construction projects take more time to complete than originally projected and/or exceed initial cost estimates. Of these factors, the risk of potential contractor liens appears to be a particular concern for commercial lenders because of the deteriorating health of the construction industry. In any event, current delinquencies in loan payments for commercial construction financing are running well above normal.

Construction financing for homebuilders has always been viewed separately by lenders because the eventual owners of single-family homes are individuals rather than businesses. From a commercial lending perspective, it is likely that the current difficulties seen in residential construction are indirectly impacting the availability of construction funding for commercial properties because the potential for contractor liens incurred during residential projects can quickly reduce the financial stability of contractors involved in both residential and commercial construction projects. This is a further reason why lenders are increasingly focusing on the risk of contractor liens as a rationale for providing less construction financing.

The feasibility of real estate investments has traditionally included an enduring theme of “location, location and location” which reflects the importance of a specific locale for investing. This is still an important factor when lenders evaluate the prospects for commercial real estate loans involving both existing commercial properties and new construction. A lender is likely to be most comfortable with a stable to growing revenue stream for a business which will in turn result in a stable to growing property valuation, thus preserving collateral for the commercial mortgage loan.

For the first time in several years, however, we are generally seeing widespread reductions in both residential and commercial property values throughout much of the United States, with some areas of the country exhibiting more volatility than others. A severe recession will result in decreasing income for many businesses over an extended period of time, and it is very difficult for either lenders or borrowers to project when this downward trend will reverse.

Given the difficulty of arranging financing based on location, using non-local lenders can be a practical solution for commercial financing involving both existing commercial properties and new construction. Small business owners should seek straightforward advice from a commercial loans expert who can provide effective strategies for changing and difficult business finance funding situations, especially in light of the challenging commercial borrowing climate prevailing currently.