12 Things to Take Care Of When Blogging About Your Business

This article is contributed by Gagan Deep.

A business blog can gain new eyeballs to your business, and build great loyalty among your existing customers. It can also boost brand awareness, and help build a customer community. However, all this is possible only when business blogging is done correctly. Continue reading “12 Things to Take Care Of When Blogging About Your Business”

How to Use Giveaways to Grow Your Blog

This article is contributed by Heather Green.

Giveaways are a great way to generate excitement around your blog and to drive more traffic to it. Everyone loves getting something for free, and giveaways are fun and exciting. You can leverage this enthusiasm to create awareness about your blog, pick up some additional traffic, and grow your subscribers. Continue reading “How to Use Giveaways to Grow Your Blog”

3 Ways for New Graduates to Market Themselves Online Like Pros

This article is contributed by Samantha Gray.

When we talk about marketing we often think about entrepreneurs, business people, and corporations. Our minds immediately shift to considering topics of web promotion, social media, and blogging. This makes sensethis is what marketing has become in many ways for our society today. But, it’s important to realize that marketing can be more than just the professional world of successful business people and major companies. Continue reading “3 Ways for New Graduates to Market Themselves Online Like Pros”

5 Top Strategies for Getting Links to Your Website

This article is contributed by Audrey Porterman.

With Google’s latest update, Google Penguin, quality links have become more important than ever. Sites with poor links saw their page rank drop significantly. While links had always been important to a site’s search engine ranking, the update shifted the emphasis to the quality of those links. Continue reading “5 Top Strategies for Getting Links to Your Website”

Professional Writers Blog

Professional writers blog: that is my short and emphatic answer to the implied question in a guest post by Larry Brooks on the Problogger blog.  His cryptic title, as he described it was, Why Professional Writers Need a Blog. Or Not.  His article raised some interesting questions and on some of these I profoundly disagree with what he said.

What Is A Professional Writer?

To avoid any unnecessary debate over terms, we should clarify what we mean by a professional writer.  In my book it is someone who writes for an audience and enjoys a success in so doing.  Success can be measured in monetary terms or perhaps merely in the number of readers that the writer draws to his writings.  Some successful professional writers are so well known that anything they write will attract a large audience.  For them is the luxury of doing what ever comes naturally and the audience will be there.

Should Professional Writers Blog?

Leaving aside the highly visible and well-known writers, what is the answer to our question for the average professional writer who may be unknown to his first time readers.  Larry Brooks divided such writers into two groups and felt different rules applied.  His groups were

  • Non-Fiction Professional Writers
  • Fiction Writers

If we examine what a blog really does, I think you will see that really the same answer applies to both. 

Blogs Versus Websites

A blog is really one type of website so in fact the comparison here is between blogs and websites which are not blogs.  Non-blog websites contain static web pages and normally little new content is added from one period to another.

A blog on the other hand has continuing new content added on a time sequence basis.  Very often it has an associated news feed, which is a file that automatically alerts aggregators of news that a new item has been added.  This double-up visibility is one of the key reasons why blogs are much more effective in bringing in visitors to the online property.

Blogs Have Heightened Online Visibility

An even bigger leveraging factor on blog visibility is that Google, the dominant search engine, in some ways overvalues blog post web pages relative to static web pages.  Google does not make public why its behavior should be like this, but one element in this is that the Google search engine values recent new web pages above more established and older web pages, at least for a few days.

This means that if someone wishes to have an online presence, a blog is far superior to a regular non-blog website.

Who Should Blog?

Given this heightened visibility for blogs, who then should be blogging?  A better way of opening up this topic is to ask, Who should not be blogging?  If you are aiming to communicate with the world via an online presence, then this online presence should be a blog.  It may be appropriate to add other more static website components such as a forum or a wiki, but their content will be slightly less visible through the search engines.

Some will question whether they have sufficient ongoing content to be able to create new blog posts with some regularity.  The answer to that is perhaps best illustrated by discussing the group that Larry Brooks suggested should have a static website.

Should Fiction Writers Blog?

Larry Brooks had the following advice for fiction writers:

Why doesn’t a blog work to promote a novel?

Because you can only blog about your book for so long.  And blog readers are almost completely intolerant of self-serving, thinly disguised promotional agendas.

You have to earn every single moment of personal mindshare from a prospective buyer through the delivery of content they can put to work in their lives.

Blogging also comes with another type of risk.

Even if you have valid to offer.

Blogging can be addictive and hungry, it can eat up energy, time and mindspace like no other intellectual pursuit you’ve ever been tempted to give in to.

If you dive in, you need to be all in.   And that’s a huge commitment.

Given that line of thinking, Larry Brooks pushed for a static website for each novel.  However he ignores the fact that blogs are several times more visible than static websites in search engine results.  The blog can be very effective during the buildup to the book launch and following the launch. 

Indeed even thereafter, devout readers may be interested in whatever further developments have occurred about the novel and any sequels. Such content may be less hot with human readers but it serves to maintain visibility among those search engines.  The importance of this is such that a blog is always worth the effort even though these blogs will require only limited extra content as time passes.  Nevertheless they create a much larger impression on the search engine radar screen around the static website that is specifically for the novel.  In this way, the visitor traffic to the novel website will be maximized on an ongoing basis.  That should lead to higher book sales, which is after all the key objective.

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Blogging First And Foremost

Marketing First

That was the title I selected as the introduction for a post to launch the new free downloadable e-book: Marketing Right Now. I pondered long and hard on what title might be best. The book deals with the fundamental basics of starting up and growing a business. Almost by default I chose the title Marketing First. My implicit thinking was that any activity is best done if you first cover strategy and then work out the tactics. That is true in waging war and it is also true in growing your business.

expert blogging

An alternative title might have been Marketing Strategy First. When researching that title, I was struck by a website I found that dealt with ‘strategic marketing for growing companies’. The strategic marketing expert had assembled a lot of the right stuff. However I was somewhat surprised to find that the blog was buried almost in the footer and the archive of blog posts, shown on the right, suggested this was not a high priority.

Strategy First, Blog Second

Although there are many important principles in the E-Book, Marketing Right Now, if I could choose only one that would have the biggest impact then I think it would be the title of this post: Blogging First And Foremost.

The sad fact is that blogging does not get the respect it should have. Blogging is all about the dialogue you should have with your prospects and clients. Even if that were not sufficient reason, the other important factor is that Google loves blogs. The RSS news feed for your blog is an instant alert to the world that you have something to say.

Nevertheless blogs, like Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect. Of course they most often started off as personal musings or journals, so why would anyone else care. In addition, blog is such an unfortunate and ungainly name. I often recommend that clients use a different name. For example News and Views is an upbeat kind of title. For some websites, Fresh Ideas can be an even better choice.

Dialogue With Your Market-Place

If you are not using your blog to make contact with your market-place at least once per week, you might adopt this discipline. As your week draws to a close, ask yourself the question, “What did my prospects and clients hear from me this week? Of course there is another question you should be keeping in mind. What did my prospects and clients hear from my competitors? With that thought in mind make sure that early each week you have something to say to these important individuals in your marketplace.

If you have nothing to say, are you sure you’re working hard enough to grow your business. At the very least, you may have seen something in the market-place from your radar screens (Google Alerts, RSS News Feed subscriptions) that your contacts will find interesting. Remember every time you write a blog post, you are improving your visibility with Google. That’s where prospects are looking for a supplier just like you.

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BWelford’s Monthly Round-Up For August 2009

This is the online version of the SMM Newsletter. It offers a summary for the month and a selection of the most popular posts written by Barry Welford (online name BWelford) during the past month.

Launch of the Marketing Right Now e-book

August was a somewhat quiet month in Internet Marketing but late in the month, SMM launched the Marketing Right Now e-book. It provides the critical advice that entrepreneurs and SOHO workers need to successfully grow their businesses in this Internet age.

Top Twelve Posts

We hope you will find this round-up of a dozen of the most popular posts instructive and in some cases thought-provoking. You can receive an e-mail version of this if you prefer. In that case, please subscribe via the field in the middle of the right sidebar.

The blogs in which the posts appeared are indicated by the following abbreviations after the date: BPW = BPWrap; SGL = StayGoLinks; SMm = Senior Money Memos; SEP = Search Engine People blog; TOBB = The Other Bloke’s Blog
Website Audits Replace Website Reviews – 08/31/2009 SGL
A website review may comment on appearance: a website audit evaluates the key parameters that contribute to achieving website objectives.
Marketing Right Now e-book – 08/27/2009 BPW
Marketing Right Now is offered as a 55 page e-book (PDF file) and expands on the series on the Cre8tive Flow blog in Fall 2008.
Is Your Retirement Plan In The Red – 08/24/2009 SMm
Jim Otar describes the grey zone that many retirement plans fall into where they may be insufficient for retirees if investments underperform.
Taming the flood – with RSS Or Twitter? – 08/21/2009 SEP
Many suggest that Twitter will replace the reading of RSS news feeds. The news feeds have many advantages for serious readers and will survive.
Wills and Probate To Safeguard Your Heirs – 08/19/2009 SMm
A will should ensure that your assets are distributed to your heirs after all debts have been paid. The probate process ensures that your wishes are followed.
Guy Kawasaki Repeats Tweets: So Do It – 08/19/2009 SGL
Although repeating tweets was originally considered bad etiquette on Twitter, it is almost essential now given the volume according to Guy Kawasaki.
Canadian Cell Phone Rates Throttle Mobile Web Innovation – 08/14/2009 SGL
Canadian cellphone rates as set by Bell, Rogers and Telus, throttle investment in the Mobile Web, one of the strongest growth technology sectors.
Internet Explorer 6 kthxbye – 08/13/2009 BPW
Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6 is seeing increasing and violent opposition calling for its death but Microsoft extends its life.
Mind Maps Organize Thinking – 08/13/2009 OBB
Mind Maps are a graphical way of organizing your thinking that is currently very popular. FreeMind is a free software that is very effective.
Google Caffeine Update – Energy Boost For The Brain – 08/11/2009 OBB
Google is updating the infrastructure of its search process, now codenamed caffeine. It should deliver faster more reliable results.
Stop Your Email Newsletter Being Junk – A Case Study – 08/08/2009 BPW
Junk determination is done by the receiving ISP and evaluates the IP reputation and the message content. AWeber provides a email publishing service that avoids problems.
Financial Abuse of Our Elders – 08/01/2009 SMm
Financial abuse to elders is increasing with the severe recession. It is often committed by family members and seniors may be reluctant to prosecute.

As always, if you need creative help or ideas for important blog posts for your own blog, why not check out the SMM Title-Plus Service. You will be amazed how little it costs.

Barry Welford

Footnote: If you are looking for more information on how to run your business more effectively, why not check out these Top Selling Business Books from Amazon. This is an affiliate link but if you do buy a book the small commission does help to underwrite a small part of the cost of providing these newsletters and blog posts.

BWelford’s Monthly Round-Up For July 2009

This is the online version of the SMM Newsletter. It offers a monthly summary and a selection of the most popular posts written by Barry Welford (online name BWelford) during the past month.

Monthly Highlights

Microsoft will swallow Yahoo! Search

The biggest news item is that finally Microsoft and Yahoo are getting together. Or as Times Online put it, this is Microsoft’s sweet Yahoo deal to take on Google.

Microsoft’s Bing search service will become Yahoo’s search engine, and gain almost 30% of the search market. It is the end of an era in Search, reducing the field to two key players: Microsoft and its arch enemy Google. Microsoft will pay Yahoo 88% of the search revenue generated from its sites in the first five years of the agreement. For Yahoo, once the leader in online search, it is the end of the road.

Top Twelve Posts

We hope you will find this round-up of a dozen of the most popular posts instructive and in some cases thought-provoking. You can receive an e-mail version of this if you prefer. In that case, please subscribe via the field in the middle of the right sidebar.

The blogs in which the posts appeared are indicated by the following abbreviations after the date: BPW = BPWrap; SGL = StayGoLinks; SMm = Senior Money Memos; SSc = SEO-Scoop, a Search Engine People blog; SEP = Search Engine People blog; TOBB = The Other Bloke’s Blog
Content May Be The SEO King But Check The Palace Architecture – 07/31/2009 BPW
SEOs debate and argue whether content or links is most important in getting high keyword rankings. Website architecture probably will give better improvements.
Google, Apple In Conflict While Microsoft, Yahoo Agree – 07/29/2009 BPW
The Microsoft Yahoo search deal may be the main headline but a conflict between Google and Apple on search results may have more serious consequences.
Getting Your Local Business On The Map In Metro Vancouver – 07/22/2009 OBB
Getting correctly located in the Google Local Business Center requires citations from a number of other directory sources. Getting corrections is not easy.
British Expats Financial Checklist – 07/20/2009 SMm
British expats should carefully review all financial factors and differences in laws and regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Wot No Google Local Search – 07/19/2009 BPW
Google Local Search is the subject of much discussion, but is not available except in Mobile Search. Otherwise they show local results where appropriate.
Check Mobile Customers Search And Find Your Website – 07/19/2009 SGL
Google Mobile Search gives very different results from Google Universal Search. A simulation allows you to check Google Mobile Search results.
The 1209 Beer by Greene King – 07/15/2009 OBB
2009 is the 800th anniversary of the founding of Cambridge University and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species.
What Have You Done For Me Today? – 07/15/2009 SEP
To keep customers loyal and enthusiastic, it is important to be offering them items they will value from time to time.
Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime Or A Minute – 07/10/2009 OBB
Gab Goldenberg thinks Seth Godin is wrong on Free and journalists’ pay but in this attention economy his messy description is exactly right.
Latest Gmail Phishing Very Tough To Spot – Watch Out – 07/04/2009 OBB
The latest Gmail phishing exploit is particularly professional and difficult to spot. Only the URL on the spoof Gmail Welcome Page reveals the trick.
Are You Mobile Web Ready? – 07/03/2009 SGL
For the Mobile Web, an appropriate website should be designed that will give a good user experience. LBOST is the SMM Mobile website for Local Business.
Five Ways To Turn Blog Comments Into Conversations – 07/01/2009 SSc
Blogs often allow comments but these rarely result in real conversations. A better format is to allow the discussion to take place in a Forum, which gives more space and structure for discussion.
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BWelford’s Monthly Round-Up For June 2009

This is the online version of the SMM Newsletter. It offers a highlights summary and a selection of the most popular posts written by Barry Welford (online name BWelford) during the past month.

Monthly Highlights

The Google Bombshell

The biggest news item this month was the bombshell that Matt Cutts delivered in an SMX conference in Seattle that rocked the SEO world. Danny Sullivan described why SEO experts were so incensed in signaling that Google Loses “Backwards Compatibility” On Paid Link Blocking & PageRank Sculpting. The key points that emerged were:

  1. Google for over one year had not revealed that it had reversed a significant search algorithm policy which it had previously recommended.
  2. Non-of the major SEO experts had spotted this feature was no longer working (and apparently had missed others according to Cutts).
  3. Clients had therefore paid for SEO effort that was without effect.

A new domain for BPWrap

andy capp

The blog BPWrap has now been transferred from a subdomain of the Cre8asite Forum’s website to its own domain, www.BPWrap.com. Using a 301 permanent redirect, visibility and ranking in Google keyword searches have been maintained without interruption. The toolbar page rank indicator is updated infrequently so does not yet show a rating for the new domain.

If you have linked to BPWrap posts, it would be appreciated if you would update the URLs. If you wish to transfer a WordPress blog to a new domain successfully, then please contact us.

A new domain for Local Business Online Smart Tips

This SMM mobile website is now to be found at www.lbost.com. The Internet world is increasingly going mobile. In some parts of the world, the mobile web is now much more active than the traditional Internet. Your traditional website is almost guaranteed to be unsatisfactory when viewed on some mobile device. If your most savvy customers might be checking you out via their iPhone or Blackberry, then you should carefully check your mobile presence. Contact us for assistance on this.

Top Twelve Posts

We hope you will find this round-up of a dozen of the most popular posts instructive and in some cases thought-provoking. You can receive an e-mail version of this if you prefer. In that case, please subscribe via the field in the middle of the right sidebar.

The blogs in which the posts appeared are indicated by the following abbreviations after the date: BPW = BPWrap; SGL = StayGoLinks; SMm = Senior Money Memos; SSc = SEO-Scoop, a Search Engine People blog; SEP = Search Engine People blog; TOBB = The Other Bloke’s Blog
SEO Clients Deserve NoFollow Discounts – 06/24/2009 SGL
Google now say PageRank Sculpting and the use of the NoFollow tag on hyperlinks is ineffective. SEO clients have paid to have such work done.
A URL Shortener For Maximum RTs (ReTweets) – 06/22/2009 OBB
StumbleUpon has introduced a new URL shortener that displays the blog post within a frame that maximizes the possibility that the post will be retweeted.
SEO Gets Simpler In 2009 – 06/19/2009 BPW
PageRank sculpting has largely been downplayed as a useful technique by Google. This still leaves important issues to address in SEO.
10 Reasons For Editing Your Published Blog Posts – 06/18/2009 SEP
Editing previously published blog posts is very effective in improving the value to readers and optimising search engine visibility.
Canada Text message rates have huge markup – 06/17/2009 SGL
Testimony before the US Senate suggests that Canadian text messaging fees are way above the cost. This has stifled the demand for these services.
Blog Comments And Google – 06/15/2009 OBB
Based on recent discussions on pagerank sculpting and the nofollow tag, the wisest course seems to be to limit the number of comments on a blog.
Google Mobile gives search by voice whatever your accent – 06/15/2009 SGL
Search by voice and transit directions comes to Google Maps with a whole host of new features. You can now search Google Maps for Android using your voice,
Retirement Planning – Pensions Galore – 06/14/2009 SMm
While UK pensioners, particularly those abroad with frozen pensions, have a hard time making ends meet, the politicians have all the pensions they could wish for.
Tweet Tips For Max ReTweets (RTs) – 06/11/2009 SGL
By carefully crafting the tweet signaling a new blog post with hashtags, the number of retweets can be significantly increased.
PageRank Calculation – Null Hypothesis – 06/09/2009 BPW
PageRank as it applies in the Google search algorithm may possibly be calculated in two phases. Phase 1 calculates PR for all URLs: Phase 2 applies filters and tags.
Avoid WordPress Duplicate Content Problems With Google – 06/03/2009 BPW
WordPress is an excellent blogging software but can produce many web pages with duplicate content. This can be avoided by using the right robots.txt file.
With A Little Help From My Friends – 06/03/2009 SSc
By establishing a good reputation in social media, it is possible to have friends assist in publicising new blog posts.

If you need creative help or ideas for important blog posts for your own blog, why not check out the new SMM Title-Plus Service. You will be amazed how little it costs.

Barry Welford

Footnote: If you are looking for more information on how to run your business more effectively, why not check out these Top Selling Business Books from Amazon. This is an affiliate link but if you do buy a book the small commission does help to underwrite a small part of the cost of providing these newsletters and blog posts.

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A URL Shortener For Maximum RTs (ReTweets)

If terms like URL shortener or RT are unclear to you, then you may be missing the next major trend in social media.  The last major trend which is still active is Twitter where, as Collective Thoughts suggested you can create your own Social Bites – (which are) Like Sound Bites But Different

We are all used to “Sound Bites” – a short few seconds of words which are normally taken out of context to create sensational headlines. Few people realise that speech writers have for years worked on developing speeches to include a couple of perfect “sound bites” for use by others. Of course while some social media is audio based we are much more likely to rely on humble text to create a “social bite”.

What Is A Social Bite? – A social bite is a short piece of text to describe an article, post or idea which is easy to understand and easy to distribute through viral networks. A social bite must still carry the post’s message and goal but in a way that quickly impacts with users. The Perfect Social Bite has two parts, the hook and the line.

The hook are the words within the message – the thing to grab attention. This is doubly important as the hook will have no context once it has left the site. For example a hook is unlikely to reference the site so must be compelling, so that someone would visit the page without knowing where they were going.  The line is simply the url, sometimes this will be the page url but more likely to conserve space a url shortening service would be used. This compounds the need for a good hook as the only other potential reference to the site will be hidden.

Done well, social bites can be very effective, so the Twitter stream now seems to have more social bites than mere status messages as in  ( … off to feed the dog. 🙂 )

If you are unaware of ReTweeting, then this is the next big buzz item in the Twitter world.

A ReTweet is based upon the word Tweet.  Tweet is slang used in Twitter that means whatever message you post up on Twitter is considered a Tweet.  Hence a ReTweet is a Tweet that is re-copied that begins with either a RT or ReTweet.

Techchrunch wrote a post on how ReTweets are viewed as a proxy for Authority in the Twitter world.  This means that the more Retweets you gain from other Twitter users based on the article you have written or have found and submitted to the Twitter world, will prove that you are an Authoritative expert in Twitter.

Your tweeting efforts therefore should be focused on creating social bites that will receive the maximum retreats.  That is where the choice of URL shortening can be important..  Lee Odden did a fine survey and review of URL shorteners and covered the following URL shorteners:

  • cli.gs
  • budurl.com
  • tinyurl.com
  • zi.ma
  • bit.ly
  • twurl.nl (aka tweetburner)
  • is.gd
  • snipurl.com (aka Snurl Snipr Sn.im)
  • poprl.com
  • ad.vu (aka adjix)
  • tr.im

He found that cli.gs was the most used and certainly it has many fine features including powerful analytics.  One of its most useful features is that it can be used in a plugin by Joe Dolson (WP to Twitter) that automatically creates a tweet when a WordPress post is published.

One URL shortener that was not included was that created by Digg.  It has received some adverse reactions since it puts the original post within an iFrame that is part of the Digg online presence.

Another one that is just now in beta might appear to be similar in ‘framing’ the original post.  However I go along with Pallab in saying that su.pr from StumbleUpon is Awesome.

Like Digg, su.pr also frames the contents of the target webpage and displays floating toolbars which is what make su.pr so awesome. The sidebar automatically highlights other popular content from your website(s) and encourages the reader to further explore. Not only that, su.pr also provides the option to retweet your message, and share the link on Facebook. Other options include the standard thumbs up and thumbs down buttons and option to stumble through the URL submitter’s favourites.

That ReTweet (RT) option is highly visible in the top right corner and should maximize the chances of getting even more RTs.  If you want to see what it looks like just check out the URL in the following social bite.

Pl. RT – “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is very customer-centric : http://su.pr/1vH8BI  #customerservice

StumbleUpon is one of the more effective social media in bringing website visitor traffic, so this URL shortener should be a most useful complement.

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