Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

blogging

blogging (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Oh Twitter. I went without you for 90 days (sort of). And now I’m back on and following all my old peeps and remembering just how hyped so many things are in your little echo chamber of a text land.

For instance, I saw a tweet with the headline from a recent Social Media Examiner piece, it read: “Research Shows Blogging A Top Focus For Marketers.” That’s great news for writers and bloggers alike. It means if you’ve been trying to make your living off of blogging, soon you might just be able to do it! Blogger for XYZ company could actually be a thing.

The crappy part about the Twitter echo chamber and a lot of online advice is people often forget to tell you how much damned work it is to get that blog up and running, get people reading it, get your company all on the same page of what’s actually going to go up and what’s going to be helpful. Big business gets it. But little mom and pop shop may very well just read the headline and think it’s time to get a blog!

And just like they got a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page, an Instagram account, a Tumblr and a YouTube channel, it too will sit empty.

The long and short of it is, all this content creation stuff… you know, the fuel you need to fill your online pipeline… it’s a shit ton of work. Remember how much it took just to get your business off the ground? Yeah. A full and robust online presence is like doing that all over again.

So while it’s nice and fluffy to think a blog is going to solve all of your problems, get more traffic through your door and more money into your cash register, it’ll be about as successful as opening your store before you’ve even shopped for your product if you don’t approach it with a long-term vision.

But if you insist on doing it anyway…

  1. Decide how often you can blog WITHOUT taking away from your IGA, no not the grocery store, your income generating activities.
  2. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish by publishing and keeping up a blog. Are you educating your customers? Sharing company updates and news? If you can’t figure this out, please for the love of all things holy, don’t start a blog. If some brainiac told you it would get you to the top of Google, don’t start a blog. If you think it’ll make you look cool and with it, don’t start a blog.
  3. Before you start publishing, make an outline of posts and topics you can create for the first 4-5 posts.
  4. If you can afford it, hire an SEO person to do some research for you on some likely keywords you can target. Give him or her bonus points if they can teach you how to research these yourself over the long-term.
  5. DON’T pay a web designer to make you a website for $5,000. Just open a free Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, etc. site, grab a template and get going. If you want a custom template, spend $80 on one. That’s all you need.

One more thing… if nobody reads your blog, it’s ok. They don’t read mine either. The first month I wrote Spirit of the Wench, I had 1 unique visitor. Yep. 1. Just keep at it. Consistency is key.

Good luck!

There’s a post over on ProBlogger today debunking the use of traditional SEO¬†practices (like putting keywords in your page titles, page descriptions, headers, etc.) in blog posts. They’d gone to town researching Google’s algorithm and the correlation between many long-standing SEO tips and tricks. The findings? Call in MIB, it’s time to erase your memory.

The advice? Focus 100% on your audience and visitors. Who’s reading your blog? What’s a great takeaway? What will they find useful? The Wendy-ized version of the three tips suggested are as follows:

  1. When it comes to blogging, ignore the SEO experts and focus solely on creating the best damned content you can offer.
  2. Make new friends. As in… linking was, is and always will be the best way you can build your audience base and search ranking. But don’t go on a spamming link building spree. Think this through and make connections and links to other blogs that make sense for you and your readers. Look at you adding more value!
  3. Don’t ignore the SEO experts when it comes to your domain name. That shit still works. Pick one keyword, then find a domain name that works for you.

Care to read more? Check out the original findings and explanations as posted on ProBlogger’s Forget Everything You Think You Know About SEO¬†by Mark Collier of DropMining.com.

The Scoop On Ownzee

Posted: April 6, 2012 in Blogging
Tags: , ,

I was checking out a new-to-me blogging platform, Ownzee. I wanted something that gave me more flexibility in terms of layout. Ownzee offers that. But, that’s about where the usefulness of the platform ends for me. The WYSIWYG editor is phenomenal, but at this point, it just won’t do what I need it to do.

The cool things about Ownzee:

  • Super easy to create any layout you want. Overlay pictures, move text boxes around, create layouts like you would in Illustrator.
  • Easy-to-use web editor. There are only a few buttons you can push. It’s pretty straight forward.
  • Multiple fonts available. Block out a quote, make a cool headline. Attractive looking pages are pretty easy.

The drawbacks of Ownzee:

  • Hosting only on their website. You can mask a domain name, but there’s no linking to specific posts if you do this.
  • No custom themes or ability to create static pages. If you’re looking for an ongoing blog, it works. But, if you’d like to create an “about us” page, contact form, etc… it’s currently lacking in this platform.
  • No integration of social networking plugins. Want your twitter feed in there? I don’t think it’s possible at this point.
  • No ability to save drafts. I’m one to blog within the window I’m in, save the draft, read in the morning and then hit publish. There’s no drafts allowed with Ownzee. Once you’re done, you’ve got to publish your post right then and there.

Check it out if you want, I’ve got a couple of posts up on a blog I was trying out. I think they’ll be ¬†moving over to a new platform relatively quickly. At least it’s only costing me $5/mo.

If you look into this ‘social media bubble’ of ours a little more closely, you’ll easily find a bit of tension around the topic of bloggers and journalists.¬† There are some who argue that bloggers are akin to journalists, others that the difference is in the adherence to the rules of journalism, checking one’s sources and facts before publishing versus taking a single source and smattering it with opinion.¬† My view on this issue is pretty straight forward.¬† Did you go to journalism school?¬† Do you follow the rules and ethics required to call yourself a journalist?¬† Then yes, by all means, you are a journalist.¬† Do you write what you feel and mix your opinion in on what you are reporting?¬† Then yes, by all means you are a blogger.¬† But you’re either one or the either at any given time.¬† The two identities for one person cannot exist on the same site.

Why then are newspapers confusing themselves with blogs?¬† I’m referring to the habit of commenting on specific news stories.¬† Bloggers thrive on the conversation.¬† Their traffic depends on the ability to create discussion and engage readers.¬† On any reputable blog, a commenter must identify themselves, must put their name to what they are saying and must be open to criticism.¬† But at least there is transparency and authenticity behind the discussion.

Why is it that many major newspapers allow for anonymous comments and let conversations run where they choose next to the headline unless deemed entirely inappropriate by a moderator?¬† You’re a newspaper.¬† Not a blog.¬† If you want to be a blog, go be one.¬† Or start a section meant for discussing the story, but in a forum where you are also active in the conversation, like any responsible blogger would be.¬† If you’re a newspaper, adhere to your credibility and integrity.¬† TURN YOUR COMMENTS OFF.¬† Let Grandpa Simpson start his own blog and quit trying to be something you’re not.¬† I come to your site because I want the news, not because I want to see what the latest rant is from people not willing to stand behind what they say enough to put their name on it.¬† Seriously.¬† Newspapers, you’ve had enough of a midlife crisis.¬† It’s time to grow up again and stand by the purpose you were once meant for or go for the complete transformation. Because although your stories still maintain the fact and integrity of journalism, the sludge that you allow to attach itself through anonymous comments does not.