December 19, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

More Blog Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks

Hello from the Search Engine Strategies conference in NYC. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on search engine optimizing blogs and RSS feeds. If you recall a post of mine from last month, I went into some detail on some tweaks I had made to this blog to make it more search engine optimal. I thought I’d continue where I had left off, with some more handy-dandy blog SEO tips:

  • Use Heading tags
    Heading tags (H1 through to H6) are given more weight by search engines than regular body copy. So use them to reinforce the page’s overall keyword theme. Don’t make the date an H1 tag, instead make the current category name or tag name on your category page/tag page an H1 tag. Make the titles of your blog posts H2 tags. More on this here.
  • Add emphasis within your posts
    Use bold tags, strong tags, etc. within the copy to help identify to search engines which words/phrases should be given more weight.
  • Make use of “sticky” posts
    A “sticky” post is one that always appears at the top regardless of the date/time posted. The “sticky” feature is available in some blog systems by default (e.g. Blogger.com) and in others through the use of a plugin (e.g. the Adhesive plugin for WordPress). Sticky posts make it easy to make your targeted keywords more prominent on a category page or tag page, because it will ensure the keyword-rich copy you write in a sticky post stays at the top of the page. More on how to do this here, and an example of it in use here.
  • Link to and profile your contributors (for group blogs)
    If your contributing bloggers have their own independent websites, they’ll appreciate you passing them some link popularity. To do so most effectively, don’t link to them site-wide but instead from your home page and from within each post that they author. Also create an author profile page for each of them, with a link to that author’s site, a biographical statement (taken from the “About Yourself” field in their profile), and the posts that they’ve authored. This is my profile page for example. Let them define the anchor text of the link to their site, The way I did it for this blog, which runs on WordPress, was to get each author to specify the anchor text they wanted in the Nickname field on their User information and I used that instead of their name at the top of each post.
  • Do keyword research
    Whenever you craft a title, a tag, a post’s body copy, a post slug, or a category, you should be considering whether the words you are using are what your target audience are searching for. Here are some free tools: Overture’s, Google’s; and paid tools: Wordtracker’s, Trellian’s.

If you want proof this stuff really works, and that it’s not hard to do, my 14-year-old daughter in 2 days created her first site, a blog, using WordPress, about Neopets. She wisely named it the The Ultimate Neopet Cheats Site, after doing the research (okay, I helped her) to find that “neopet cheats” was a pretty popular term (albeit not as popular as “neopets cheats”) and not very competitive. Lo and behold, just 2 weeks after launching the site, it’s already on page 2 in Google and Yahoo for “neopet cheats” and climbing! And that was just with one link from my blog.

UPDATE: You can now download my Powerpoint slides from Search Engine Strategies on optimizing your blog and RSS feeds. Also, by the way, my daughter’s blog is now on page 1 in Google for her targeted term. :-)

UPDATE 2: My daughter has now moved her Neopets Cheats site off of WordPress.com because of their policy of not allowing the posting of AdSense ads.

UPDATE 3: My daughter now has a Swicki on her blog which brings in additional AdSense revenue.

Blogs Are Dead! Long Live Blogs!

If you’ve been in this industry as long as I have (and what’s that? five minutes?) you’re probably dead tired of mainstream media articles that either promote blogging as the next coming or dismissing it as so five minutes ago.

Jason Fry of the Wall Street Journal has an article today called “Blog Epitaphs? Get Me Rewrite!” (Read it quickly; this link will expire faster than a Mission Impossible recording.)

One of my favorite lines:

My bet: Within a couple of years blogging will be a term thrown around loosely — and sometimes inaccurately — to describe a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish that writing.

Although I’ve been saying for a while that blogs will probably become invisible in the future, I prefer Fry’s prediction that it will be a “style and rhythm of writing;” it makes it sound like jazz: full of improvisation and promise.

Google Page Creator

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/25/06

Recently there’s been some buzz about Google’s most recent service offering: Google Page Creator. Here’s the lowdown:

Google Page Creator is an easy to use WYSIWYG web page editor. It offers 100 mb of space and requires a Google account. An example url: googleaccountname.googlepages.com/home. Unfortunately, this URL syntax makes it easy to extract Gmail account names since the subdomain in the Google Page Creator sites are Gmail accounts. More on that at Google Blogscoped.

Google Page Creator is focused on making it easy to create static web pages, similar in concept to Geocities and Tripod.

As with Google Analytics, Google Pages launched and is now not taking on any more accounts due to an overwhelming response. Although, a press release on Google’s site says:

“We decided in advance to limit the number of page sign-ups in order to provide users with an optimal publishing experience. Due to extraordinary demand, we recently reached that limit so we have temporarily paused additional sign-ups. We expect to offer sign-ups again very soon.”

Here’s what others have to say about Google Page Creator:

  • WebmasterWorld discusses the ease of use as well as accessibility issues similar to Gmail.
  • David Utter at WebProNews points out how Google Page Creator takes the wind out of Microsoft Office Live Beta and the interesting message you get if you use another browser besides MSIE or Firefox.
  • Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal comments on how Google Page Creator fits in with Google’s plan to acquire and host user content.
  • Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch offers comments from Google Page Creator Product Manager, Justin Rosenstein who says the service was the result of frustration he experienced when friends or family members wanted to create web sites but were stymied by technical challenges. The new Google offering is another in a long line of 20% projects developed by Google engineers.
  • Nik Cubrilovic at TechCrunch adds his commmentary and compares to other web page creation and CMS systems.
  • Matt Cutts, from Google, offers a great array of screen shots.

Hopefully Google is not starting a trend in underestimating demand and therefore resources/infrastructure for new products and services.

Guiness Blog Is Bad for You (i.e., Them)

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 02/24/06

If there’s one vital rule for business blogging, it’s don’t do something so dumb — so alien to the true spirit of blogging — that it’s just going to get you pilloried in the blogosphere. Of course, making fun of bad corporate blogging is so much like shooting fish in a barrel I rarely bother anymore, but I can’t resist with the new GuinessBlog.

Allow me to digress for a moment. At my workplace, a group of us have started a photo club. We meet once a week and discuss techniques and critique each others’ work. A few club members are real experts, including one guy I’ll call Vince (since that’s his name). Vince is a great photographer and a font of knowledge on the subject. He also is not inclined to sugar coat his feedback. He’s become famous for offering the following advice when someone asks how they could have made a picture better: “Don’t take that picture.” What he means is, the photographer took the landscape shot at midday, when the light was invariably going to be unflattering (much better to take all outdoor shots in early morning or late afternoon light, I’ve learned), or the photographer’s lens just wasn’t appropriate for the effect they were going for, or there was no good way to get an angle that wouldn’t include the light pole blocking the cathedral or whatever. The point is, sometimes when you are striving for quality, you just have to recognize that you can’t achieve what you want due to circumstances beyond your control.

So, back to Guiness’s crappy blog. Actually, Hugh, where I first learned of the blog, assures us it’s a good blog. Maybe so, but I’ll never know. That’s because Hugh lives in London and I live in NYC, and due to some legal mumbojumbo, Guiness has decided to put a screener page that blocks users from geographies outside of Great Britain. WTF?? Sure, I could go back to the form and fill it out again and lie about where I’m located (though I suspect it would remember me from my cookies, as I checked yes to “remember me”; and of course I’m clever enough to know how to delete that cookie selectively), but I really can’t be bothered. Like I care that much about Guiness’s blog. (A large number of commenters on Hugh’s post agree with me.)

Oh, I’m sure it has something valid to do with liquor export regulations that has their lawyers’ panties all in a twist, and possibly for some good reason. But in that case, I’d counsel, “don’t take that picture.” If you can’t do a blog right, better not to blog at all. Otherwise you risk a bunch of nasty blog posts calling you a clueless git, like this one.

Must Be Tough To Be An “A*List” Blogger

Posted by: of Diva Marketing Blog on 02/23/06

Call this post “an observation” about comments & trackbacks. – Guy Kawaski recently posted about The Art of Creating A Community. A lot of people must have thought it was interesting. There were 36 comments and trackbacks.

Not a surprise, in true social networking / blog style, the post also received buzz that wasn’t in comments or trackbacks. One of the bloggers who picked up on the topic was “A*List” blogger Robert Scoble. Robert added his take on the topic and posted on his blog. A lot of people must have thought it was interesting. There were 31 comments and trackbacks.

Comments on the Bona Tempura Volvant blog and the Scobleizer blog took slightly different directions. Feedback on Guy’s blog focused exclusively on the topic. However, many of the Scobleizer comments took point with Robert as an “A*List” blogger – moving the conversation off topic. Guess that’s one of the perils of being an “A*List” blogger.

RSS – Changing the Plumbing of the Web

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 02/23/06

Dave Winer, the founding father of RSS, has a lucid essay on putting valuation on the current state of RSS investment in the world. Given the VC investment, the number of companies doing RSS and podcasting that have invested in RSS, and even the companies like Pheedo and FeedBurner that have hired and entire staff devoted to RSS, there’s a pretty substantial chunk of capital that’s decked against this technology.

I analogize it to CRM (Customer Relationship Management). I’m not sure who is the ‘arguable’ father of CRM – perhaps Tom Siebel plays a role. CRM is essentially the ‘plumbing’ of customer data & customer interactions inside most major companies. As of 2003, the CRM market was around $8.8 billion. It’s only grown from there. But if only 19% of user licenses of software like SAP are deployed, then I guess they’ve got issues greater then market size to contend with.
Back to RSS. The investment, however large, is real, and it’s alive. RSS is not a technology that sits on the shelf. RSS, once implemented, lives, breaths and connects content to customers, just by the nature of its very being.
In some ways, RSS is changing the ‘plumbing’ of the Internet and its effects are profound. The RSS investment trend illustrates just how powerful blogging and social media are in this web 2.0 world. Something CRM didn’t have in it’s favor.

To that end, Dave puts it this way.

Here’s one way to visualize it. Let’s assume the average home price in the U.S. is $400K. So $8.2 billion is about 21,000 houses. Now imagine you wanted to change the way the plumbing worked in all of those homes. You get the idea. There’s no way 4 or 5 random people on a Yahoo mail list, people of ordinary means, can move that much capital without having a pretty compelling argument and making it an incredibly compelling way.

Dave has a great point there. However, his next point is even more important.

Viewed another way, given that Scripting News, for years, was the central if not primary means of distributing information about RSS, it gives you a sense of how powerful blogging is. It can’t move that much capital overnight, but given enough time, and persistence, and a high-quality idea, you can create quite an economic effect.

That’s the mantra on RSS. Focus on the vision, persist in “changing out the plumbing”, and pushing for the constant incremental economic effects for and from RSS advancement.

Shamelessly cross-posted at the Pheedo blog.

Technorati Adds Blog Favorites

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/22/06

When visiting Technorati.com this morning I noticed Dave Sifry’s mug on the lower right corner promoting a new feature called Technorati Favorites. From the Sifry’s Alerts blog:

“The blogosphere doubles every five months. As I’m writing this, Technorati is tracking 28.4 million blogs. That’s a whole lot of voices. Here at Technorati, we want to make the world of weblogs accessible, searchable, and fun for everyone to explore. Today we’re taking another step in that direction with a brand new feature: Technorati Favorites.”

You can add blogs manually, through the blog finder, through buttons you can place on your own blog, a bookmarklet or whenever you see the star icon on Technorati.com. There’s a search function just for your favorite blogs (sort of like Rollyo) and you can share your your favorites publicly with a static url.

Each Technorati account can add up to 50 of their favorite blogs. You can start now by adding Business Blog Consulting as one of your favorites by clicking this image:

Add to Technorati Favorites

Transparency? Bob Lutz mentions GM’s “financial state” on FastLane blog

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 02/21/06

If you haven’t checked in lately with GM’s top blogger Bob Lutz (he’s GM’s global vice president for product development), head on over to FastLane right now. His most recent entry – Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before – is a cogent rant on GM’s “image” problem. He comes about as close as he can to acknowledging the elephant in the room (GM’s financial woes). He writes:

This issue, this question of how do we increase awareness, improve our image, and enhance public opinion of our cars and trucks, is weighing on everyone’s mind in this company, from the plant floors to the boardroom. We are all weary of hearing that “GM doesn’t have any vehicles that people want� or that GM “doesn’t excite anyone� or doesn’t have any products that are “relevant.�

And then further on, after citing a bunch of recent awards for GM cars (the Solstice, the Corvette, the Hummer):

And yet, the coverage of our financial state [I bolded this] continues to point out our alleged lack of cars and trucks that people want. All the while more than a quarter of the vehicles sold in America are ours.

And finally:

We need to step up our non-traditional communications and word of mouth, and get our message directly to the people on a grass roots level. This blog is one example — but we need more avenues, and bigger ideas. What do you think?

I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty transparent to me for a Fortune 500 blog. Translation: we’ve got a problem. Can you help? So far, 178 readers have left comments on this entry. Fascinating to read: lots of specifics, on warranties, 1-day take-home test drives, tips on how to deal with MSM’s approach to the GM death spiral story, etc.

Is BlogBurst a solution for new journalists?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 02/20/06

The question this weekend wasn’t if the Americans would win in hockey (the women just earned the bronze), but how BlogBurst (just in beta from Pluck) would compensate bloggers who sign up for their program to re-publish blog posts in MSM newspapers. A comment left on Techcrunch indicates that there will be a revenue share once BlogBurst leaves beta, so that is good news (sorta).

The larger question is, then, what will this mean for the MSM? Can newspapers re-build or reinvigorate their online readership with blog content? Blogs are certainly getting a lot of attention, and blogs, IMHO, are building and enhancing the ideas sparked in the MSM, seems to me that it would be a nice compliment to have blog posts related to a topic supplement online content.

It will remain to be seen, though, what the revenue model will be and how it pans out for bloggers.

More on my blog here

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The Business Blogger of the Future?

A report conducted by the recruitment firm OfficeTeam, the Office of the Future: 2020, looks ahead to the future of office work and the kinds of jobs that will be invented in the coming years, which they purport will include such things as Virtual Meetings Organizer, Human Resource Coordinator, and Information Integrator/Abstractor.

It was the Information Integrator/Abstractor role that intrigued me the most. According to the report, the job will include the collecting, compiling, and indexing of text, data and images in order that this content can be searched in a variety of ways.

It occurred to me that the business blogger of today is the predecessor to the information integrator/abstractor of the future. After all, what does a business blogger do but the following:

  • identify a wide variety of trusted sources of novel and important news and commentary
  • take in an overwhelming amount of information from these sources
  • ruminate on this information, analyzing and making a judgment call on its value and relevance to his/her constituents
  • cull, aggregate, categorize, prioritize, and comment on the information collected, in an effort to make it more relevant, timely, useful, and actionable
  • republish it in a format that can be easily disseminated and further analyzed / commented on by others of his/her kind in disparate parts of the world

This could be the job description for a Corporate Blogger in 2006 as much as it could be one for an Information Integrator/Abstractor in 2020!

More on the new Google China Blog and what it means in relation to Google’s cooperating with the Chinese government to censor search results

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 02/18/06

I’m quoted in today’s San Jose Mercury News in an article about the new Google China blog: “Google launches China blog a day before China hearing.” The reporter, Elise Ackerman, has just been assigned full-time to “Google” as a beat which she was really excited about. She phoned me late yesterday for an interview. Could hear her madly typing as we spoke, as she was on deadline. The story got a “weird edit” at the last minute, Elise said in an email this morning.

As in a, um, run-on sentence:

“Debbie Weil, author of the forthcoming “The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right,” said the idea [of the blog] was sound, but did not bring up the questions Google faced about its dealings with China overshadowed what would otherwise be a chirpy corporate branding effort.

[Update: the run-on has been fixed.]

The point of the article is the rather odd timing of the launch of Google’s chirpy China blog one day before the contentious hearings in the House this week.

BTW, I agreed with Joe Nocera’s provocative column in yesterday’s New York Times about the hearings: Enough Shame to Go Around on China. His point…

Continue reading

The end of business blogging? I think not.

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 02/17/06

As Slate morns the end of the business blog, the same day Business Blog Consulting is ranked as one of the top 25 most influential business blogs, the rest of us are just shaking our heads and repeating … it’s the technology stupid. Blogs aren’t and won’t ever be a magic bullet to save bad marketing, blogs and blogging are communications vehicles. Easy ones. Powerful ones. And ones that are here to stay, at least in some form.

So … fellow BBCers … let’s all chime in on this one. Steve, I gotcha here. Here are my two cents. And let the conversation, begin.

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PR Secret Weapon: Free Stuff

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 02/17/06

I did PR for a while, and I was a journalist for quite a while, and one formula I’ve always been a fan of is “free stuff.” I especially endorse the idea for bloggers, particularly when you’re transparent that there are no explict expectations. As far as marketing dollars go, it’s a pretty cheap strategy. Hit or miss, but so is most of marketing. In that spirit, here’s a plug for an honest pitch (and note, I’m aware that they’re getting exposure from my even posting this without my even trying to get the free stuff, but that just proves my point that this is a good PR strategy):

Rick,

It’s probably Hugh MacLeod’s fault for giving away free wine to bloggers and now free dinners (not to mention John Scott’s latest attempt to grow traffic with talk of a $10,000 prize to a reader of his blog), but today Hillstead Publishing announced they’re giving 250 copies free to bloggers, of a book called “Living the Artist’s life”.

Unlike other book giveaways, there are no requirements to review, blog, or link. Time will tell if the ‘coversation’ gets bigger.

source: http://pauldorrell.com/blog/2006/02/free-books-for-bloggers.html

Disclosure: I am the webmaster of the book’s website

Thanks,

Liam Daly
www.TalkingSquares.com

Besides, I’m all for blaming things on Hugh.

There is a career in blogging and we’re all living proof

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 02/17/06

I was talking with my girlfriend last night about this and Dana’s post about the most influential business bloggers (and a quick IM chat) really drove this point home … a lot of us have started great careers (sometimes even new ones) through blogging.

Think about Steve Rubel … he started a CooperKatz, started blogging and is now one of the most respected PR and business bloggers out there … not to mention now a senior VP at Edelman.

How about Dana … from his blogging and consulting … Pheedo

Rick Bruner … DoubleClick.

Me? From a consultant trying blogging for a kick to CBO at Qumana and partner in One By One Media

The lesson here is that blogging isn’t a magic bullet, but it does let you highlight your skills and talents to the world. Just by writing about what your are passionate about. Not bad. Not easy either, btw. It does take a lot of work, a lot of reading, and dedication. The rewards? Well the rewards are worth it. I enjoy writing but I enjoy even more the feeling that I’ve embarked on a whole new career path, just by doing something I love to do. And a new career that I am excited about and looking forward to for years to come.

So … fellow BBCers … what’s your story?

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Who are the most influential authorities on “Business Blogging”?

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 02/17/06

Interesting report from the Onalytica blog, measuring who the top 25 most influential business bloggers are, with full disclosure on their methodology for defining ‘influential.

Not sure I agree with their results, purely because they have a mix of blog networks (Corante), multi-author blogs (Businessblogconsulting) and famous single bloggers like Steve Rubel @ Micropersuasion.

Download the PDF of the report here.

The Results

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Darren’s advice for new bloggers …

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 02/17/06

Blogging for BeginnersHave you been reading Darren’s Blogging for Beginners series? No? Well you should. All of us should. It’s a great check-in for old hands and newbies. Today’s installment is on writing good content and another must-read on the blogosphere (maybe I should bone up on this since content is my topic for the Blogonomics Business Blogging Cruise … and BTW there is less than a month left to get discounted pricing). Darren’s series is something that you should certainly start with when you’re considering a business blog … or encouraging clients to blog.

Speaking of which …. if you are starting blog … this is another important article to read: 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You?. Let’s face it, while all of us here contributing to BBC are sold on blogging and lots of us are making careers of it, it isn’t for everyone. Starting with Darren’s post … ask yourself these questions … and you’ll be in a good position to know if a blog is right for you.

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Business Blogging Links 02-16-06

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/16/06

Blogs to Riches – New York Magazine

Technorati adds authority weighting - Scoble
What is authority? – Rubel

State of the Blogosphere Part 2: Beyond Search – Sifry

How to Almost Live on Blogging – Wired

Corporate Brand Blog: Liberator or Oppressor? – Chief Marketer

Should you count “number of comments” as part of your blogging currency?

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 02/16/06

Yes and no. Many blog entries just don’t elicit a response, even if it’s a popular or well-read blog. But sometimes a blog entry hits a nerve and it’s like uncorking a geyser.

That’s what’s happening today over on Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion blog where he’s announced that he’s moving to Edelman as a Senior VP. 42 comments and counting (“hey, congrats!” and “you da man!”) as of 2:48 PM Eastern. Hey, Steve, what’s the most comments you’ve ever gotten on one of your blog posts? We’d love to hear.

Micro Persuasion is #72 on Technorati’s Top 100 blog list.

Steve Rubel Jumps to Edelman

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/16/06

Steve Rubel has made the big leap from CooperKatz to public relations giant Edelman:

“After five years at CooperKatz, I felt it was time for me to take the next step in my evolution. So I am excited to announce that I will be joining Rick Murray’s team at Edelman (the world’s largest independent PR firm) on February 27 as a Senior Vice President. I will be working out of their New York office.”

He humbly says he’ll be doing pretty much the same thing, just a bigger organization. One big question is, what happens to Micropersuasion? Apparently CooperKatz will rename their blog practice to Cogence and Edelman will not use the Micropersuasion name in any of their service offerings. Steve will be able to continue using the micropersuasion.com domain name. Further details can be found on the Micropersuasion blog.

Congratulations Steve!

Blogging for Market Research?

Paul Gillin of “BtoB Magazine” is earnestly seeking non-tech company bloggers who are using weblogs for market research, specifically to collect research about customers and markets for an upcoming column. I know that there are companies whose blogs serve as market research – indeed, don’t just about all of these weblogs end up being customer research tools anyway, from which pages are most popular to the specific comments left?

Anyway, no pundits! He’s just looking for concrete, specific examples. Can you help him out? Please see:

    Are you using blogs for market research?

Surely a couple of you will step forward and help?

 

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