September 22, 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.

Five More Reasons You Need to Start Blogging Today

Posted by: of BSETC on 05/10/08

Back in December of 2007, I decided that I wanted to try something new and fresh with my website. I was also getting tired of the standard websites with their uniform look and I didn’t really feel like I was getting any benefit from it. So, I did a bit of research and decided that I wanted to try a blogging platform and after a bit more research, I chose WordPress.

Before I fully converted to the blog, I was receiving approximately 900 unique visitors each month.

  • By January, one month after I converted, I was receiving 1300 unique visitors.
  • By February it had grown to 2500 unique visitors
  • In March, it had grown to 4000 unique visitors in the month.

That is four times the traffic I started with!

So, let’s look at the top five reasons why you need a blog (in my biased opinion, WordPress is the way to go so I will reference WP throughout this post but you could use any blogging platform to achieve these same benefits…):

1. Blogs are User-Friendly and Very Easy to Use

The upside to having blog software as opposed to a website is that it is very user-friendly. The blog uses a GUI, or a graphic-user interface, which means that that everything that you may need to do is laid out in simple to understand graphics. The blogging software also conforms to the standards of most other software programs. For example, the graphic icons you see in Microsoft Office programs are very similar to the graphics you’ll see inside of your blog.

The reason that this is so important is that YOU can update your OWN website and you don’t need to pay high prices in web design fees to do so! There is no messing around with HTML code, you can avoid having a dull, lifeless site that people only visit occasionally and instead, you can update it yourself and give people a reason to return again and again and again.

The other upside to this is that when you want something changed quickly, you can do so. You no longer have to wait on a web designer or a virtual assistant, you can just pop in to the dashboard and update the page you need to make changes to and click save and boom – you’re done!

Making regular posts is also easy to do. In a few, short clicks and then some keystrokes for the body of your post, you can have fresh, new content on your blog immediately. If you’re feeling particularly creative one day, you can write a series of posts and save them all to post on future dates. For me, I will write eight or nine blog entries at a time and save them to post one or two days apart. This is also useful if you are going on vacation. In February, my husband and I went to the Dominican for a vacation and before I left, I wrote blog entries to cover the week I was gone and just posted them in advance. On the days that I specified, my blog entries showed up on the blog!

2. Blogs Are Easy to Navigate

All blogs follow a fairly standard style of formatting and navigation. Although each template may look different, they all contain the same standard elements. When I visit a blog, I always know where to go to see Recent Posts. I also know that on the majority of blogs, I will be able to find a place to subscribe to the blogs feed. A feed is simply a syndication of your blog entries. That syndicated text is then sent out to your blog visitors feed readers and is sent out to the search engines, etc. This is part of the reason that blogging is so powerful in getting people to your site.

Have you ever visited a website where every menu has been different and each sidebar contained different text depending on where you were on the website? Those types of websites are confusing and they don’t lead the website visitor where they should be going. With blogging software, it remains standard and is always updating itself. When you make a change on one sidebar, it automatically updates on every other sidebar which eliminates any sort of confusion for your website visitors.

A great book I want to recommend is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think.� Even if you don’t design websites, you want to read this book. A lot of the reasons that I love blogs are outlined in his usability section. He references making websites more functional by following his principles but what is so great is that a blog already conforms to many of his standards.

3. People Can Subscribe to Your Blog and Stay Current

Now, I want to explain what RSS is first. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. What it is is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. People who are into blogging will use your RSS feed to do a few things:

  • They may subscribe to receive a daily digest of new content. Think of how powerful this is in terms of keeping you in touch with your target market. If someone receives constant, updated messages from you, you are always in their line of sight and they will see what you are up to, new products or services you are launching and how much knowledge you have on your chosen subject.
  • They may also add you to their feed reader. I have a program that I use called Feed Demon and this software program tracks all of the blogs I am interested in by capturing and updating the feed that comes from the blog. Each day I can open up this software program and have an instant summary of every blog I have subscribed to and I can review what it is people are talking about. This allows me to stay current without having a thousand bookmarks in my internet browser or trying to remember which blogs I liked to read. The same is true for your visitors. They want a quick, easy way to be reminded that you exist and that you are posting things that they want to know about.

Normal sites don’t do this for you unless you are putting out a monthly ezine that contains all of your business updates. By having the blog, you can nearly cut out the monthly ezine and just let the blog do the work for you!

4. Search Engines Love Them and They Are Content Managers

In fact, it’s so easy to build content on your blog that I have actually created info-products based on content I had blogged about over the past year. Info-products become simple to do because you aren’t creating fresh, new content each and every time. What you blog about could become an article which could turn into an e-book. Blogging gets you into the habit of writing and creating which then allows you to easily and effortlessly create info-products.

Your visitors will also love this because when they show up on your site looking for assistance in your chosen profession, they can find a whole archive of great content. Most of my blogging clients will archive their past newsletters or e-zines on their blogs so that their clients can read past issues without having to download PDFs or visit thirteen or fourteen different web pages.

Search engines love blogs for a number of reasons. Number one, they love the fact that fresh, new content is being posted all of the time. Even if you are only updating it once a week, you will still see the benefits from it. Each and every time you post something to your blog, the search engines are automatically pinged and if you have pinging software installed, which is free and simple to use, it’ll automatically ping the different services that should be pinged.

Number two, search engines love hyperlinks and trackbacks. Hyperlinks are links to other people’s websites, blog entries, audio files, etc. and track backs are special links from someone else’s blog entry that let the other person know you’ve blogged about him or her. It also posts YOUR entry on their site for other people to read. This is how blogging also becomes so viral.

5. They Become an Active Networking Source for Your Business

For me, I have met a number of brand new people through my blog. Some of these people became clients, others were just frequent readers that became friends and others asked me to collaborate with them on special projects. By having a blog, you can become a place where people visit to learn about what it is you are writing about but also so that they can meet you, get to know you and someday work with you. You can build a community and allow other people to meet through you which then allows people to talk about you and get your name out there.

If you think of standard networking, you think of people showing up to an event for about an hour, rushing through the crowds trying to get business cards and then leaving the event and never really having a true feeling of connection. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. Blogging gives your interested parties a place to come to learn about you. They can start to see how you both would benefit from knowing each other and they will be more apt to approach you over time. This is a much more effective way to network and you don’t need to worry about your business card being thrown in the trash.

Another way that it becomes a networking tool is when you reach out to other people’s blogs. Once you start blogging, you will quickly realize that the whole world is blogging and there are many great things to be read. By visiting other people’s blogs and leaving comments on their posts, you will do two things: one, you will introduce yourself in a non-threatening or non-imposing way to someone you may not have wanted to just e-mail in the past and two, by showing that you have interest in that subject on their blog, you’ll gain interested visitors who share similar interests.

Erin Blaskie is the owner of Business Services ETC, The VA Coach and VA Matchmaker.  She services internet marketers, coaches, speakers and solopreneurs with their everyday operational needs which frees up their time to focus on the big picture.  She can be found at www.erinblaskie.com.

Using Your Feed Reader to Generate More Traffic and New Business

Posted by: of BSETC on 05/7/08

Feed readers are tools that keep track of the blogs you have interest in. You may use your feed reader to keep track of competitor’s blogs or blogs that will notify you of trends or important news. Whichever blogs you choose to add, there are some great ways that you can make use of that blog traffic.

Here are some of the ways that to generate traffic to your blog.

Build a Network

When you’re reading other people’s blogs, you’ll develop a network of like-minded individuals and people who share similar interests. You can also meet people to provide your products and services to and you’ll find people who have products and services that you need.

The beauty of creating a network this way is that the more you are on other people’s blogs and commenting on their posts, the more traffic you will receive. The thing to remember is that people love to have visitors on their site and they want to know who those people are. If you’re commenting on posts they have written, you can bet that they are going to appreciate that and check out your site as well.

Do This!

Register a feed reader account at a website like Newsgator (www.newsgator.com) or Blog Lines (www.bloglines.com) and add some feeds from your favorite blogs. Now, spend about 1 to 2 hours per week reading your blog feeds and comment on posts that you feel you can provide valuable feedback on.

Create Links Back to Your Site

By commenting on other people’s blogs, you’re creating a search engine ranking fiesta and all roads lead back to you! Page rank is determined by a number of things but one of those things is how many incoming links you have to your website. The more links, the higher you rank.

One thing to keep in mind though is that a simple comment is not going to give you much back in terms of valuable traffic and notoriety. When posting comments and creating these links back to your site, you want to be sure there is some substance in your comments.

Another way to create links back to your site is to write great blog entries that people will want to post onto their blogs. In the world of blogging, people ‘copy’ content all of the time and link back to the original author. This allows you to have a viral marketing source and you won’t need to do anything to generate this traffic.

One last way to create links back to your site is to add your favorite bloggers to your “Blog Roll� and request that they add you to theirs. If you have a lot of colleagues, friends or family who also own blogs, ask them to also add you to their “Blog Rolls.� All of these incoming links will increase your traffic AND your page rank.

Do This!

Right now, go to your blog and create a “Blog Roll� if you don’t have one already. Add your favorite bloggers to this list. Next, ask your friends, family and colleagues to add you to their links list on their blogs. Make sure that whatever you do in terms of links, it is reciprocal so that both parties benefit.

There are many ways to generate traffic but those are just a couple of the ways to utilize the RSS feed reader tool that you have to stay in the line of sight of your potential customers (and ideal clients).

Erin Blaskie is the owner of Business Services ETC, The VA Coach and VA Matchmaker. She services internet marketers, coaches, speakers and solopreneurs with their everyday operational needs which frees up their time to focus on the big picture. She can be found at www.erinblaskie.com.

The Dangers of Anonymous Blogging

BusinessWeek reports on anonymous blogging gone bad in a recent article Busting a Rogue Blogger.

Yes, there’s controversy in the sexy world of patent litigation, as Troll Tracker–formerly anonymous, now outed as Rick Frenkel–a blogger who writes on patent trolling, was outed as a Cisco employee. Why is this relevant? Because Frenkel was blogging about the very issues that Cisco was in court over.

Apparently Cisco didn’t know that they employed the Troll Tracker, but Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler cited the blog as an “independent source of information” while lobbying for changes in patent laws that would be beneficial to Cisco.

Death threats, bounties on the Troll Tracker’s identity, and litigation followed.

Cisco has since established some blogging policies, but they probably won’t help them in court. Even if these policies had been in place before Frankel started blogging anonymously, they probably wouldn’t save them from litigation.

Perhaps it’s time to start to develop your own business blogging policies for employees? What policies do you currently have in place?

Do You Need a Blogging Regimen?

As a certified Business Blog Consultant–I’m still awaiting the paperwork, but I’ve been assured it’s on it’s way–I work with a number of businesses on their blog and other Web marketing strategies. Being a blog consultant is tricky; much of our work is up front.

We often design a blog, set it up on either WordPress or TypePad, strategize with the client, identify influential bloggers in their industries, and show them how to work the software.

Often, that’s where our work ends. Some of our clients blog regularly and see the expected, positive results and return on their investment. Others, unfortunately, put up one or two posts and begin the shame spiral of neglect.

Although I’ll sometimes nag a client who’s blog is whithering on the vine, there’s not much I can do–short of ghost blogging–to get their blog back in shape.

Which is why I wrote Jumpstart Your Blog: A Business Blogging Workout Regimen. The article reviews some blogging basics along with the amount of time new bloggers should spent on each activity.

I’m not sure if this is a salvo against abandoned blogs, a wake-up call to companies that have neglected their blog, or a reality check to people who are thinking about a blog but don’t realize the time and passion that needs to be committed to a successful business blog…I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

If you do have a new or lapsed blog, perhaps all you need is a workout strategy. What do you do when it’s been a while since your last blog post?

Is Blogging Recession Proof?

There are two groups of people who apparently make hay during  a recession: journalists and Web marketers.

I’m not sure if this recession is different than previous ones, or if I’m just more aware this time around, but it seems to me that every business magazine and marketer is talking up the recession.

Business magazines run cover stories like “You Can Beat the Bad Economy.” (BusinessWeek Small Biz). Marketers talk about how to sell, market or profit from a recession in ezines, blogs, teleclasses and seminars. (I should know, I’m talking to a fellow marketer about doing a teleseminar on this very subject.)

There is one truism to a recession: market more. Yes, while everyone runs for cover, this is the time for you to ramp up your sales and marketing efforts.  One of the most cost-effective ways businesses can do this is through a blog. And, as every one else scales back on marketing, it makes your life so much easier.

Even with falling advertising costs, your blog still costs less; basically a few dollars a month in hosting fees. And, with a falling economy, there’s plenty of topics to discuss. A quick search of Technorati includes such posts as:

Hmm…maybe that last one hints that even bloggers aren’t immune to the recession…especially those who are reliant on Google Adsense to make a profit.

Windows Desktop Blogging Software

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 05/17/07

Sometimes, writing blog entries via a web form just doesn’t work. That’s why I’m looking forward to Mariner Software’s new blogging client called WinJournal. The WinJournal name might be familiar since Mariner Software also created MacJournal.

Currently in beta testing mode, WinJournal offers journaling, blogging and podcasting in one application. The blogging capabilities work with all popular Windows blogging software including: MovableType, TypePad, WordPress, Live Journal, Blogger and Windows Spaces. WinJournal also allows you to publish blog entries to a web server via FTP so it can be used as a web site editor as well. WinJournal can also be used to write entries stored locally.

Other options include: wiki style links, spell check, auto save, security/encryption, WYSIWYG text editor, calendar, multiple journals, labels, full screen mode and tabs. There is also a skins manager to change the look an feel of the WinJournal software. This is a good thing since the default skin under XP isn’t so good.

Other popular desktop blogging software includes: Qumana, , , , , Rocket Post 2 and Zoundry. Thomas has a short review on desktop and web based browsers at OMB.

Dave’s take on Twitter: who the heck cares?

Okay, so I’m not a callow college-age kid anymore, I admit it. Heck, I’m not sure I was a callow youth when I was a youth, for that matter, but at this point I know I’m going to miss some of the important trends until they smack me upside the head. Even given that, though, I just don’t see why everyone’s so darn fascinated by the ceaseless stream of mundane ultratrivia produced by the fans of Twitter. A quick glimpse of their home page is all you need to see just how uninteresting the reality of people’s lives are, and yet they they are, sending one-line status updates to the world at large about their having “just cleaned the catbox”, “made a cup of tea”, “met Jax for fish dinner. Yum!” and “going to bed. l8r”.

The more I thin about it, the more I think that Twitter is actually an exhibitionists paradise at some level, but what I don’t get is why anyone would subscribe to the service and watch the information ooze along this primordial river.

Ah, but maybe I just don’t get it. So tell me, do you subscribe to Twitter? Do you post updates? Do you think anyone cares? :-)

Quick primer on responding to negative feedback

Okay, so technically, this isn’t a blogging related article, but since I received the original press release because I’m a blogger, I’ll stretch a point and hope that Rick won’t get too upset with me for posting it here on BBC. :-)

One of the great challenges I see that bloggers face, particularly business bloggers, is how to respond to negative feedback. Whether it’s private email, a comment left on your blog, or even another blogger publishing a criticism of your posting on their own blog, if you’re going to blog, you need to have a relatively thick skin. More than that, though, you also need to learn how to make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons, how to turn negative feedback into something positive.

A recent example of how to do this showed up in my mailbox when I, along with many other bloggers, received a press release from BlinnPR, agency of record for KeepYouSafe.com, with the ghoulish title

ANNA NICOLE SMITH WOULD BE SIX FEET UNDER IF SHE HAD KEEPYOUSAFE.COM

The subtitle explains it a bit better: “Online Safe Deposit Boxes Help Families Avoid Ugly Legal Hassles”. Nonetheless, the entire Anna Nicole Smith story is a sad and depressing tale of greed, the perils of media, and lost souls, certainly not one upon which to hang a PR campaign in my opinion.

Bloggers generally reacted with strongly negative feedback (see Gizmodo, Paul McNamara at NetworkWorld and Ryan Block, for example), but rather than blog about it, I just sent a quick note to Steve Blinn, principal at BlinnPR:

Oh ugh. What a terrible headline and tie-in concept. Sorry, Steven, but this is not good PR in my book.

His response is a superb example of the very best of PR writing, and demonstrates exactly how you can take a negative — a thought leader in your market sending you a blunt criticism — and turn it into an apology and explanation of the benefits of the product and why it’s not as bad as it seems:

Dave,

Perhaps I did go a bit far in our “Anna Nicole” press release. It was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek and intended to be a take-off on all the tabloid coverage this story has (and continues) to receive.

In many ways, the disarray of Smith and Brown’s estates is indicative of an American culture that avoids contemplating death and its impact on family and friends.

Sadly, many of your readers (even though they’re not celebrities) are similar to Smith and Brown – they haven’t updated their will and they haven’t prepared a burial or interment plan. And, more importantly, whatever documents they do have are not readily accessible upon their death.

Given that issue, the service that KeepYouSafe.com offers, a safe and secure Online Safe Deposit Box, is a possible solution to this issue.

If I erred by writing a provocative headline and lead, I’m guilty as charged. But, the fact remains, many of your readers, just as Brown and Smith, have not updated their wills, have not written down their precise burial and interment wishes, and don’t have those document readily available to their heirs or executors.

Steven

My question to you, BBC reader, is how well do you respond effectively, thoughtfully and professionally to criticism when you find it online in any form? I think that Steven’s response is a fine model of the best approach possible and while I still don’t like the headline, he has written a sufficiently smart response that I’m willing to reconsider the possible value of KeepYouSafe.com, to give ‘em a second chance as it were.

Note: The email shown here is reproduced with permission. Obviously, I have no other relationship with Steven or KeepYouSafe.com.

Jumpstart Traffic to Your Blog with these Web 2.0 Steps

I stumbled upon this post about 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Website [or blog] over at College Startup.

It leans heavily on Web 2.0 sites like Reddit and Digg and some upstart called Netscape. However, if you’re looking to reach a new audience this post has the links you’ll need to try out.

I took the author’s advice and posted Top-Level Domain Survey (or what to do when your .com is taken) to his number one recommendation and got about 30 hits in 30 minutes from the source. Not bad for 2 minutes of work. (Not including the hour or so I put into creating the survey and blogging about it.)

YMMV depending on your audience, post and title.

30 Tips to Increase Traffic at Your Blog

Daniel over at Daily Blog Tips–a blog that focuses on providing daily tips to bloggers to keep those creative juices flowing–has listed 30 results from his reader survey on tips to increase traffic to one’s blog.

They vary from the obvious–create valuable content and comment on related blogs–to ideas on social networking and building community on sites like del.icio.us, Digg and Squidoo.

Chances are you’ll find at least one gem in this list of proven traffic-building techniques.

Much Ado About Pork

I almost have to wonder if the National Pork Board is practicing brilliant, subversive marketing.

If you haven’t heard, the NPB is suing a blogger. (Seems like the best stories always start out that way.) Jennifer Laycock, the blogger behind The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog, has been threatened with a lawsuit for her t-shirt promoting breastfeeding that reads “The Other White Milk.”

The t-shirt was one of many available at her lactating store at CaféPress including others that read:

  • nip/suck
  • milk jugs, and my personal favorite,
  • that’s my baby’s lunch you’re staring at.

[Snicker.]

I mean, when you go after a blogger, you’re begging for attention. According to her blog, Laycock has only made $8 off the shirt. I can’t imagine that this is a thread to the NPB or their tired advertising campaign.

If there are any global conglomerates out there looking for a little publicity in-and-out of the blogosphere please contact me. I’d be happy to riff on your advertising for a little mutual profiteering.

Blogging Article for Innkeepers

To promote the fact I’ll be speaking at the next Maine Innkeeper’s Conference, the group asked me to write an article on blogging for their newsletter. (PDF, 1.3MB)

There’s also an article in there on podcasting as well.

Want a Traffic Spike? Link to Google’s Blog.

This morning I wrote a post on my blog called “Bush No Longer a Miserable Failure, Claims Google.” It was in reaction to Google’s new algorithm that defuses “Google Bombs.

At the bottom I linked to the post on Google’s blog that goes into more detail about what they did and why. (Whoops! I did it again!)

At the bottom of the post they have a section called “Links to this post” which has…wait for it…links to that post.

About a third of my traffic so far this morning is from that Google post, obviously from the blog’s readers.

Caveats:

  • A spike in traffic is not the same thing as a spike in business.
  • Don’t link to the Google blog unless you’re adding to the conversation.
  • I’m not seeing a hard coded link to my blog from this page, so you’re probably not gaining any PageRank.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this reaction from linking to Google’s blog. To make the most out of it, you probably want to get your link in their early, while there’s still a lot of people coming to that post.

Alternatively, you could link to it late, and hope few people link after you, pushing you down the list.

Like any other technique, this is easily abused. Use it only for good, my young padawan.

Is RSS Good for Your Enterprise?

Good article over at eWeek called “RSS Offers Relief from Enterprise E-Mail Overload.”

It talks about how email has fallen out of favor as a way of distributing information to large groups of people, and how certain businesses are starting to use RSS.

The article also covers some negatives of RSS, including:

  • Problems with adoption and inertia from some users
  • How RSS feeds can reduce page visits, and
  • How RSS can create bandwidth bottlenecks for popular feeds.

This definitely isn’t one of those “email is dead” articles, but instead shows how forward thinking companies are looking to RSS as a new distribution channel.

Blogs as SEO Tools

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 01/23/07

Can blogs be optimized for search marketing? Absolutely! Blogs are basically content management systems with additional functionality such as comments, trackbacks and RSS. In many ways, blogs are no different than web sites.

If a document can be optimized and that document gets indexed, categorized and ranked by any kind of search engine, it’s an opportunity for search marketing. As such, marketers should be aware of how document optimization within various channels can be used within the overall online marketing mix. Blogs are one of many platforms that benefit from optimization.

At a minimum, using blog software to manage certain kinds of content on a web site such as an online media room, to archive newsletters, post frequently asked questions and to provide product updates can make a site that is otherwise very search engine un-friendly, become a viable source of great rankings. This applies to both regular search engines as well as blog search engines. These are applications for a blog besides the common use as a platform to increase credibility and communicate a more personalized voice for a company.

Blogs are no silver bullet though and require working hard and smart – especially smart. However the payoff can be significant. To prove the point that blogs are effective tools for improving search engine visibility, I can offer that my own blog (Online Marketing Blog) receives the majority of it’s traffic from search engines.

Here are a few Google ranking examples of the top referring search phrases in the past month for Online Marketing Blog:

Even more niche phrases bring in quality search traffic such as:

which are all services our search marketing agency provides. Of course the rules can change slightly over time, but here are a set of benefits I often find myself explaining to people wondering about the search engine optimization benefits of having a blog.

  1. Structured content – Blog software with category features allows the aggregation of content according to themes. This makes it easier to algorithmically categorize content. If you can make it easier for search engines to understand your content, you have a much better chance of ranking well on those topics.
  2. Crawlable URLs – Most blog software offers uncomplicated URL structure, making it fairly easy for search engine spiders to find and crawl blog content.
  3. Internal links – Blogs that post product or service related information can deep link anchor text to product information or purchase pages deep within the web site. This is very beneficial for ranking on long tail phrases.
  4. Inbound link magnet – One of the biggest benefits, blogs link freely to each other – much more than web sites do. Blogs are also a significant source of many posts to social news and social media web sites. Text, audio and video are all easily supported for syndication by blogs. The more media available, the more likely it will attract incoming links. Additionally, there are many widgets and plugins that make it easy to share blog content, thus encouraging links and traffic.
  5. RSS – Links to RSS feed urls that use the blog domain name will assist in building link popularity and when RSS content is syndicated or cited by other blogs, any embedded links will also assist in sending traffic.
  6. Fresh content – Both readers and search engines reward fresh content with repeat visits. From a search engine perspective, that means your site can be crawled more frequently, allowing your new content to become searchable more quickly. Fresh content is also indicative of a more authoritative web site.
  7. Active community – Comments and trackback features in blog software encourage interaction. An active blog community creates the kinds of citations or signals from other sites (annotated and contextually relevant links) that search engines tend to reward in the rankings. Loyal blog readers can boost a site’s visibility through advocacy on other blogs, in forums offline at conferences as well as on their own blogs and within the comments of your blog.
  8. Non-Search traffic – I think the greatest benefit of having an active blog has little to do with improving your search engine rankings though. The best thing about blogs is that they allow you to generate substantial amounts of traffic via RSS and links that have NOTHING to do with search engines. My recommendation to marketers in 2007 is to pursue traffic alternatives to search engines as aggresively as their budgets and marketing programs will allow. The result will be incremental increases in site traffic with search engine referred traffic an added bonus, if not correspondingly enhanced.
  9. Blog & RSS Directories – With a blog and corresponding RSS feed(s), your site can now benefit from visibility within blog and RSS search engines. Web sites without feeds (your competition maybe?) are not included in these kinds of directories and search engines.

Felllow BBC’er Stephan Spencer has also written extensively about optimizing blogs and using blogs as SEO tools.

So there you go. A basic list of practical reasons a blog can be beneficial as a site optimization tool and for improved web site traffic along with practical examples. What SEO benefits have you found from having and promoted a blog?

Complaints About Google’s Blog Search

Chris Richardson at WebProNews has a good article outlining some of the complaints against Google’s Blog Search.

Seems a lot of blogs are scraping content to either redirect visitors to another page or to sell Google Ads on their own blog. Who makes money on Google Ads? Well, Google of course! What’s especially frustrating is that many if not most of the offending blogs are on Blogger, owned by, of course, Google.
By running a Google Alert on “flyte” I’m finding about one blog a day that’s scraping my content to drive traffic to their sites to sell more Google Ads. However, since not all of my posts include the word “flyte” I’m only catching a fraction. (I share a name with a college football coach, so the Google Alert on “Rich Brooks” was not helpful.)

Is it even possible for me to write a paragraph about the Web that doesn’t include the word Google or a product owned by Google? Only time will tell….

Scraped Blog Content and Google Adwords

There’s something rotten in the state of the blogosphere.

Like most neo-narcisists, I have a Google Alert going on my name, or more specifically, the name of my company. Every day, I get reports on posts I’ve done that mention “flyte,” or traffic reports involving people named “Flyte,” or updates on the Brideshead Revisited movie that may or not be made, or, more recently, seeing my work appear without my permission at other blogs.

These blogs have invariably scraped content from a post of mine, sometimes w/credit, sometimes w/o, and used the content w/o comment to sell Google Ads. Of course, anyone coming to the site will invariably click on one of those ads, because the scraped content is often incomplete and thus incoherent. For example:

Although there are several Web sites dedicated to organizing and promoting To start, I?d recommend using a hosting service that specializes in Podcasts. His podcast, flyte: Web strategies for small business, is available at

Yeah, I’d be proud of that.

Each time I find content that’s been scraped selling Adwords I report it to Google. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the link that says “Ads by Goooooogle.”
  2. Scroll down the following page and click on “Send Google your thoughts on the site or the ads you just saw.”
  3. Click on the “Also report a Violation?” link.
  4. Report to Google that this blog/site is scraping content from your blog (assuming they are.)

If it’s a Blogger blog you can also flag it for in appropriate content.

Unfortunately, I’m concerned that Google’s not concerned enough. After all, they make money every time someone clicks on one of these ads. While I like the people at Google, and I think they’re bright and they want to do the right thing, this may be a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop.

Recently, Search Engine Roundable reported that Google had a patent application named “Detecting spam documents in a phrase based information retrieval system,” so maybe they’re taking it seriously.

However, until they do take it seriously bloggers need to be watching that their own content isn’t being scraped and Adwords advertisers should probably require that their ads only appear at Google, and not on 3rd party sites.

PR Gets Heads Up About Blogs

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 01/4/07

The Daily ‘Dog, the daily newsletter from Bulldog Reporter that goes to over 40 000 PR professionals in the US has a Pulse of PR survey on the site right now that shows more than half of the respondents regard blogs and new media as the trend that will most impact PR in 2007.

Yes, it’s an informal survey, and we don’t know how many people have responded so far.  But it is an indicator.  The  number two item is ‘online media will continue to splinter into micro-granular niche outlets’.  So I htink it’s safe to say PR has got the heads up.  Online PR, new media, blogs and RSS feeds will be on their radar in the coming year.

About time, too. Marketers have seen the light – and it is a train coming the other way – the Cluetrain. Search results are affecting brand perception and conversations are in full cry online. Corporate communicators need to learn how to join the online conversation.

 

Bloglines Looking for Director

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 12/15/06

When I opened Bloglines the other day to check my feeds I saw a notice about an opening for a director position to oversee future development of the app.

As you probably know, Bloglines was acquired back in February by Ask.com. Bloglines creator Mark Fletcher assumed the director position, but left the company in June to pursue other interests.

I’ve written an op/ed on my Allbusiness.com blog, Strategic Business Blogging, so let me invite you to read that post as well.

 

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