August 1, 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.

Blogging in Beijing

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 10/20/07

Beijing Ad:tech

Okay, I’m not actually blogging this from Beijing. I’m blogging it from Hong Kong, as I left Beijing a couple of days ago (my favorite city in Asia, BTW, of the four I’ve visited in recent years: BJ, HK, Shanghai and Tokyo).

I’m out here to attend Ad:tech in Beijing, which wrapped up last Wednesday, and I’m off next week to DoubleClick Japan’s client conference, Insight. Mostly, I’m in the region to present about trends in US online advertising as well as to learn about the same on this side of the globe (12 hour time difference from NY; jet lag is a bitch!). But while here, I attended a session on using social networks and blogs for marketing purposes, which included two of this very blog’s contributors, Des Walsh, who moderated, and Debbie Weil, along with Jason Ge, National Sales General Manager of Sina, China’s biggest portal.

As I wasn’t really focused on blogs on this trip, most of what I learned about the phenomenon as it’s taking place in China came from this panel, but it was honestly one of the better panels at the show. Debbie’s already been blogging up a storm about her trip, and I’m sure Des will catch up shortly, too. (Deb’s made various notes, but not about the panel; she also have various video clips of it I expect she’ll upload shortly.) Meanwhile, here are some of my notes from the panel:

  • China apparently already has about as many people using the Internet as the United States does, and in probably a year or so it will have more than the US and Europe combines. Moreover, a staggering number of these are active with blogs, as writers and readers. This already includes many businesses.
  • Sina is one of the most popular hosting services for blogs. To that end, it employs legions of editors (one thing China is not short on is people), who, among other things, chose blog posts to feature prominently on the site. While many topics of blog posts, including business, are welcome, politics is not; to that end, Sina employs software algorithms to do much of the censorship that is a political reality in the country.
  • An interesting phenomenon of blogging in China is that blog readers are comment crazy. It’s not unusual from the sound of it for individual blog posts to generate thousands of comments. Sina’s Ge related an anecdote of a furniture business blogger who offered a free sofa to each reader to post a comment at intervals of 1,000 (i.e., the 1,000th comment, to 2,000th comment, etc.). He gave away 18 couches.
  • An even better Sina anecdote, some popular TV news personality who has a blog complained about the fact that Starbucks had a store inside Beijing’s historic Forbidden City (nicknamed “Forbidden Starbucks”). Sina editors linked to the post from the site’s homepage, and commenters went on to generate half a million comments! As a result, Starbucks HQ got the message and closed the store.
  • Presumably one reason posts generate so many comments is that having a voice in the world is more a novelty in China than most places. One thing came through loud and clear at Ad:tech altogether: the Chinese Internet may be lagging the US market in some respects, such as the nuances of online advertising I’m paid to care about, but in terms of social media in general, it’s on fire.
  • To wit, YouTube just launched Chines-language versions of its site in Hong Kong and Taiwan this week.
  • It would be naive, however, to think all this adds up to unbridled openness in the Chinese market. China remains a communist country, of course. In fact, Ad:tech Beijing coincided with the 17th conference of the Chinese Communist Party. That was probably the explanation for why a variety of Internet services, including YouTube, were blocked for part of the week last week.

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.

Israel Distributes ‘Word of Mouth’ Propaganda Tool to Swing Online Opinions

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/20/06

Wow. I just heard about this on the radio. I don’t want to get sucked into a political debate here (and since I moderate comments, I will delete those that are simply political rants), but apparently the Israeli government has sponsored a piece of software that Israelis have been urged to download that keeps them up to date about the online debate regarding the war with Lebonan. The software directs them online to discussion forums and Internet polls where software users can use their large numbers (thousands have downloaded it) to swing opinion on the debate.

Normally, it’s pornographers that pioneer new marketing and media strategies that mainstream advertisers and media companies come to adopt not long after (think of the VHS video tape format or pop-up ads). But I am sure it’s only a matter of time before some companies start using this politically motivated tactic in a similar capacity to emplower “word of mouth” networks to send armies of dittoheads to badger bloggers and other grassroots forums. Just imagine if they could somehow penetrate research panels like Greenfield or comScore (or, shudder to think, Nielsen Media Research). If nothing else, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more of this as part of election online marketing tactics.

Net Neutrality and Your Business Blog

A couple days back I posted “Net Neutrality and Small Business on the Web” at flyte’s blog, alerting small business owners and entrepreneurs about some legislation that might affect their online business.

I stood up for net neutrality, the idea that all information should be treated equally on the net, and that ISP’s like Verizon and AT&T shouldn’t be able to give preferential treatment to their partners and other large corporations willing to pay a premium for such a benefit. In my mind, changing the current method (which Verizon and AT&T are lobbying hard for) hurts small business.

Within hours there were five comments at my blog (which is a lot for me): four against and one for. (And I wrote that one!)

Commentors questioned why the government should be interfering with yet another aspect of our lives (point well taken) and felt the market should sort it out. Some felt we should leave well enough alone. However, it seems to me that big ISP’s are lobbying for a change to the current system.

Just a few moments ago I got an email from Andy Wibbels — a smart guy if ever there was one — asking for support of net neutrality. Andy asks us to “imagine if the eletric company made your refrigerator run slower if it wasn’t a Whirlpool brand.”

Alternatively, imagine if the passing lane on a highway could only be used by giant corporation’s trucks, and all other traffic needed to take side streets.

What if your competition was a Verizon partner and their blog came up faster in a browser at the expense of your own? GM’s FastLane Blog might benefit from this change, but probably not your blog.

Well, now you’ve heard those in favor of net neutrality. What do the rest of you think?

Google China reflects a new, healthy pragmatism at Google HQ

One of the hot topics of debate in the media this week has been whether Google should have launched its new Google China service, a search engine built atop servers located within mainland China that have content filters based on the laws and requirements of the Chinese government. While many people have criticized Google’s decision, along with other firms that also opt to meet legal requirements for doing business in the Chinese market, I actually believe that this decision marks a turning point in the growth and maturity of Google as a corporation. It’s the beginning of Google the pragmatic corporation, and it’s a trait that suggests that the company is recognizing the difference between idealism and success:

    Google gets pragmatic and enters China

There are lots of interesting parallels that I draw in this article too, including companies that opted to do business in South Africa and helped destroy apartheid, and even eBay’s meeting the requirements of the German government in terms of Nazi memorabilia sales.

It’s election time in Canada … where are the party blogs?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/7/05
Here in Canada we’re in the midst of a federal election. The Parliament was dissolved a bit ago and the campaign is starting to get going (sort of a semi-start since the Holiday Season is going to come in the middle of the campaign towards the late-January election).
After the success of blogs in the American Presidential election, one might think Canadian Federal parties would wise up to this. Think again. They are totally missing the boat.
Politics is like business in many, many ways. Blogs work for this so well. Personal opinion, passion, wit, clever writing. This yells “Blog me!”.

Rude Bloggers? Invite Them In Like the Politicians Do

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 08/1/05

It seems that the higher your profile in the blogosphere, the more prone you are to attracting nasty, raw and outright rude comments, as evidenced by Robert Scoble’s recent back-and-forth with ‘Arnold’.  The profile of this has received a number of links, but angry, rude
communication is not the way to win your case (doubly so in the blogosphere). In fact, for the most
part, people will turn away and won’t even hear what you’re saying. Not something you’re shooting for on your first foray as a corporate blogger.

I think that there’s a lesson here that political candidates have already learned about bloggers and their ability to launch nasty screeds from the launchpads of their keyboards. What they’ve found in some recent face-to-face interactions with bloggers is that they’re not so mean once they come out from behind the keyboard.  In fact, they can be downright docile, and even helpful, once you’ve got them in a room together.  A once raging blogger can become an advocate and a cheeky writer can become an inquisitive, thoughtful interpreter of your message.

As ever more companies launch their own blogs into the market, the determined digital detractors and on-screen vigilantes will grow in proportion to your popularity, as evidenced by the history of high-profile blogs.  If a customer complaint is a mere gift, as purported by some, then a raging blogger vigilante could be a virtual endowment of opportunity to engage ‘the other side’ and see what your company has been missing.

Politics and Political Blogs

Whatever your political persuasian — right, left, or center — the blogosphere is a great place for bloggers to share their political views and make plenty of friends and enemies. We try to follow the conservative, liberal, and everything in between of politics and political blogs/blogging — but only when it intersects with business blogging.

Have a read below of our latest entries on politics and political blogging…

Dutch Deputy Prime Minister’s Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 09/2/04
gerrit-zalm
Gerrit Zalm

The Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Gerrit Zalm blogs. Needless to say, it’s in Dutch.

via Nevon

Link

Arianna Huffington’s Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/15/04
arianna-huffington
Arianna Huffington

Syndicated political columnist Arianna Huffington has been blogging for some months (unfortunately, because she uses the terrible calendar metaphor for the blog’s archives, it’s not easy to tell just how long she has been at it, but it looks like less than a year).

Link

Washington Post: Blog Interrupted

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/15/04

A morality tale of why it’s a bad idea to blog about your sex life with co-workers, especially when they work for Congress and the White House.

Washington Post: Blog Interrupted

IndyStar: Savvy politicos turn to Web logs

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/15/04

More of the same about politics and blogs. Leads like this just bug me:

Forget direct mail solicitations and pleas made in person or on television. Savvy politicians trying to raise campaign money today are turning to the Internet.

No, don’t forget direct mail, TV and in-person politicking, for Pete’s sake. Why must journalists reduce everything to such simplistic binary choices. Blogs are good, but they will replace nothing. That’s just something new.

IndyStar: Savvy politicos turn to Web logs

Michael Powell’s Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/8/04
michael-powel
FCC Chairman
Michael Powell

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is now blogging (sort of) at Always-On. (Free registration required.)

Link

CNN’s Convention Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/26/04

Yes, it’s cool what this political season is doing for blogs, such as that CNN now has a blog for the conference (and, possibly even cooler, a Blog Watch page), but why is it that major media companies think they need to re-invent blog software instead of just using MT or one of the other excellent tools out there, tools that include key blog features such as permalinks?

NOTE TO CNN AND ALL OTHER MAJOR MEDIA COMPANIES TRYING TO JUMP ON THE BLOG BANDWAGON: permalinks are a good thing. In fact, they border on being an essential ingredient of a blog (unlike trackbacks, for example). Without permalinks, no one can point to anything you write, which means much less traffic for you!

(As another example of this trend, USA Today’s otherwise excellent Today in the Sky travel blog by Ben Mutzabaugh has no permalinks, and it pisses me off when I’m blogging for BizNetTravel and want to link to him.)

If you know other examples of this trend, please do tell. Shame is the best medicine in such cases, I find.

Link

WSJ: Meet the Bloggers

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/26/04
Stephen Yellin
Stephen Yellin
16, high-school student
doing his part to
fulfill blogger stereotypes
(if only he were
named ‘Rantin’)

Get it while you can, this story is set to self-destruct for non-WSJ subscribers in about a week. A who’s who roundup among the bloggers covering the Democratic Convention in Boston, the blog story of the week (if not the century).

WSJ: Meet the Bloggers

Hardblogger

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/24/04

MSNBC’s political commentary show Hardball with Chris Matthews has launched a blog to accompany the political conventions. A group blog, bloggers will include

  • Ron Reagan (son of the late president)
  • Willie Brown (former SF mayor)
  • Dee Dee Myers (former press secretary under Clinton)
  • Chris Matthews (Hardball host)
  • Joe Trippi (Howard Dean’s one-time campaign manager and web/blog guru)
  • Chris Jansing (MSNBC anchor and correspondent)
    Joe Scarborough (MSNBC host)
  • Andrea Mitchell (NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent)

It will be interesting to see whether the blog lasts beyond the conventions. My guess is it will.

Link

Report (PDF): The Power and Politics of Blogs

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/23/04

Daniel W. Drezner, assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago and Henry Farrell, assistant professor of political science and George Washington University, have posted a new academic paper on blogs:

This paper addresses this puzzle by focusing on two interrelated aspects of the “blogosphere”: the unequal distribution of readers across the array of weblogs, and the increasing interactions between blogs and mainstream media outlets…
The skewed distribution of weblog influence makes it easy for observers to extract information or analysis from blogs – but the reason they are important is that journalists and opinion leaders are readers of blog.

Link

Sifry.com: Technorati and CNN

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/23/04

In yet another example of the impact that blogs have had on the media landscape, CNN has announced a blogosphere analyst to provide perspective on the Democratic National Convention coverage. And a better analyst they couldn’t have chosen.

While much has already been made of the number of bloggers given press access to cover the convention in Boston next week, CNN has just announced (see link in headline of this entry) that it will have David Sifry, creator of the blogosphere monitoring tool Technorati, providing blow-by-blow commentary about convention coverage from across the hundreds of blogs writing about it. As part of the coverage, Sifry announced a new feature to the site, politics.technorati.com.

Meanwhile, political sarcasm blogger Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette has been tapped by MTV to provide conference coverage for that hip media outlet.

UPDATE:
Not to be outdone, Feedster has launched politics.feedster.com offering blog convention coverage as well.

Sifry.com: Technorati and CNN

MichaelMoore.com

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 07/5/04

Lefty documentary maker, director most recently of the super popular and controversial Fahrenheit 9/11, now blogs. His first entry was made, ironically enough, on July 4.

Link

Ali Mohammad Abtahi

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 04/20/04
Ali Mohammad Abtahi, Vice President of Islamic Republic of Iran
Ali Mohammad Abtahi

This is nothing short of mind-blowing: a blog by Ali Mohammad Abtahi, Vice President of Islamic Republic of Iran. In English, no less. Talk about blogs being revolutionary.

Blogs have actually become very popular in Iran, as this Wired story and this BCC story attest. But a senior politician in any country blogging is remarkable, particulary one that we, in the West anyway, think of as so restrictive as Iran. It will be interesting to watch what becomes of this remarkable site, which has been around since January, 2004.

Link

 

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