It’s that time of year again, the #blogsofaugust Google+ challenge!
If you ever wanted to break out of your current blogging rut, try your hand at social blogging on Google+. For a month, make Google+ your primary blogging platform and see what happens. Here’s why I’m taking up the challenge:
I’m still planning a few things for WebEnso, a tools resource page and some design adjustments (check out the Google+ badge to the right!). But for this month, most of my writing will be on Google+
If you are interested in joining the fun but aren’t sure where to start read this eweek article from Mike Elgan. On page 2 he says: “Blog about three things: What you experience, what you think and what you make.” That is precisely what I intend to do.
As an SEO when I hear the words content syndication, I think “PROBLEM”. With my recent Penguin link audit reviews I see so much scraped content (see my article marketing case study) that I was less enthusiastic about checking out another way to republish content on the web, further diluting the good unique content out there that gets written. However I came away impressed with the repost.us approach and vision.
For choosing your blog titles, here’s the advice I’m sure you’ve heard:
Just got an email from Murray Newlands, who runs a monthly San Francisco Blogging meetup that I go to, announcing the World Media Awards and Event for October 26th. The purpose? To celebrate the best in blogging and media creation as well as to exchange publishing best practices. The event is for bloggers, authors, media creators and PR folks.
It’s not clear exactly where it is yet (mentions both an address in San Jose and San Francisco) but either way I’m planning on going. There will be series of workshops hosted by some of the world’s leading publishing experts.
World Media Award judges include Steve Hall, Sarah Austin, Chang Kim, Pierre Zarokian, Cheryl Contee, Krystyl Baldwin, Adrian Harris, Jeremy Wright, Rob Bloggeries, Dave Duarte, Tanya Alvarez and Dana Oshiro
Media partners include Adrants, The Affiliate Marketing Awards, Read Write Web, mediavisioninteractive.com and Bloggeries.
Tickets to attend the event go on sale today for $50 and entries to the Media Awards are $45. The first 100 bloggers to blog about the event will receive a free ticket and/or entry to the awards for posting about the event. Space is limited to 500 attendees. Contact event organizer Murray Newlands for full information or see www.themediaawards.com.
I recently went to a Blogger Meetup that featured Scott James as a speaker. Scott has successfully transitioned from an outdoor guide to a professional writer. He did it by first cultivating a discipline of blogging every morning to build a portfolio and second by building relationships with key clients that he nurtured by keeping in close touch with. These are great tips for anyone wanting to be a writer and just starting out.
I went to this meetup to explore whether becoming a professional writer was an avenue I wanted to pursue. Scott gave a great presentation that gave me a glimpse of what a writer’s life is like. A bonus was the interaction with the audience, including a lively discussion of rates and the impact of overseas outsourcing on them.
Scott opened his talk with the comment that he was surprised to discover that the actual act of writing only takes up a small percentage (20%) of his day. But it’s not like he’s slacking off when he is not writing. The other activities support the writing, so when he does write he is drawing from ideas already formed and knowledge already researched.
I have a guilty confession to make, when I first created this blog several years back, I was just interested in creating a site that got some traffic that was monetized with affiliate links. As most blog owners know, you need to have a steady stream of fresh content, so I signed up for a auto-blogging service with keywords such as internet marketing. These services then auto publish to your blog, the content usually has links placed by the author to their service or are affiliate links.
It was an eye-opener on what passes for decent writing. Fortunately I had moderated it so I had final publishing approval. Which was a smart decision, because most of it was awful. At best they were that general sort of forgettable writing that imparts no real value or knowledge. Many had obvious misspellings and were just thinly veiled attempts to get people to click on the links. I rejected many and there are not many that actually got published. After reviewing these posts for a while, I thought to myself, “I can do a better job writing than this”, and that is how my blogging career was born.
I’ve seen several “top blog directories to submit your blog to” articles, however these lists are often light on details or out of date. Here are 16 blog directories that I went to take a look at. Like regular web directories, some blog directories will only list you for a fee, and yet still more request a reciprocal link before they will list you. Some are rather sneaky about it, you don’t figure out you have to reciprocate or pay until you are a step or two into the submission process.
That being said, just like web directories, it might be worth paying for a listing in some of these blog directories, however that analysis (choosing which one to pay for) is for another day.
For some of these you should be prepared to create an account and choose a category that your blog belongs to. Some ask for a full profile. Some have validation/ownership verification processes. It WILL take more time than you expect. Many of these will have a human review the submission before publishing it. That’s ok, in fact it is good, as google looks more favorably on directories that have editorial review.
Now that I’m blogging more often, I want to improve my blog to attract more traffic. So I downloaded Problogger’s Guide “31 days to build a better blog”. Darren Rowse’s Guide gives you a task a day to improve your blog. What I had in mind was some technical changes I wanted to do (I’m really ready for a new theme), however the first task Darren’s guide put in front of me to was to write an elevator pitch for my blog. Definitely more of a challenge than changing the link color, at least to me.
We can break down an elevator pitch for a blog into a few things. You need a tag line on your blog. And you need something longer (a few sentences) that you can use in conversations, especially when people ask you to explain further your tag line.
The tag line for my blog is “Making Sense of the Web”. Although I wrote that a year or so ago, it still resonates true for me. What I do well is break down complicated technical problems and processes into bite size digestible chunks. The technical world is too vast not to specialize, so I focus on web technology as that is what my passion is. I like to follow technology trends and reflect what they might mean to the larger non techie world. I hope that my writings have helped others understand and even master technology.
Any good elevator pitch describes the audience it’s targeting. For example “Typically I work with people who have challenges with their …..”. So what is still up in the air, is audience I’m writing for. Although I often write for the entrepreneur who just wants to grow their business without technology getting in the way, I frequently get into more technical topics that is better geared for a different audience. I’m not sure I want to narrow the blog’s scope … even though I know that it would be better for it. That will stay up in the air for a while.
While the tag line has been in place for this blog for a while and I’m happy with it, the “About” page could definitely use some work. So as a result of Day 1 of the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog“, my about page is getting updated with an elevator pitch as well as a pointer to additional details about me.
I recently blogged about the new FTC Guidelines, which “address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers”. The revised guides require “disclosure of material connections between advertisers and endorsers”. While the intent of new guides appear to be more focused on bloggers who get free products and get paid to endorse a product, the language is sufficiently broad enough that it applies to bloggers that embed affiliate links, even if your review of the product is neutrally biased and not really a testimonial.
One of the more widely understood ways of getting the search engines’ attention is quality content, but then the next issue is seriously considering how you’re going to keep everyone coming back for more! For both needs, one-of-a-kind, informative, top quality articles are an absolute necessity.
This will generate debate and drive in feedback from among readers and cause quite a bit of buzz around your article. Word travels fast on the Internet and Twitter, so your article will be getting lots of exposure while creating healthy dialogue at the same time.
There are several ways to encourage reader response to an article. In the past, most writers usually supplied their email at the close of the article. However, as no one reading the article can actually see anyone else’s comments, this is a passive response. A more active approach is to place a comments section at the bottom of your article where readers can give their opinions on what they’ve just read. But sometimes, the comments left can take attention away from the actual article or get off track from the original topic.
A better way to attract valuable feedback is to link the article to an online survey. This type of reader response also helps the writer or publisher obtain measurable comments. By implementing an online survey, you can discern whether readers enjoyed the article, if they had the same viewpoint as what was said, if they disagreed entirely, or if they had any other extra information to share.
There are websites available that assist with creating the online questionnaire and in providing information on how to link the survey to the article. Useful tools which track and measure feedback are also available. Some online survey providers also offer the option of sharing real time survey results with readers and provide incentive ideas to encourage readers to participate in the questionnaire.
Linking an online survey to an article is an ideal means of communication that motivates intense discussion about a specific topic. It’s an inexpensive investment that has great benefits in enabling you to get the most measurable response from an article.
Adam Toren, Co-Founder of Young Entrepreneur, specializes in developing the profitability of struggling businesses with a specialised and ‘bottom line’ approach. Adam, along with his brother, have created, purchased and sold a variety of companies over the years. At the moment, they own and manage a highly successful publishing company and several dedicated online enterprises.