Archives for June 2010

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Why I think you should always include a picture in a blog post

OK, I know all the marketing speak about a picture being worth a thousand words and a picture breaking up the text to make it more readable. I’ve listened to the experts tell me which side of the blog post the picture should go, and at which paragraph break, to get the best blog response.

But that’s not what I’m talking about (and none of them seem to agree with each other anyway!)

To me, one of the main reasons you should include a picture is simple:

When people share your blog on Facebook, without a picture it just fades away

Seriously, if Facebook is a big part of your traffic, and people share your stuff on there (or you post your own stuff) then you need a picture!

Without a picture in your blog, when someone posts your link it looks drab and boring:

pic1

See? There’s my little thumbnail on the left, but if our Facebook Fan Page was full of links like this it would look a bit boring, and nothing would stand out.

Now let’s see one WITH a picture:

pic2

It stands out a lot more, and people are more likely to be drawn to it and click on it. Don’t believe me? Test it out – I have, with the same link posted on 2 different fan pages with a similar amount of fans / likes – one with and one without a picture. The picture one drew in almost double the amount of clicks.

It’s a small thing, but if it works, what do you have to lose?

Not sure where to source pictures?

Here are a couple of blog posts that may help you:

How do I find out which Twitter lists I've been added to?

The Twitter list feature is great, and finding out that you’re on a few lists is a real ego booster – findinoug out which lists is even more interesting at times! But how do you find out which lists you’ve been added to?

You can of course go to your profile and click on the ‘lists’ link as shown here:

listsThis will give you a list of all the lists you’re .. erm.. listed in 🙂 Like so:

lists 2Which is nice, and you can spend a good amount of time going through them.

But how do you find out about NEW lists you get added to, so you can check them out, thank the person adding you, and generally have an idea of what’s going on?

Simply follow @listwatcher !

list3That’s right – if you follow @listwatcher, whenever you’re added to a new Twitter list, he’ll send you a direct message to let you know. He’ll also let you know if a list you’re a member of is deleted or renamed. It’s the brainchild of @ibobrik according to the description, but that account didn’t exist when I checked 🙁

I’ve been following for a few weeks now and it really is nice to get alerts when you’re added to a list, and to be able to say thank you to the list owner and strike up a dialogue if you haven’t already.

Fab idea – I love it – if you do too, please spread the word!

Advanced tips for Twitter – you need to read this!

First off, an admission – this isn't MY post. It's from the fab Chris Brogan, and he's said that it can be reposted as long as he's given credit. Here's the original post: 50 Power Twitter Tips

Rather than just repost his thread, I've picked out my favourite of his tips from each section  – please do read his original post to get all 50!

Intent (Human Artist)

  • Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  • Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  • A lot of @replies shows a lot of humanity/engagement.
  • Promote the new/less followed more than the “names.”
  • Everyone does it their own way. You’re doing it wrong, too- to someone.

Technical

  • Leave 20 characters or more space in each tweet to improve retweeting.
  • Make hashtags small and simple. We need room to tweet.
  • If software allows you to “post updates to Twitter” as well as to the app, don’t do that. We rarely want to see them.
  • If you develop software that pushes updates to Twitter, be VERY explicit how that works.
  • Every time you use OAUTH to give apps permission to use your account, you open a potential security hole. Check your permissions monthly.

Business

  • Spamming us repeatedly is okay. We just unfollow you.
  • Finding people who need what you’re selling trumps advertising to us.
  • Your customers might not be on Twitter. Use rapleaf to find them.
  • Invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them.
  • Use Twitter as a personalized communication tool, not another blast.
  • Just make money and then the boss won’t ask about ROI any more.

Integrated Usage

  • Apps like TweetChat.com make following event chats really easy. Put in a hashtag and go.
  • Tweeting the content of events is nice, but so is occasionally making a real live connection with the speaker.
  • It’s okay to tweet your blog posts, but try asking a question that leads readers into the post.
  • Can you invite Twitter followers to your other social platforms, like LinkedIn or Facebook? Sure you can.
  • Tweets that point us to photos and/or video and/or music, etc, are always a great way to enhance the experience.

Off-Twitter

  • Are your tweets really what you want to show in your sidebar? Doesn’t that direct people away from your site?
  • Apps like VisibleTweets.com are neat, but can be very distracting at events.
  • Don’t forget to invite people from off-Twitter to follow you on Twitter. Include your actual Twitter ID (I see lots of “follow me on Twitter” with no details).
  • Asking questions on Twitter makes for very interesting commentary and opinions for blog posts.
  • If your only marketing efforts are on Twitter, start building an email marketing list. Never put your eggs in one basket.
  • Start thinking in 120 characters (remember? save 20). Every bit of this advice is tweetable.

As always, fab points from Chris – be sure to visit his original post and let others know about it!

Happy Father's Day everyone!

Hope all the Dads are having a fab day; did anyone notice Google get in on the act with their Father's Day logo?

299 Steps to Blogging Heaven – we're back on track!

OK, after our technical issues and the loss of the ebook, we're back on track!

The steps are written, backed up and backed up again. They just have to be fleshed out.

We're still looking at software options.

We've rethought the price after feedback.

299 Steps to Blogging Heaven is almost ready.

I've given myself a good lead time to allow for any technical issues, so be aware it might actually be out early!

And you can preorder now 🙂

How to promote your Facebook Fan / Like page to your Facebook contacts

You've got a fan page and you love it. Every day you lovingly add content and nurture it, but the fan / like count is stuck in single figures – how can you make it rise?

One thing that lots of you forget is to USE YOUR NETWORK! You have contacts on Facebook alrady, right? People who are intersted in what you do? So ask THEM to become fans of / like your page.

There are two ways to do this:

1) Share the page with your contacts.

This is the more passive of the two ways, and perhaps the easiest to do. On the bottom left of your page there is a button labeled 'Share'. I mean the VERY bottom left, way, way down there – scrolled all the way down? There it is 🙂 It looks like this:

facebook share button

Clicking on that button will post details of your page to your Facebook profile, with the option to add a message if you want:

post your facebook page to your profile page

So your update will appear in people's news streams and they can then choose to become a fan of your page.

The second way takes a little more time, but is usually more effective in gaining fans.

2) Top left, underneath the logo of your page, is a link that says: Suggest this page to friends:

suggest to friends

Once you click on that, a pop up box will appear with details of all of your friends in it – you can filter these by various criteria but the default view is all of your friends:

friends list

If your friends are faded out, this means you've already invited them or they are already fans of your page. Anyone else can be clicked on to be invited – you can click on as many as you like, and then press 'send invitations' and they will receive an invitation to become a fan of / like your Facebook fan page.

Don't send invitations too often, and don't invite the same people all the time (once they 'ignore' your invitation, it appears that the Facebook system lets them be invited again so it's worth keeping a note of who you invited if possible).

Hopefully this post will help you to gain more fans for your page – and remember, you can do the same for any page you're a fan of / have liked, so if you find a fab Fan / Business page you just want to tell everyone about (cough…) then you can invite people to follow it in the same ways mentioned above.

Have fun!

Do I need a keyword rich domain to do well in Google?

I get asked this question a lot. “If I want to be on the front page of Google for ‘widgets in Barnet’ then I need to buy www.widgetsinbarnet.com , don’t I?”

Now, there’s a lot of disagreement on the truths and lies about domain weighting – does Google give a higher position to someone with the right domain name? Will you be penalised if you don’t have keywords in your domain name?

All I can tell you is that in my experience:

1) If 2 sites are exactly the same in every way looks wise, same optimisation, same links in etc, and one of them has a keyword rich domain name, then yes, the chances are that Google will prefer them over the site with no keyword rich domain name.

2) If 2 sites looked exactly the same, but only one was optimised, and the other one had the keyword rich domain, 9 times out of 10 in my experience, the properly optimised site would get higher listings.

3) Having a keyword rich domain is only one part of the SEO ‘jigsaw’ – if you don’t have one, don’t worry about it – work on the optimisation of the site that is on the domain name that you DO have, and capitalise on the fact that your domain has been around a while.

I'd love to hear your thoughts below!

Are you focusing on the correct keyphrases?

So you’ve done the optimisation and you’re sure you’ve done the right things to your website to ensure that the search engines know exactly which keyphrases you’re targeting, right?

This little gadget will tell you if you’ve got it right by generating a ‘cloud’ based upon the phrases and words it thinks you are targeting. The larger the text, the more you are targeting that word or phrase.

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-cloud/

Here's my front page cloud:

cloud

If you've got big bold phrases in your cloud that are nothing to do with your site or the phrases you're targeting, then you really need to rethink your copy! Drop me a line if you have any questions, I may be able to help!

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