Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finally, I write a post about Twitter

I have been letting Pragmatic Mom do the heavy lifting on this blog - not because I don't care about it but because with multiple email accounts, twitter, facebook, linkedin, writing for my other blog, and working...it fell off of the radar. So, first, apologies - mostly to Pragmatic Mom who despite having her own other robust blog and same if not greater time commitments, did not fail to post here. Thanks, Pragmatic Mom!

But fear not! I still am learning new social media things - even attending seminars and (the dreaded word) webinars. I have learned a few new tricks and tools and I'll try to focus them neatly here.

Twitter- or what I like to call Twetiquette:

You do have to engage in conversation - not just broadcast your own stuff. This is a work in progress but I "get it" now and am doing better.

It is polite to follow back those who follow you unless they are not what you want to see every day - we all have the choice not to get free porn codes or anti-Semitic tweets in our timeline (yes, I was offered to follow both such accounts. Not nice).

Automated Direct Messages do not have to be replied to but you can if you want to. Better to scroll through your timeline  - I use both Twitter and Hootsuite  (the free version - I am cheap) and jump in when I see something I am interested in. Re-tweet your followers - make them nice retweets. Sure, enter a contest or two (for Pete's sake - can I not win an iPad already!?) and feel free to retweet the contests - just balance this with some nice content and contact.

If someone asks for help and you can help - do so! Like - why did my blog crash? or Error 404 - help! When it happens to you - you'll be glad you paid forward the Twitter karma.

Manners, People, Manners. Thank tweeps for the follow, the shout out (#SO), the follow friday (#FF). Hashtags are marked by # and you use them to keep track of a topic or conversation. Make your own or jump into an existing hashtagslike #Glee. Check your Mentions to thank people and retweet.

Just because you are not going to see your twitter peeps in the school pick-up line or grocery store does not mean you can burn bridges. There are many conferences and you would be surprised to see who is on Twitter and how easy it is to read what you tweet (reap what you sow).

Follow your Followers - I recently forgot to do this and surprised and probably mildly annoyed a potential client/employer. Note - this is especially important if they are rockstars and you (are not is implied) don't follow back. It is a "dis" in the Twitterverse.

Also, feel free to unfollow those ingrates (:-)) who don't follow back unless you really like Aston Kutcher's tweets or something. I follow Steve Martin and while I don't expect him to follow me back (but he can if he wants to), I like him (as in a fan of his writing and would not have tweeted him off the stage nor asked for a refund at the 92nd Street Y kind of way). Martha Stewart is following me..really, she is, I am not that delusional quite yet.

I haven't even touched on apps - Twitter is open source code (right term, yes? I don't feel like checking) and that means others can build on their platform/system - so go to oneforty.com for great apps - Just Unfollow (beats Twitter Karma cold).  There is also TwileShare - a way to share files on Twitter, Listorious , a great way to find lists of tweeps to follow. So many apps - so much to share!

 Have fun! See you in Twitterland @capabilitymom!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Someone’s Getting Paid – Why Aren’t You? (From MomBlog Magazine)

Someone’s Getting Paid – Why Aren’t You? (Includes How Much Mom Bloggers Are Earning)

On January 24, 2011, in Blog TipsSocial Media, by Rebecca Levey




And here’s what I’m going tell you from my experience and casual information gathering: expect $50-$200 for a sponsored post on your own blog, $50-$250 to write on another site, $500-$1000 per month for an ambassadorship. Now maybe these numbers look high to you, maybe they look low – you have to know your own traffic, the size and quality of the brand you’re working for, and the extent of your work. Are you also being asked to tweet, Facebook and Amplify your posts multiple times? Is this an entrée into this company that can lead to more (better paying) work down the line? What exactly are they asking of you and can you also work for a competitor and/or will the company have a say over content on your own site?


Here's the full post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Change Post Permalinks for Effective SEO (From SavvingBlogging.net)

Please note that when you change your permalinks, your old links are now invalid unless you change new post permalink one at a time.  Does that make sense? I changed my permalink in my blog to the post url permalink but then all 350+ OLD blog posts that were linked at other sites are now not working at all.  So, I changed my permalinks back to the old, not so good SEO way.  I can't figure out how to auto change new posts to post permalinks while saving old posts as old permalinks, so I had to go back to old permalinks.  It's too much work for me to change each new post permalink as well. So, when you set up your blog, this is worth doing the post title permalink from the get go.  Pragmatic Mom of CoffeeShopBloggers


by CRYSTAL COLLINS on JANUARY 10, 2011
The format of your post URLs on your site can make or break you when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  If you want those search bots to find your site, it’s imperative that you use keywords in your post permalink (URL).  This hopefully gets you closer to the front page on Google.  If you have yet to even think about what your post permalinks are, it’s time you evaluate and possibly make a quick change in just a few seconds flat.
Here’s an example of what you should NOT be using for your post URLs:
http://savvyblogging.net/?p=123  OR
http://savvyblogging.net/archives/123
This one is more effective:
http://savvyblogging.net/2011/01/post-title/
This is the most effective:
http://savvyblogging.net/post-title
If you have a WordPress blog, it is simple to change these automatic settings. Go to your “Dashboard”, click the drop down button next to “Settings,” and then click on “Permalinks.” From there you can select Month/Year and Name, or Day and Name as your choice.   But if you want the most effective URLs, select “Custom” and type this in the box: /%postname%/
For my Thrifty Mama site I use Month/Year and Post Title for my URLs,  due to the bulk amount of posts I do on a daily basis. But for Savvy Blogging, which averages about one post a day, we use just the post title for our urls.  Which do you prefer for your site?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 7 Reasons to Use Google Webmaster Tools (from Search Insider)

Top Seven Reasons Search Marketers Should Use Google Webmaster Tools by Janet Driscoll Miller , Tuesday, January 11, 2011
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Google Webmaster Tools is full of powerful features, but if you're not familiar with GWT, you might be missing out. GWT essentially provides a convenient way for search marketers to communicate their preferences to Google. Here are my top seven reasons why search marketers should be using GWT:
1.     Keywords
What does Google think your site is about? Just take one look at the keywords table in GWT, and you'll get a good idea. The keywords table shows keywords Google finds most on your website when crawling your pages and ranks them according to most prevalent to least prevalent. Make sure that your entire website is communicating the right message to Google about what the site is about.
2.     Search Queries
With all of the recent discussion about the legitimacy of the Google Keyword Tool, GWT's search queries feature has become more important than ever. GWT displays which actual search queries send organic traffic to your website, meaning you can tell not just which keywords are most searched, but also which keywords are having the best impact for you.
But GWT doesn't just show you the number of searches, but search trending data as well. Are searches for this term up or down? Also, like looking at a Google AdWords report, you can see how many clicks you've attained and what your average position on the term is. Powerful stuff.
3.     Click-Through Rate
One of the best statistics I think GWT provides alongside the search queries is click-through rate (CTR). That's right; you can see what percentage of searchers for that individual keyword clicked on your listing. as well as whether the CTR is trending up or down.
I find the CTR measurement fascinating. In some cases, even if your average position improves, your CTR may decrease or vice versa. In one case, I saw a client's CTR increase by 262% by moving up from position 9 to position 6. As an SEO, that's the type of statistic that helps you prove just how much of an impact that a few positions can make.
4.     Inbound Links
Similar to Bing Webmaster Tools, GWT provides a list of inbound links that Google identifies as well as the top content receiving those links. As an SEO, that's incredibly helpful when doing link analysis and determining strategy to spread links across particular content.
5.     Sitelinks
While you can't tell Google which sitelinks to add, from time to time you may need to tell Google to remove an inappropriate sitelink. For instance, I saw one site that had sitelinks for the forward and backward arrows on a page. Whoops! Probably not the representation you want in sitelinks. So you can easily tell Google to block those links from being listed.
6.     HTML Suggestions
GWT's HTML suggestions is a fast and easy way to identify issues with title tags, meta descriptions and site indexability. GWT tells you if you have duplicate title tags or meta descriptions and identifies which pages they're on so that you can update them with unique information. And if your site has an indexing problem, you can also check here to see what Google is having trouble with.
7.     Fetch as Googlebot
Ever wish you knew more about how Googlebot views your website? The "Fetch as Googlebot" feature in GWT provides just that -- it shows you how Googlebot sees the code on your website. This is especially helpful if you have code like Javascript or Flash on your site, because GWT can show you what it DOES see and read so that you can understand better what it might NOT see and read.
Hungry for more information about Google Webmaster Tools? Next week I'll cover the top technical benefits included in GWT.

Content Marketing vs. Copywriting (from CopyBlogger)

For a traditional marketer, the answer to the above question is simple.
Content marketing is the creation of valuable content that has a marketing purpose. For example, my company creates an awesome special report, and we exchange it for your email address and your permission to educate you further about our stuff.
Copywriting is designed to get the reader to take a specific action. Sometimes that’s making a purchase, but it can also be confirming an email opt-in, calling for more information, or going into a store to check out the merchandise.
Content marketing is blogs, white papers, and viral video.
Copywriting is sales pages, infomercials, and direct mail.
Two different critters, right?
Well, not if you’re doing it right.

Content without copywriting is a waste of good content

There are some blogs out there with seriously good content, and few readers. (Maybe yours is one of them.)
If you’re writing great stuff that people would love to read, but you’re not finding the traffic you want, the problem probably lies in ineffective copywriting.
  • Your headlines are boring and they don’t give people any reason to click through.
  • Or your headlines might be too cute and clever, showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefit. Either way, if you’re not putting much thought into your content headlines today, hop over to the Copyblogger tutorials on writing great headlines and fix that before you try anything else.
  • You haven’t explicitly thought about how your content benefits readers. Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers, or they won’t come back. Here’s an article that talks about how to do that.
  • Your content isn’t building any rapport or trust. You can always get social media attention by being a brat, a pest, or a train wreck, but attention doesn’t translate into subscribers or customers.
  • You haven’t leveraged any social proof to show readers that your blog is a cool place to hang out. This is tricky when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you.
  • You don’t have a clear, specific call to action that lets people know what you want them to do next. (That might be to subscribe to your blog, sign up for your email newsletter, or share your content on social sites like twitter and Facebook.)
Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. (And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in a podcast or video … if you’re doing it well).
The thoughtful use of copywriting techniques on your blog will get readers to subscribe to your content, opt in for more from your email newsletter, and share your great stuff with other readers. That’s how you build a large, loyal audience.

Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy

So is copywriting everything? Will effective use of copywriting technique propel you automatically into the ranks of the world’s most popular blogs?
Sadly, no.
If you do a brilliant job packaging and marketing crap, all you do is efficiently get the word out about how bad your crap is. Not the result you’re looking for.
Smart marketers still need to keep these cornerstones of great content marketing in mind:
  • Generosity is sexy. When your free content is so valuable that it makes you a little uncomfortable, you know you’ve got the mix right.
  • Only ad men like advertising. If your content looks like an ad, it will be overlooked or thrown away. Make your “advertising” too valuable to throw away by wrapping it in wonderfully beneficial, readable content.
  • Content marketing makes for great SEO, but don’t make the mistake of writing for the search engines. Always write for people first, then go back and make your content search-engine friendly so new readers can find you.
  • And of course, always remember the first rule of Copyblogger.
Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting the potential customer to stick around.
That’s why the sharpest copywriting minds are trending more toward a “content net” approach. They combine strategic copywriting with great content to get the best of both worlds. Which is exactly what Copyblogger’s been teaching readers for the past five years.
How about you? How are you using content and copywriting on your site to build more traffic, and to convert that traffic into fans and customers?
Let us know in the comments.
About the Author: Sonia Simone is CMO of Copyblogger Media and founder of Remarkable Communication. Share your content and copywriting insights with her on twitter.