Blogging

Mike Moran

How do you post to your blog every day?

One of my colleagues calls me "committed." Others think I should be committed. But one way or the other, I post an entry to my blog every work day. How do I do it? Often, it's a labor of love, but sometimes it feels like a chore. I find something I think is worth saying every day, but I admit that it is not always easy. Today, it was easy, because I can tell you all of the things that I do to post every day. ...

Jayson DeMers

The 5 Biggest SEO Benefits of Blogging

Blogging has changed dramatically over the past decade. What was once considered a niche hobby or small point of differentiation has become a common practice in nearly every industry. It's no longer a rudimentary aspect of business, either. It's a very strategic mechanism with a wide range of benefits - enhanced SEO chief among them....

Stoney deGeyter

Go the Blogging Distance: Planning for the Long Haul

Blogging isn't a one-and-done item on your web marketing checklist. It's a long-term endeavor. In fact, until blogs go the way of web directories, once you start blogging you really cannot stop. Not if you want to maintain the value of all the time and energy you've invested thus far. There are certain components to blogging that will hold their value over time. Great, evergreen content you've published will be universally valuable. However, if you don't keep producing blog content on an active basis, even great ranked evergreen content will lose it's value and appeal, both to search engines and readers alike. To create a valuable blog you have to plan to be in it for the long term.

Jayson DeMers

Have We Seen the Last of Guest Blogging?

This is an issue that has received a great deal of attention over the last month or so. Ever since Matt Cutts' article 'The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO', marketers and webmasters have been scrambling trying to figure out whether there's still a place for guest blogging in their marketing strategies....

Jayson DeMers

Incorporating Audience Feedback into Your Content Strategy

Content strategy is currently one of the biggest buzzwords of online marketing, but many companies are still learning how to get it right. One of the most common reasons that content strategies fail is because companies neglect audience feedback. Many companies only publish commercial, salesy content that screams "buy me" without offering much value. This is an unfortunate trend - one that not only wastes marketing efforts and budgets, but results in ineffective online content and poor branding....

Jason Corrigan

How Webmasters Can Maximize Their Guest Blogging Opportunities for SEO and Digital Marketing

For webmaster's who are interested in accepting guest blog articles from willing writers, working with professional writers who understand your brand and industry is essential to maximizing your search and digital marketing efforts. Learn three great tips for how you can properly vet guest bloggers and assess their level of talent before allowing them to post content on your site....

Jayson DeMers

9 SEO Blogging Tactics to Maximize Your Online Visibility

Creating a blog for a business is part of an overall content marketing strategy that simultaneously builds credibility, increases exposure and traffic, and increases conversion rates. But for your efforts to pay off, your blog content has to reach your intended audience. Here are some proven ways to get the most out of each blog post and fully enjoy the benefits of blogging. ...

Stoney deGeyter

5 Wordpress Settings Every New Blogger Should Know About

WordPress is a fantastic blogging platform that is pretty quick and easy to install. When you download the WordPress install, it comes with a five-minute install guide, which is pretty good for even for the less technically inclined.But what happens after that? WordPress has a host of setting options and a variety of features. To the uninitiated, these can seem overwhelming to just simply confusing as to what each of these options does. This tutorial is designed to take you through the settings that matter most....

Stoney deGeyter

Blogging Platform Options: Free vs. Hosted. Which Is Right For You?

When deciding which blogging platform you're going to use, one of the first questions you're faced with is whether to host it yourself or go with a "free" version that is hosted on another social blogging site. In an earlier post I outlined five important blogging platform questions  that you can use to determine what kind of platform functionality you need. Within those, there are often a range of free (or low-cost) and self-hosted blogging platforms to choose from. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option......

Stoney deGeyter

Five Questions You Need To Ask Before Selecting a Blogging Platform

If you don't have a long-term blogging strategy today, you might have one tomorrow and find out the blogging you did yesterday wasn't on a platform compatible for the future. So think ahead and try to keep up.

Stoney deGeyter

Does Your Audience Write Your Blog? They Should.

Every good politician comes fully equipped with a speech writer to help them craft their message. We know this, but when these political figures get up and deliver the speech, we like to believe it's theirs, just as if they wrote it themselves. There is no shame in that! So why shouldn't bloggers have someone write their blog posts for them? No, I'm not talking about ghostwriters, but I am talking about audience participation in every blog post you write...

Stoney deGeyter

The Narcissist's Guide to Blogging

If you're not yet a blogger but are thinking of blogging, you're probably even more of a narcissist. Why? Because the only reason you haven't started blogging yet is because you haven't figure out what's in it for you.

Jason Corrigan

5 Reasons Brands and Businesses Earn Big with Guest Blog Posts

For businesses and brands that are serious about developing comprehensive search campaigns and are unable to actively create new forms of content due to limited resources, guest blogging is the solution....

Mike Moran

Should I republish content on my blog?

We like to tell ourselves that blogs are this breathtakingly new way of communicating with customers unlike anything we've ever seen before. And, to some extent, that's true. But if you are a veteran of electronic or even paper newsletters, I'll excuse you for not being so bowled over. You've been doing this for years and you know how it's done. One of the things you know is that coming up with fresh content takes work, and one of your secrets is re-publishing content originally published elsewhere. But should you do that on your blog?...

Nick Stamoulis

How to Totally Screw Up Your Guest Blogging Efforts

The benefits of guest blogging are long and well documented--provided you go about it in the right way. Here are four things site owners do that can screw up their guest blogging efforts....

Mike Moran

Should I hire a ghost writer for my blog?

Many people feel unsure in their writing abilities and although they want to have a blog they feel ill-equipped to actually write the blog posts. After all, ghost writers put the words together for autobiographies and lots of other published works. Why not a blog, too? It might seem like a good idea, but my advice is to avoid this practice. Instead of getting someone to pretend to be you, there are better ways to get your company's blog off the ground....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Communicate in Twitterbites For Re/Tweet-Friendly Blog Posts

Soundbites have become essential to anyone wanting to make a point. If it can't be said in nine seconds, you're SOL!

Stoney deGeyter

Making the Case For SEO in a Social Media World

In the last few years social media has jumped to the forefront of online marketing for many small businesses. Some business owners aren't even bothering to market (or in some cases even build) their websites anymore.

Stone Reuning

Building Web Content vs. Traditional Advertising - How to Explain to Your Boss or Prospective Client(s)

How can you convince skeptics of the value of building web content over traditional advertising? While the answer may seem obvious to you, many others still cling (...perhaps stubbornly) to advertising - whether it's PPC or traditional. See how you can convince your boss or prospective client of the long-term benefits web content provides....

Stone Reuning

5 Ways you Can Use Blog Comments to Obtain Organic Links

If you run a blog, you no doubt see many comments that have no use whatsoever. They're simply spammers out there fishing for links. While it may seem counter intuitive though, you can obtain strong organic links by commenting on other people's blogs. Continue reading for 5 ways you can get useful links through commenting on blogs. ...

Eric Brown

Is 2011 The Year of the Social Media Bubble

Several camps are starting to chant that 2011 may well be the year of The Social Media Bubble. I would not proclaim to predict the future by any means, but it sure seems more probable than not. While we have little experience predicting the future, we have had an up close and personal relationship with the real estate bubble. Developing real estate used to be a pretty fun and profitable endeavor, however the past couple of years of operating our boutique apartment rental business in SE Michigan has had more challenges than we ever imagined. But as with all struggles,...

Mike Moran

Why you think you have nothing to say

I am constantly talking to business people, with companies large and small, and I often give them the same advice about Internet marketing, and search marketing in particular: Tell what you know so your customers can learn from your expertise. You can put that expertise on Web pages, on a blog, in tweets, in a YouTube video, a podcast—I don't really care how you do it, but do it. Too often, the response is something like, "But I don't have anything to say." I suspect that you do have something to say, but you are just not giving yourself permission...

Miriam Ellis

Should Your Hyperlocal Blog Muckrake?

Today, someone like you can tell the truth that you know, with the click of a button. The hyperlocal blog presents a unique opportunity to highlight serious local concerns, but what place does muckraking have in this new world? Is it a good idea or not?...

Jennifer Laycock

Six Reasons Marketers Love Blogs

The last year or so has seen a mad rush of marketers heading into the world of social media to set up Twitter accounts, gather Facebook fans, produce YouTube content and drive people to offer reviews on sites like Yelp and FourSquare. Unfortunately, that mad rush has also caused a lot of companies to neglect or even abandon their blogs. This is a big mistake. In the world of marketing, blogs are an absolutely integral part of any company's online marketing.

Jennifer Laycock

Six Reasons SEOs Love Blogs

With so much social media focus on sites like Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook these days, it's easy for companies to neglect one of the single most powerful social media tools available: their blog. In fact, for companies who are looking to increase their search engine optimization efforts, a well-crafted blog can make a dramatic difference.

Manoj Jasra

Yahoo Continues to Disappoint

2 years ago I wrote a post titled: "Yahoo, Where is the Love?" which questioned whether or not Yahoo had issues with ranking Blogspot blogs strongly in its index. In 2007 we noticed that for the majority of our top ranking keywords in Google were well outside of the top 30 in Yahoo...

Stoney deGeyter

How Small Business Owners Can Build a Blog Without Blowing the Business

Many small business owners are out there thinking "Blogging? That's just one more thing to add to my already over-booked work schedule. No thanks." I feel you. But blogging is an important aspect of growing your business. The key to good blogging is understanding how to work it in, prioritize it properly, and not to feel obligated to anybody but your family and customers.

Stoney deGeyter

How a Little Blogging Can Make a Big Difference for the Small Business

Luckily the prophets of doom have been wrong more than they've been right. Now they are claiming the death of blogging. According to Wired Magazine, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook are the new "it" and blogging is on it's way out. We'll file that right next to the death of SEO!

Mike Moran

Multiply Marketing Effectiveness Despite Division of Labor

Most people are familiar with the term "division of labor," which describes the specialization that companies adopt to promote efficiency. The assembly line is one of the best examples of the efficiency gains that division of labor provides. In a tiny company, such as a one-person firm, there is no division of labor, but as soon as you start to grow, even a little bit, you start dicing up jobs in the name of efficiency. The problem, from a marketing point of view, is that efficient doesn't equal effective. Division of labor can harm your marketing effectiveness and you must...

Mike Moran

Redefining social media

I sat on a panel at SUPERCOMM's Digital Media Forum in Chicago on Friday called, "Redefining Social Media." (Eric Forst of Visible Technologies and Edward Moran of Deloitte & Touche spoke with me, ably moderated by Patty Brown of The Content Strategy Group.) The name of the panel initially threw me, because it feels like anything old enough to be redefined seems a bit passé, which social media most decidedly is not. But I think there is a point to be made about social media and how it is maturing....

Eric Brown

Focus on Your Core Community

So, You have a Company Blog, are your getting the results you expected? And, what about when your company blog is NOT about your core product. Perhaps a company blog that has nothing to do with your Core Product, but everything to do with your Core Community is the best choice....

Mike Moran

Why Blogs Aren't Dead

For the past couple of years, people have been asking if blogging is now dead. Now, as you read this blog post, you might expect that if I took the time to write it, I probably don't agree. And I don't. But the "blogging is dead: crowd does have a point—I just don't think the situation is as extreme as they say....

Aditya Mahesh

A Guide to Pitching Bloggers

From an SEO standpoint, the blogosphere is a goldmine. It provides the opportunity for marketers to build targeted natural "in-content" links which are not only great for increasing search engine rankings, but also can drive significant amounts of targeted traffic...

Eric Brown

Can You Manage 5000 Blogs a Day

There is a product that has launched recently, which is aimed currently at the multifamily, apartment owner/operator space, but may well also extend into additional industries, such as Travel, Hotels, Wine and the like, that is worth taking a look at. I expect that some of the readers and followers of this blog may be skeptical, but I am interested in hearing your feedback....

Mack Collier

Blogging Small Businesses have 55% More Traffic, 97% More Inbound Links

A recent study by Hubspot found that among their small business customers, those that blogged had 55% more traffic and 97% more incoming links than non-blogging small businesses.

Mack Collier

How 'Shareable' Is Your Social Media Content?

One of the great things about social media is how quickly an idea can spread via truly 'social' tools and networks. But even though it's becoming easier every day to share social media content, you still need to create content that people WANT to share.

Sage Lewis

The AP Is Sick of You No Good Bloggers

The AP is now charging anyone who uses 5 of their precious words. The Associated Press has gone insane. I think that happens right before death....

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 8: Do It Right and Do It Again

Developing a good blog isn't about being a one-hit wonder. If all you have in you is one post then you're better off guest-blogging for someone else, instead of trying to build a blog of your own. But if you want to develop your own blog with your own following then you've got to be able to deliver the goods on a regular basis.

Mack Collier

The One Thing You Should Start Doing TODAY to Grow Your Blog

I consider myself to be a pretty good blogger, and over the past 4 years, my blogging has definitely improved my writing skills. But there had always been one area of blogging where my efforts were failing, and that was holding me back.

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 7: Give Them More Than They Came For

There is an old adage that says you need to leave people wanting more. The essence of this is to make sure you don't give so much that your audience becomes bored, but to give them only enough to keep them wanting more. Give them just enough to satisfy, but also wanting the encore. A blog is different. You don't want to leave them wanting more, but instead you want to give them far more than they expected.

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 6: Keep Them Interested

Having a good headline, a good article and even a good-looking site isn't always enough to maintain an audience. To keep people coming back to your blog day after day you have to go through the extra effort to keep your visitors interested in your content.

Mike Moran

Just what constitutes a spam blog comment?

I post something on my Biznology blog each day I'm working, and we've got a lot of subscribers so we get a fair number of comments. And I check each and every comment before it is posted, so that I'm not littering the blog with spam comments. But I am finding myself challenged by deciding just what is and is not spam. If you run a blog, I wonder if this has ever happened to you, too....

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 5: Be Easy On The Eyes

Having a good looking blog starts with having a good looking website design. It's amazing how easy it is to throw up a blog. But putting one together that is visually appealing to your audience is often another matter all together. There's more to a website or a blog than a header, side navigation, and a few images....

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 4: Reveal the Goods

The best titled blog in the world is only going to get you so far. To get readers you have to prove that you've got the goods that go with it.

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 3: Have a Good Pick-Up Line

When writing a blog post the title of the post is your pick-up line. That's your first opportunity to make a first impression. Deliver a poorly crafted pick-up line and there is a good chance your blog post sit there alone and unread. Craft a strong pick-up line and you at least have a shot of pulling them in to see what else you got going for you.

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 2: Know What They Want To See

In the online blogging world, there is also a while range of audiences. You know who your audience is, but what are they looking for? The easiest way to figure this out is to perform a bit of keyword research. When looking for things to talk about you need to look at three different keyword categories:

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself Step 1: Know Who's Looking

Some blogs are out there looking for the little-boy giggles. Others are trying to attract the same element that pays to go peek behind the curtain at the freak-show. If you're a business blogger, looking to speak to other professionals, you need to target people in your industry. The point here is, before you can really know who or what you're going to be as a blogger, you need to know who your intended audience is.

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself: Writing Your Blog Posts with Pen in Hand and SEO In Mind

Nobody writes blog posts with a pen as the title suggests, but I think you get the suggestive innuendo. I'll use that theme to further explore what it takes to put together a good blog, not just a good blog post. You'll learn to craft a blog that gets read, repeated, passed on, commented about, processed and put to good use. Oh, and we'll also make sure to cover some of the SEO basics in writing your post. If you've got a great body, no sense keeping it locked in a closet.

Manoj Jasra

Interview: Mitch Joel, President - Twist Image

Search Engine Strategies is set to take the stage next month in Toronto (June 8-9). Mobile Apps, as usual, will be one of the hottest topics at this year's conference. Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image will be moderating the panel: "Follow the Carrot: Cool Mobile Apps" so I thought I'd get some of his insight on the topic of mobile....

Mack Collier

Small Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Blogs

A recent study by eMarketer forcasted the next five years of blog readership, and creation. The findings weren't surprising, as eMarketer expects the number of people that read blogs, and those that blog themselves, to continue to grow dramatically. What this means for your business is that increasingly, your customers are going to be reading blogs, and writing them.

Mike Moran

Where should I host my blog?

With so many people deciding to start blogging, one of the first questions they ask is, "Where should it go?" I get that question all the time, but especially from those savvy in organic search marketing, because they are concerned about the links coming into the blog counting in their column for improved search rankings. Should they be?...

Mack Collier

What's the Recipe for Making Your Blog Content More Relevant?

One of the biggest concerns you'll hear from bloggers struggling to write that next post is 'it's all been said before'. And it's true, by now every topic has pretty much been covered and dissected from every angle. But does that mean you can't bring something new to the table?

Manoj Jasra

What Does Google Know About You?

Obviously if you use are a user of Google services you are sharing a lot of your search behavior among other things with Google as well. The E-Justice blog has published an interesting post on 25 Surprising Things That Google Knows About You. Below is a sample from the complete list of 25....

Mack Collier

Why Is Your Business Afraid of Negative Blog Posts?

It's enough to make the average business owner break out in a cold sweat; the thought of bloggers ripping them. But while many businesses and companies are fearful of posts that shine a negative light on their business, these instances are in fact a wonderful opportunity.

Jennifer Laycock

What My Kids Taught Me About Blogging

So far this week I've written about the Search Engine Optimization and Social Media lessons I've learned from watching my kids grow up. Today I'll be looking at what my two year old and four year old have taught me about creating content, building a community and increasing engagement rates for your blog.

Mack Collier

Don't Be Blinded By Social Media and Social Networking

EMarketer recently reported about a study on how small businesses would be spending their online marketing dollars in 2009, and the results were interesting at times, and downright scary at others.

Mack Collier

What Jason Bourne Can Teach You About Social Media

If Jason Bourne did Social Media, the first thing he would do was assess the landscape. He would find out where his targets are, and figure out what they are doing and how they are communicating. Now you might not be able to take out two armed men in 1.4 seconds with your bare hands, but you can still learn something from Jason Bourne when it comes to YOUR social media initiatives.

Jennifer Laycock

How to Kill a Blog in Ten Days...

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but anyone who has taken an extended break from their blog without scheduling a slew of guest writers to fill in knows just how quickly traffic and comments can drop off.

Mack Collier

How Do You Decide If Social Media is Right For Your Business?

You've heard the hype about social media for years now. Everyone is talking about it, and companies of all sizes are launching blogs and Facebook pages, and joining Twitter. You've heard enough and are ready to take the plunge into the social media waters. But there's one question left to answer; How do you know that social media is right for YOUR business?

Mack Collier

Find Your Blog's 'Bigger Idea'

Most companies are pretty boring. Most company blogs are pretty boring. And you guessed it, most companies that blog spend way too much time blogging about themselves. So how do you excite readers? By finding your blog's 'bigger idea'.

Mack Collier

Don't Rush Into Social Media

Social Media continues to be the pretty girl at the ball that everyone wants to go dancin' with. But even IF your business can benefit from using social media, make sure you ease into these waters slowly.

Manoj Jasra

Share Your Content with Tell-A-Friend

I love the new blog widget by SocialTwist called Tell-A-Friend. It's a pretty slick way for my readers to share content via email, instant messenger, social networks and bookmarks. SocialTwist supports numerous platforms, so the implementation was pretty simple - it even worked for Classic Blogger (which is what I am using)....

Manoj Jasra

Leveraging Blogs and Feeds for SEO

SES Chicago 2008, is happening this week and features a session on the topic of "SEO Through Blogging and Feeds." Lee Odden, CEO of TopRankMarketing.com, is an expert on this topic and is a panelist at this session at SES Chicago. I had a chance to catch up with Lee, to get his insight on SEO through blogging and feeds...

Mack Collier

Keep Your Comments Organized With BackType!

I've said it time and time again, but the best way to grow your blog, is to leave it. And that means leaving a LOT of comments on other blogs! But if you do this, it can be difficult to keep track of all the blog posts that you have commented on. Difficult that is, until BackType came along.

Mack Collier

How Do You Decide Who to Follow on Twitter?

In yesterday's post, I looked at some ways that I have used to get more followers on Twitter. Now I wanted to spin it around and look at some of the criteria I have for who I decide to follow on Twitter.

Mack Collier

How Do You Get More Followers On Twitter?

As Twitter just continues to grow in popularity, more people are wanting to know how to expand their Twitter networks, and get more people to follow them. There are several different ways to do this, depending on how you use Twitter. Here's some of the things that have worked for me.

Mack Collier

Remember, Social Media Are PERSONAL Communication Tools!

Plenty of companies and small businesses are curious now to learn how they can use social media to grow their businesses. Unfortunately, far fewer businesses are willing to invest the time to understand what these tools are, and why people are so excited about using them.

Mack Collier

What Blogs Should You Be Reading?

Whenever I speak to small businesses that are considering launching their own blog, there are always a few people that want to know which blogs I think they should be reading to stay up to date on the ever-changing world of social media. If you are just getting started exploring blogs, here are some of my favorite ones that should help you quickly get up to speed on blogging and social media.

Mack Collier

Everything You Think You Know About Social Media and Measuring ROI is Wrong!

One of the biggest 'criticisms' of social media that companies have, is the difficulty in measuring the return on investment for their efforts. Many believe that widespread business adoption of social media won't happen until a clear benefit to the company's bottom line can be measured. Of course, these people are totally missing the point of what social media is, and why it works.

Mack Collier

Need More Blog Posts? Then Start a Series!

At one point or another, every blogger struggles to find new content ideas for their blog. For some of us, ideas for posts come easily, but if you're a blogger that's constantly wracking your brain for the next post idea, launching a blog post series could be your solution!

Beth Harte

Blogs, Vlogs and SEO

Have you decided to take your blog to the next level by including video? Hooray! Video logs (vlogs) can help communicate in a lot of different ways and they also add a "real" voice to your blog posts....

Sage Lewis

What's All the Buzz? Blogging's Not Really Dead

In the news this week, BuzzLogic reports that blogging is in fact NOT dead.  After conducting a study with Jupiter Research, they found 50% of blog readers say blogs influence their purchasing decisions.  Another study, done by Microsoft, "Reveals the Online and Digital Behavior of Women," showing that 86% of women pass along interesting finds to others and 85% say email is the most important tool.  Sage also highlights a post by Mike Blumenthal about how easy it is to have your local business listing in Google hijacked; he strongly encourages everyone to immediately go claim their local business center...

Sage Lewis

The Choice of Pepsi is Bloggers

The story of the week goes to Jennifer Laycock for her article, The Choice of a Social Media Generation, about Pepsi's new marketing campaign to influential social media bloggers.  Twenty-five influential social media and online marketers were chosen to help launch Pepsi's new campaign.  The only glitch that Jennifer finds with Pepsi's strategy is that they chose the wrong people; they should have chosen people who are influencers within the Pepsi arena, not just social media.  All in all, the fact that major marketing agencies are seeing bloggers as legitimate marketing outlets, is still good news....

Mack Collier

Your Blog is Reallllllly Boring...

I'm noticing recently that a lot of business/company blogs are very stale and boring. Here's some simple ways you can add flair and personality to your blog.

Mack Collier

Social Media Can Be Cheap, But Its Not Free

One of the big reasons why social media can be so appealing to small businesses is because many of these tools/sites are free or very cheap to use. Which is perfect for small businesses that probably have very little in the way of a marketing budget to begin with. But there are still costs to consider when launching a social media strategy.

Mack Collier

Are You Putting Your Best Blog Posts on Display?

I talked to a blogger last week who explained that he had written a blog post last year that still gets traffic referrals. Which is great, but this blogger had his post buried in the archives of his blog. Instead, why not put the spotlight on your best posts?

Jennifer Laycock

Pictures Catch the Eye and Allow Your Words to Catch the Mind

One of my biggest struggle as a writer is finding a way to spin a tale or present an idea that captivates the mind long enough to keep someone reading to the end of my piece. A great way to do this is to captivate the eyes with images. It gives readers a break from all those words and it gives their mind a pleasant distraction that's brief enough to make them happy without getting them off track.

Karri Flatla

How to Grow Your Twitter Following (Even if You're Not a Marketer)

I'm not ready to talk about how Twitter has benefited me or my business yet--we have a complicated relationship. But I think it goes without saying that a lot of people (or should I say "peeps") would like to grow their Twitter following, and I think I've cracked the code. Whatever your social networking goals are, the following tactics will not only increase the number of people following you, but you will begin to experience that old fashioned thing called "community" right from your desktop....

Mack Collier

You Can't Control the Conversation, But You CAN Change it!

One of the biggest concerns I hear from companies and small businesses about blogging is 'what if someone says something negative about us?' Unfortunately, having a blog won't automatically mean that no one will ever say anything negative about your business.

Jennifer Laycock

Blogs Help Search, Search Helps Blogs

One of the biggest benefits of building a blog for your company is the increased traffic that comes from new content and new search listings in the search results. In fact, extra listings in the search results is one of the best selling points if you are trying to convince your company to launch a blog. Especially if you're dealing with someone who thinks people don't read blogs.

Jennifer Laycock

Dig Deep With Your Research When Building Pitch Lists

One of my favorite tips when I'm talking about bloggers is sending folks off to Technorati to do a topical search in an attempt to build a new pitch list. It's easy for marketers to focus in on finding the topical bloggers who focus on our vertical. Unfortunately, this can lead us down too narrow of a path and causes us to miss opportunities to expand our reach. That's why it's essential to look beyond the most common stops when building your pitch list.

Mack Collier

Can You Still Afford to Ignore Blogs and Social Media?

So is all this blogging and social media stuff really just a fad? Is it going away? Or will most companies need to invest in the coming years in using these tools to better connect with their customers? Thanks to many recent surveys and studies, the future of social media for businesses is becoming much clearer...

Jennifer Laycock

Bloggers Really ARE Talking About Everything...

I've been having a grand time reading through Technorati's 2008 State of the Blogosphere. I absolutely love their annual release of information because as both a marketer and a communicator, I love to find out what sends people scrambling for their blog to share their thoughts. This year's report is pretty thorough and has a lot of juicy bits of info that give us insight into the communicators of the web. In this post though, I want to dive into the section that talks about what gets people blogging.

Karri Flatla

In Blogging You Need Only Think Small to Get Big Results

When I started a blog on my website a few months ago I felt overwhelmed by the sudden responsibility to post fresh content often. It was as if the minute I created a section on my website called "Blog" I was inaugurated into a writer's hell where I felt both stumped and compelled to write all at the same time, all of the time. Then I realized that I was missing the point of blogging, which is to keep a lively conversation going (even if it's sometimes only between you and the WordPress Dashboard). And if you're a decent conversationalist,...

David Wallace

Blogging Workshop - SBM Unleashed

Mack Collier of The Viral Garden did an excellent presentation yesterday on why businesses should blog. With some background on why blogging matters and how companies are using blogs to spark conversation, this workshop is designed to provide everything you need to know to build a successful blog from selecting your blog software to planning your blog strategy....

Manoj Jasra

5 Ways to Beef Up Your Blogging Team

If you are the sole contributor to a personal or corporate blog and have been the main source of content for quite some time, you can understand the pressure of trying to provide unique content day in and day out.  There will be times where you simply lack inspiration and will look for help to bare the load.  Finding consistent contributors (guest authors) is not the simplest thing to do since everyone has their own priorities and writing articles can be quite time consuming.  Below I have outlined some ways to help you beef up your blogging team...

David Wallace

Blogging for Business - SBM Unleashed

Many businesses are trying to figure out whether they need to integrate blogging into their marketing plans. What will be the ROI from blogging? Will customers be more inclined to buy because you have a blog? These are just some of the questions being tossed around by intrigued marketers.In this session, Mack Collier of The Viral Garden touches on blogging as a component of a greater marketing scheme for your small business including engaging content, customer feedback, and sales tools. Mack also offers tips and tricks in building your blog and your audience....

Karri Flatla

Bet You Didn't Know Micro Blogging Could Be This Simple

When I finally did get on the micro blogging bandwagon (and no, I don't count Facebook, not even the "new" one), I put my profile on pretty much all of the Twitter-ish sites I could find. Hey, why not? It's sort of like one of those drinking games where you do a bunch of different shooters in about half an hour, realize most of them just make you want to throw up and go back to your favourite beer the following Saturday....

Mack Collier

10 Steps to Creating the Perfect Small Business Blog

While many small businesses are curious about blogging, few understand the steps necessary to get a solid effort off the ground.  Here's the steps you should consider to create the perfect blog for your small business....

Mack Collier

Putting Your Best Face(s) Forward on Your Blog

So often, we want to focus on writing great content in order to grow our blogs.  But we can sometimes forget why social media works so well; because it connects people....

Mack Collier

Social Media is NOT a Silver Bullet

For many businesses, social media can seem to be this mysterious black box that they don't really understand.  But a recent conversation with my friend Tim Jackson reminded me that social media really isn't as mysterious as many companies think....

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Incorporating A Blog On Your Company Website

Blogging for business is huge these days. When done well, it's a great tactic for engaging your visitors, facilitating conversation with your audience, attracting links, and getting more pages to rank in the search engines for relevant terms. But there are some key functionality areas you need to address when incorporating a blog with your main website....

Debra Mastaler

I'll Take Links And 11 Gold Medals Please

Do you do any link building planning?  Planning as in mapping out locations you want to get links from and developing strategies around upcoming events? If you're not, you may want to take a look at what one company has done to capitalize on anticipation.  The goodwill, media attention and inbound links they generated from one small commercial is priceless and worth it's weight in gold....

Mack Collier

Small Business Blogging Case Study: Tinku Gallery

One thing I love about blogging is that it gives a small business the ability to quickly and easily build awareness for itself online. This is exactly what Amrita Chandra is doing to get the word out about her Toronto-based art gallery, Tinku Gallery.

Mack Collier

This is Why I Love Plurk (And Why You Should Too)

If you use Twitter, then you might have heard of a new microblogging site called Plurk. Both services are alike in that they are both microblogging sites, in the same way that a Jeep and Ferrari are alike because they both have four wheels. But just as Twitter holds potential for you to grow your business, so does Plurk.

Mack Collier

Blogging Case Study: Newcastle Square Realty

Perhaps the most important area of a business blog, is its content. How you position your blog's content can greatly determine how successful it will be, and this is a lesson that hasn't been lost on Newcastle Square Realty.

Debra Mastaler

Grab Your Profile Link Before Some Jerk Does

Online, reputation is everything. It drives you professionally, personally and algorithmically. Have a good reputation and your efforts will be rewarded through growth and customer loyalty.  Develop a bad one and you'll spend precious time and resources trying to recover lost market share. While it's impossible to monitor every venue open to public opinion, you can work to protect your reputation by registering your known brand/name with as many social media, forums, and discussion sites as you can, especially the popular ones in your niche....

Mack Collier

How Well Do You Know Your Blog's Traffic?

Can you tell someone how many visitors your blog gets every day? Do you know how many people access your blog via a feed on a daily basis? If so, great, but that's only the surface of understanding your blog's traffic.

Mack Collier

Five Sites You Can Use To Grow Your Blog

Think all you have to do is create great content, and readers will beat a path to your blogging front door? Think again. One of the best ways to grow your blog, is by participating on other social sites.

Manoj Jasra

The Value of 50 Sphinns

Sphinn is a social site for search and interactive marketers. It's designed to allow you to share and discover news stories, read and take part in discussions, discover events of interest and network with others. If you're an Internet marketer with a blog you will quickly understand that the referrals your get from Sphinn are very often more qualified than ones from Digg or Reddit....

David Wallace

My Essential Plug-Ins for WordPress Blogs

While plug-ins for the WordPress blogging platform are in abundant supply, I try not to depend on too many of them due to the fact that I don't want to have to worry about them breaking every time a new version of WordPress is released. That being said, there are four plug-ins as well as one adjustment (or hack) to the post template itself that I feel are essential in order to have a great WordPress experience.  ...

Mack Collier

Five Ways Your Small Business Can Use Online Video

Thanks to the lowering cost of technology, it's now possible for any small business owner to create and share videos with current and potential customers online, for less than $200. This also gives small business owners several exciting new options for growing their businesses.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Blogging Done Right

This week's site clinic focuses on a relatively young blog, BeFitAndStrong.com. Blog owner Curtis Penner is doing many things very well, and I'd like to take some time to point those out as well as suggest a few improvements he can make to better reach his goals. As much as we learn from our own (and other people's) mistakes, we can also learn a lot when we see something done well....

Sage Lewis

Coming Out and Coming Clean

Whether you're Barack Obama or the Associated Press, this week has been about cleaning out the proverbial skeletons in the closet. Obama launched a website called Fight the Smears (.com) in which he debunks and clarifies false rumors about himself and his family. The Associated Press is bringing legal action against bloggers for using too much of the AP's content in their blogs. Also, ClevelandSEO.com points to The Karcher Group as a good case study for domain name changes; The Karcher Group has been blogging in detail the trials and tribulations associated with transferring their domain name to TKG.com....

Mack Collier

Social Media Conversations Are Leaky

This weekend I was reminded of how quickly ideas can generate buzz and discussion on social media sites when a blog post I wrote immediately sparked conversation on my blog as well as two other social sites.

Mack Collier

Putting the Cart Before the (Social Media) Horse

I have lost count on how many times I have heard business owners say "I know I need to be blogging/on Facebook/MySpace/Twitter, but what I don't know is how to get started?' When I ask how they KNOW that they need to be using these tools, I am answered with either a blank stare, or a 'well everyone else is using them!'

Jennifer Laycock

Bloggers Need to Accept Responsibility Too

I've read a lot of posts lately tearing down the public relations industry for what a poor job they do when pitching bloggers. I've also read (and written) quite a few posts about what a terrible job companies do relating to bloggers and having conversations with them. While there's no doubt companies and PR firms have a long way to go, a blast from my past reminded me that bloggers need to share some responsibility in all this.

Mack Collier

Knowing the Rules of the (Social Media) Road

At the first Small Business Marketing Unleashed, one of the case studies I explored was how Stormhoek involved bloggers in the marketing of their wine. Stormhoek now has its sights on Twitter users as marketing partners, and small businesses looking to explore social media should pay attention to their efforts.

Manoj Jasra

5 Reasons to Leverage Google's Custom Search

More and more each day you probably see Google's custom search engine functionality appear on site's across the Internet. If you are looking for a simple way to enhance your users' engagement level on your site then I recommend you take a closer look at Google custom search engine. Below are few of the top reasons I like it so much...

Jennifer Laycock

What Nutella (and I) Can Teach You About Blog Marketing

Yesterday I spent the day at a small conference here in Columbus put on by Ohio Web Leaders. They'd asked me to come and speak about blogging for business and blog marketing to a mix of small business, PR types and in-house marketers. Now I always try to break things down into every day life examples, but thanks to an off handed comment about Nutella, I had a chance for a great object lesson.

Mack Collier

Does Your Blog Have a Twitter Landing Page?

One of the best bit of social media advice I ever received came from Chris Brogan when he said that when you want to decide if a social media tool is for you, observe how someone that is really good at the tool uses it. Right now Twitter is hotter than Memphis in August, and one of the true power users of Twitterville is Laura Fitton, who is known on Twitter as Pistachio.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Easy to Navigate Equals Easy To Buy

This week we're looking at an e-commerce website for educational toys, Brainwaves Toys. The current Brainwaves site has done many things well, especially usability of the shopping cart and checkout process. However, it needs a little help with design and navigation to get visitors to that point....

Mack Collier

So How Do You Find People on Twitter?

One of the benefits to spending time on Twitter is that it's a great way to network. But if you are new to Twitter, it can seem difficult to find people that are in your industry or that share your interests. Here's some tips to help get you started meeting new friends on Twitter!

Mack Collier

Worst Example of a Company Twittering?

The problem that many companies face when they delve into the social media waters is that they really don't understand these new-fangled tools. And that means they are probably going to use them in the wrong ways, and for the wrong reasons.

Mack Collier

So How DO You Pitch a Blogger?

One of the highlights for me, as a blogger, during last week's Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston, came when Jennifer Laycock instructed the attendees on the proper way to 'pitch' a blogger. As a blogger that has received hundreds if not thousands of horrible pitches over the last 3 years, it was music to my ears!

Mack Collier

When you monitor the blogosphere, what do you see?

If you've read my posts here or were able to hear me speak at Small Business Marketing Unleashed in Houston, you know what a believer I am in businesses monitoring the blogosphere. It's a must for businesses to know what bloggers are saying about them, because then they can respond. But how do you know the correct way to respond? It depends on what you find.

Manoj Jasra

5 Tips for Captivating Lists

People seem to really appreciate the simplicity of lists and also have an easier time going throw their content, hence their immense popularity. In fact, I would have to say that 80% of my most popular articles on Sphinn have been lists. But what makes a good list? Below I have suggested 5 ways in which you can create a strong list...

Mack Collier

You Can't Let the Fear Win

"I just don't know what I would say." I must have heard this a dozen times at Small Business Marketing Unleashed from attendees that were trying to explain why they aren't blogging or aren't on Twitter. But almost everyone that I talked to was interested in learning more about blogging and Twitter, yet the fear of not knowing what to say was holding them back.

Diane Aull

Unleashed: Blogging for Businesss

Mack Collier's presentation on Blogging for Business covered a lot of tips for small businesses thinking of getting started with blogging. It's not just a matter of writing a bunch of posts about your business (in fact, that's not such a good thing to do, as it happens). Read more to find out what you should be doing....

David Wallace

SBM Unleashed: Building a Community

There's no doubt the best endorsements come from happy and loyal customers. So what if there was a way to build a community around your web site? A community that helped keep your content fresh, your ideas flowing and the links 'a coming. Turns out, there is. Find out the best ways to build up a loyal readership and how to get your visitors more involved from the queen of community herself, Wendy Piersall, Founder of Sparkplugging....

Mack Collier

Examples of Great Company Blogs

All week we've talked about the elements that make a great company blog. Now let's conclude the What Makes a Great Company Blog series by looking at some of the best company blogs.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Sidebars

The sidebars of your blog are a great chance for you to not only give readers information they need, but to also shine the spotlight on them! In Part Four of my 'What Makes a Great Company Blog' series, I'll look at how superior blogs utilize their sidebars to attract and grow their audience.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Comments

If great content is the #1 trait of a great company blog, properly handling comments is #1-A. Great content pulls in readers and if you can use that content to encourage comments and then reply to the ones left in a proper manner, you'll convert readers into a community.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Posting Schedule

In Part Two of my Elements of a Great Company Blog series, I'll look at how to create a posting schedule and why it's so important in growing your blog's readership.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog?

As more companies and businesses enter the blogging waters, it's becoming easier to identify the characteristics of an outstanding company blog. Next week at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston, I'll be presenting on the topic of Blogging for Business. Part of my presentation will cover the elements of a great company blog, and I thought it would be a good idea to cover those areas here as well.

Jennifer Laycock

Is the Influence of Bloggers Overrated? Umm....No.

If someone told you only there was a place where people might talk about your product and 23 percent of the people who saw that conversation would be more likely to buy your product...would you think that was a good thing? I would. In fact, I'd very much want to find a way to get in front of that audience. That's why, I'm a little confused to hear some people claiming the 23% number isn't significant.

Diane Aull

Should Your Business Start a Blog?

It may seem sometimes all the cool kids have started business blogs. So, can your business benefit from a blog, or is it going to be simply a waste of time?...

Jennifer Laycock

Boost Your Blog with Static Content

Earlier this week I wrote a post reminding small businesses why it's so important to consider launching a blog to go with their web site. At the time, I pointed out the benefit of ever-changing content. Today, i ran across a great post over at ProBlogger exploring nearly two dozen types of static pages you should consider building into your blog. While the idea of creating static pages on a blog may sound counterintuitive, it's actually an important part of blog creation many people miss.

Jennifer Laycock

Missed the Early Bird Price on Unleashed? No Worries!

No doubt some of you looked at your calendars last week and realized you'd missed the $850 early bird price for our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston. Don't sweat it, we've got you covered. We've spent the last six months building the perfect conference for you. We know how busy you are. Do you think we'd let you miss out on this great show just because you forget to set an alert on your calendar?

Jennifer Laycock

A Dozen Reasons to Have a Blog for Your Business

While social media is still the topic du jour at major search conferences, I'm still hearing a lot of buzz about blogs. While Technorati is tracking more than 121 million blogs these days, we're still no where near the saturation point. The issue now is convincing small businesses of the need to consider launching a blog. That's what Grant Griffiths is aiming to do over at Home Office Warrior with his great list of 12 Ways a Blog Can Benefit Your Business.

Mack Collier

10 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog Traffic

Want more traffic to your blog? Of course you do. But how do you get it? It's a question that many bloggers struggle with, but thankfully there are several fairly easy ways you can start today to grow your blog's traffic.

Mack Collier

Are You Monitoring Twitter?

If you aren't, you should be! With close to one million users (according to TwitDir), businesses are beginning to realize that it's just as important to monitor what Twitter users are saying about them, as it is to monitor the blogosphere.

Mack Collier

How to Write Your First Blog Post

Recently a friend asked me a question that any business that begins blogging will have to answer; What should your first post be about? That first post is terribly important, because it sets the tone for the blog, not just for the readers, but for the writers as well.

Sage Lewis

Video: Google's Subscribed Link Feature and Webmaster Tools Gadget

Sage packs this video full of everything from a new gadget on Google’s Webmaster Tools to a free website service provided by Google Sites, which was formerly the Jot Spot. Matt Cutts also gets air time this week for his article on subscribed links and how to use them, and the Harvard Business Review notices how the Internet-originated peer to peer (or P2P) business approach is influencing other societal structures, like banking....

Mack Collier

"Your Company + Sucks" is Your Worst Enemy, or Best Friend

As the dynamic CK points out, "Your Company" + SUCKS is the new Google barometer for how well you are satisfying your customers. And sometimes, it's not very pretty.

Mack Collier

Make Your Blogging Lists and Check Them Twice

Have you taken the time to sit down and put your blog's goals on paper? Do you know why you are blogging and what you want to accomplish from your efforts? Excellent. But don't fool yourself into thinking that all you need is a plan, that's just your starting point.

Mack Collier

Are You Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service?

If you aren't, you should be. Here's a great example of how one of the country's biggest companies is using a very personal touch to provide excellent customer service, and create evangelists for their brand.

Manoj Jasra

4 Tips For Your WordPress Strategy

WordPress is an excellent blog platform which provides complete customization which is both user and search engine friendly. Here are some of the tips, tricks and plug-ins that I use when I setup WordPress blogs....

Mack Collier

Should You Really Care What Bloggers Are Saying About Your Business?

Believe it or not, you don't have to be a blogger to respond to and engage bloggers. All it takes is a willingness to monitor the blogosphere and respond when appropriate. Doing so can help you convert skeptics and naysayers into fans.blog

Mack Collier

The Art of Creating a Post That Draws Traffic and Links to Your Blog

Most, if not every blogger, wants to write posts that are popular with their readers, and other bloggers. And while there are no foolproof ways to guarantee that others will be interested in what you write, there are several things you can do to greatly improve your chances that others will talk about, and link to your posts.

Manoj Jasra

6 Tips for Blogging in 2008

The Online Marketing Blog recently ran a poll asking readers which SEO tactic they plan on using most in 2008 and the winner with 25% of the vote was Blogging. This doesn't surprise me because blogging is an excellent way to manage PR, offer technical support as well as interact with users. In 2008 Blogging will be about refining your content and applying strategies to help distinguish your blog from the thousands in your vertical. Below are 6 great tips from the past to help with your blogging strategy in 2008...

Manoj Jasra

Republish or Not to Republish?

Writing and promoting unique content on your own blog is great but there are times when you can leverage more authoritative sites within your vertical by republishing the same content to in order get an even higher lift the second time...

Jennifer Laycock

SEOs Fight Fat - A Different Kind of SEO Contest

SEO contests are nothing new. Every few months someone pops up with some randomly generated phrase and a pile of prizes so aspiring search engine optimizers can go head to head in a race for top rankings. But when Donna Fontenot (DazzlinDonna) approached me about her latest idea for an SEO contest, I couldn't resist. This time around, Donna has recruited about a dozen search marketers to go head to head in a two-month, live blogged weight loss competition a la' "The Biggest Loser." The cool part? It's all about raising money for charities.

Mack Collier

How to Write Blog Posts That Will Grow Your Readership, and Your Business

When a business starts blogging, there is usually a huge temptation to use this newly-minted blog as a tool to directly promotion the business and its products and services. Unfortunately, this is the quickest way to guarantee that your blog will be totally useless and irrelevant to visitors. So what should your blog focus on? Providing value to your readers, of course!

Liana Evans

Most Public Relations Firms Are Not Online Marketers

If you are a small business and you are looking to hire an online marketer, be weary of public relations firms that claim "we can do that" or "we'll bundle that with our services".  Public Relations companies that truly understand online marketing are few and far between, and the ones who really do understand it and do a good job at it, are usually swamped and not taking on new clients....

Mack Collier

How I Increased My Blog's Subscriber Count By Over 1000% In Less Than a Year

One of the most common questions I hear from bloggers and businesses that blog, is 'How can I grow my blog's traffic?' This is a valid question, but bloggers shouldn't forget to focus on their blog's subscribers as well. Over the last year, I have seen first-hand what can happen when you focus on growing your blog's subscriber count.

Mack Collier

Are You Hiding on Your Blog?

Whether you are a consultant, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, a blog can be a great tool to promote yourself. But the mistake that many blogs make is placing too much emphasis on promoting what they offer, and not enough focus on the people doing the selling.

Mack Collier

Someone is Probably Blogging About Your Business RIGHT NOW!

Normally the first step a business takes in exploring the blogosphere is to start blogging themselves. But instead of diving in with a new blog, is it better to first understand what bloggers are currently saying about your business?

Jennifer Laycock

Target Buries Its Head in the Sand

You would think that in 2008, it would be hard for a mainstream retail outlet to ignore the potential impact of blogs. You would think that, but you would be wrong. I caught Jim Tobin's tweet about Target's decision not to interact with "non-traditional media" and found myself just shaking my head at the news.

Mack Collier

So Does Blogging Really Work? Here's the Proof.

For a few years now, companies have heard that blogs are great tools to better reach and understand their customers.  But at some point, the rubber needs to meet the road, and actual bottom-line results need to be examined.  So are any companies actually seeing growth coming from their blogging efforts?  You better believe they are!...

Jennifer Laycock

Which is a Better Use of Your Time, a Blog or Email Newsletter?

If you've spent any time reading online marketing blogs or sites like this one, you're probably either blogging or thinking about blogging. Of course you also might be wondering about more traditional online marketing options like the ever popular email newsletter. But if your time is limited, which one should you get your focus? That's the question being answered by Rich Brooks at the Flyte Blog today.

Jennifer Laycock

A Great Round-up of Blog Ad Networks

Wendy Piersall offers up an excellent post about blog ad networks this week over at eMoms at Home. Whether you're looking for a network to join or one to buy ads through, this post is a worthwhile read.

Mack Collier

How to Get More Comments on Your Blog, By Leaving It

Yesterday I wrote about some of the things you can do on your blog to encourage your readers to comment on your posts. But that's only half the battle, the real key to getting more comments on your blog, is to leave it!

Mack Collier

Want More Comments on Your Blog?

Have you ever read a blog and noticed that every post had several comments? It's almost as if the post was just the beginning of a fascinating discussion that carried over to the comments. But how can you create such a vibrate community on your blog?

Jennifer Laycock

Don't Give Up on the Newspaper Yet...

It's no secret bloggers are the hot new target of new media savvy public relations professionals. Everyone wants to get coverage on the hot blog in their industry. What may be overlooked, however, is the continued power of newspapers when it comes to sparking a trickle-down conversation through the most popular blogs. Joe Mandese at MediaPost shares data on a new Millward Brown study showing that individuals who read online newspapers are more likely to be top "influencers" in the blogosphere than non-newspaper readers.

Jennifer Laycock

Hide and Speak: Letting the Spiders Back in to Bento Yum

Had an email this week from Kalena Jordan asking me for an update on the Bento Yum "blocking Google" series I started earlier this year. I'd launched the project back in May as a new series about a building a business without the benefit of search traffic. The goal of the series was to rely on word of mouth, blogging and social media to build a successful web site. While the project had serious potential, I only managed to get five or six articles out of it before I had to call it quits. That doesn't mean there weren't valuable lessons learned though.

Jennifer Laycock

Blogging Isn't Losing Steam, It's Just Getting Easier

I've seen quite a few posts this past week from popular marketing bloggers asking if blogging is finally losing steam. They note a number of popular bloggers have been taking long breaks and others are simply abandoning their blogs completely. With the growth of social networking sites like Facebook, marketers are asking if the day of the blog is coming to a close. I found myself asking the same question last week and I've realized blogging is only just getting started.

Manoj Jasra

9 Ideas for Blog Posts When You Are Stuck

If you are the type of blogger who writes daily then it becomes important for you to post consistently because your readers begin to expect that from you.  However, what do you do when you're fresh out of ideas and still want to get something valuable out to your readers?...

Jennifer Laycock

Designing the Perfect Small Business Marketing Conference (Houston, Texas 2008)

In the last five years, I've attended dozens of marketing conferences, events and seminars. During each of those shows, I've spent time talking to the small business owners who've come to try and learn a little more about how to market their business online. Time and time again, the message I hear is the same. "The information is incredible, but I have no idea where to start!" It was that line that caused Robert and I to sit down several months ago and brainstorm all the things we'd do if we were planning a marketing conference for small business owners. It was Stoney deGeyter who said "so why don't you do it?"

Manoj Jasra

4 Tips and 11 Resources for Increasing Subscribers

Feed subscribers are quite possibly your most loyal readers therefore it's important to grow your subscriber community as much as possible. With Google's purchase of FeedBurner as well as their own proprietary subscriber calculating technology don't be surprised to see feed subscribers becoming a variable in Google's ranking algorithm. In today's post we'll talk about how to increase your feed subscribers with some very simple tips....

Stoney deGeyter

Full RSS or Summary Feed?

I'm not the first one to chime in on this topic, mostly because I've gone both ways and I can make pretty valid arguments from either side. But I've finally settled it in my mind which is "best". Full RSS feeds are better than summary feeds. Let me tell you why...

Jennifer Laycock

Floundering in Blog Obscurity? Join the Conversation!

One of the most common complaints I hear from small businesses who have launched blogs is how difficult it can be to get on the radar. After all, it doesn't matter how great your content is if no one can find it. One of the best ways to build up your reputation in this situation is to leave quality comments on other blogs. Caroline Middlebrook offers up another fantastic post this week discussing this very topic.

Jennifer Laycock

Is Your Blog Riddled With Errors?

The shift from static web site content to sites powered by blogs has been a blessing and a curse to many businesses. All that fresh content does wonderful things for rankings, repeat traffic and link generation. On the other hand, giving people who aren't trained writers access to post on your company blog can spell disaster in terms of punctuation and grammatical errors. It's with this problem in mind that Daniel Scocco writes an excellent post outlining bloggers' most common punctuation errors.

Stoney deGeyter

An Amazingly Detailed Post on Why PageRank Should Be Ignored

These figures can't (or can, depending on how you look at it) be ignored.

Jennifer Laycock

One Wrong Way to Approach Bloggers

It seems like the type of advice you really shouldn't have to offer, but apparently companies still don't get it. Each week I sort through link requests, PR pitches and requests from small companies to blog about or write about their product. Sometimes these pitches are exceptionally well thought out, sometimes they're simple, but engaging. Other times, they leave me shaking my head.

Jennifer Laycock

Good or Bad, Words Spreads Fast on the Web

It's no secret that blogs have given people an unprecedented voice in terms of sharing stories of corporate blunders. Anyone who has been online for any length of time has seen their fair share of posts about bad customer service experiences or arrogant CEO's. Thankfully, there are also plenty of examples of great service. Stories of the company employee that went the extra mile can actually spread pretty fast as well. Mack Collier covers both ends of the spectrum today in a post about how companies deal with their online reputations.

Manoj Jasra

Google Updates Feed Subscriber Calculation

Today at the Google Blog, Mihai Parparita discussed the new way Google will be calculating feed subscribers.  This was in response to many people noticing huge fluctations in their RSS subscribers counts.  Mihai says there is a difference between how subscribers are calculated at Google compared to FeedBurner. ...

Jennifer Laycock

Picking the Size of Your Pond

Whether you're talking about search marketing, blog marketing or any other form of online marketing, small businesses often find themselves competing as a little fish in a big pond. That can be frustrating when your time and your finances are limited. Sometimes those limitations mean you need to start looking for a pond that better fits the size of your marketing budget. I ran across a small business marketing column in the Roseville and Rocklin Today asking "How Big is Your Pond?"

Jennifer Laycock

Make One Blogger Happy and You'll Often Make a LOT of Bloggers Happy

With so many companies trying to figure out how to leverage social media and blogs to their marketing advantage, one key point often gets missed. "Just talk to them!" If more companies would spend half the time reading blog posts and responding to them that they spend obsessing about how to get more people to blog about them, they'd be way ahead of the game. In fact, Mack Collier points to a great example of a big company doing exactly that and taking the time to engage their customer evangelists in conversation.

Jennifer Laycock

Beginners Guide to Launching a Blog

Thinking about finally launching that blog, but still not quite sure how to go about it? Patrick Schaber over at The Lonely Marketer has put together a great post offering some tips on the best way to get things up and running. He even includes a nice list of plug-ins that can make your blog work even better.

Jennifer Laycock

Beginners Guide to Launching a Blog

Thinking about finally launching that blog, but still not quite sure how to go about it? Patrick Schaber over at The Lonely Marketer has put together a great post offering some tips on the best way to get things up and running. He even includes a nice list of plug-ins that can make your blog work even better.

Ross Dunn

Tips for Optimizing Blogs and Feeds

I caught an interesting seminar today called "SEO Through Blogs and Feeds" with Stephen Spencer, Rick Klau, Doug Hay and Greg Jarboe on the panel. The following are my point by point notes that stood out as noteworthy. Some of these tips are mirrored in my 3 part tutorial on blogging called Blogs 101 but as always some great new tips popped up.

Jennifer Laycock

Yo Gabba Gabba Fans Storm the Web (or at least my blog)

What's Yo Gabba Gabba you ask? It's a new kids show on Nick Jr. that combines 80's style animation with oddly costumed "monsters," pop media guests and annoyingly catchy songs that will have you waking up at night to the internal sounds of "snacky snack snack snack snack, snacky snack snack SNACK SNACK!" It's apparently also the type of thing that sparks passion on both the "love it" and "hate it" side, as demonstrated by the blog storm generated by a simple post.

Manoj Jasra

Does Yahoo Have Issues with Blogspot Blogs?

Ever since I started blogging I have noticed that Yahoo! has provided abnormally low number of search engines referrals to my blog. Over the last 4 months, the number of Yahoo! referrals in relation to all search engine referrals to my blog has been 2% whereas Google's share is over 80%. So why is Yahoo! so low...

Stoney deGeyter

So Many Blogs (comments) and So Little Time (for tracking)

A few weeks ago one of my employees ran across co.mments.com, a free, web based comment tracking tool. It's turned out to be a very nice one-size fits all solution to keeping up with any comments on any blog post, whether I've commented there or not....

Manoj Jasra

Find Your Blogging Formula for Success

The key to success in blogging, whether you want to make money, gain more subscribers, or increase visitor engagement is to constantly test new strategies. With A/B or Multivariate testing and using web analytics to measure its performance anyone can move closer to their ideal formula of success. The results from the multivariate testing will allow you to test various alterations before they are 100% live as well as allow you to capitalize on the best performing combinations....

Ross Dunn

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 3

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the basics of a blog and some of the necessary steps to take before starting one. In Part 2, I explained blog feeds and how to optimize a blog. Now in Part 3, I will explain social media marketing and outline a selection of strategies for socially marketing your blog....

Ross Dunn

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 2

Blogs 101 is a resource to provide our clients and readers with a clear concept of what a blog is, why a blog might be a positive addition to their website or marketing campaign, and how to implement, optimize and promote a blog. Today, I will explain blog feeds and how to optimize a blog....

Ross Dunn

StepForth Tutorial: Blogs 101, Part 1

StepForth's Blogs 101 is a resource to provide our clients and readers with a clear concept of what a blog is, why a blog might be a positive addition to their website or marketing campaign, and how to implement, optimize and promote a blog. In Part 1 of this series I will discuss the basics of a blog and some of the necessary steps to take before starting one....

Robin Nobles

Top Ten Grammar Errors that Haunt Web Pages

With all of this talk about content, don't you think it's time to have a frank discussion about grammar? Our Web sites are our online store fronts -- our online images. If our sites are full of grammar errors, what does that say about the professionalism of our businesses?...

Jennifer Laycock

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 30 - Launching the Press Release, Adding Up the Till and Offering Up a Little More...

As day thirty hit I spent some time wavering between relief and sadness. The relief at finally being finished with such an enormous task was fairly overwhelming. At the same time, the sadness that I felt bringing the project to a close was a bit more palpable than I would have expected. The good news, that day thirty wasn't really an ending, it was more of a milestone....

Jennifer Laycock

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 28 - Finishing up the Press Release, Making My Mark in Froogle and Learning to Squidoo

The last few days of the Lactivist project were going to be all about wrapping up plans for my press release and solidifying my ongoing marketing plans. That meant day twenty-eight was spent reviewing the final press release copy, making plans for distribution, and exploring a new marketing outlet that might have potential....

Jennifer Laycock

Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 14 - Jagger is Not My Friend, CSSAnnoys and I Experience CafePress as a Customer

I don't suppose I can really complain. After two solid weeks of surprising productivity, day fourteen actually delivered a fair share of frustration to make up for the supposed ease with which things had launched. That said, I still managed to get quite a bit done and I was encouraged to see that the search marketing world had finally started to buzz about the project as well....

Jennifer Laycock

New Search Marketing Journal to Launch

The publishing house responsible for LinuxWorld Magazine and .NET Developer's Journal has announced plans to introduce a search marketing journal later this year....

Jennifer Laycock

Google News - Rewarding the Rehash?

The Independent has an interesting article today that explores the ways that Google News rewards not the sites that break news, but the sites that repeat and rehash someone else's story....