feedforward: New Blog Traffic Driver? Lucien Burm Believes So

feedforward-logo

feedforward-logo

We caught up with Lucien Burm, founder of Kimengi, which has created an interesting new tool for bloggers called feedforward (see demo). Here’s the interview.

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1. How do you explain what feedforward and Kimengi do to people who have never heard of them before?

The first thing I say is that we create a more lateral web, but most of times I need to explain two things first: recommendations and widgets.

Everyone knows about recommendations that webshops provide, such as ‘people bought this, also bought…’. So at first I explain to people that this is the functionality we provide. Then I talk about our widget as a very smart website within a website that can create the same kind of recommendations on your blog/title and even better. It is better because all widgets on all participating sites can work together creating cross-site recommendations. And then, the recommendations are not only based on what other people liked, we look into context too. [Read more…]

5 Design Tweaks to Improve Your Blog Conversion Rates

Blogging success boils down to two things:

1. Get traffic

2. Convert it

“Convert it” means “get people to do what you want them to do,” which is usually clicking an ad, subscribing to your blog/newsletter, or buying something. (Or linking to your blog, or telling their grandma how awesome you are, etc.)

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have a fairly constant stream of traffic flowing to your blog from one or more sources – search engines, social networking websites, online directories, and so forth.

But are you converting it as well as you can? [Read more…]

Membership Services: Worth The Effort to Create and Develop?

Thinking of starting a membership website?

You know, to make a few extra bucks. (Or maybe just to make a difference in the world, I guess.)

As I’ve worked to develop and launch my own social media consulting service, I’ve seen and felt the good and bad of what goes into such a venture. Here are some of my ruminations – feel free to add yours below.

The Good: Membership Websites Can Make Mucho Dinero

That’s a lot of money, for you gringos out there. I have friends who earn a comfortable living through their own membership services, and in every case they either use a blog to drive member signups, watch the blogosphere closely for signs of changing trends and market interests, or both. [Read more…]

10 Ways to Be a Happy Blogger

oscar-the-grouch

oscar-the-grouch

Is this you?

Are you a grouchy blogger?

If you ever find yourself getting down in the dumps about your blogging, here are 10 simple tips on how to feel happier with your blog.

10 Ways to “Forget Your Troubles, C’mon, Get Happy” as a Blogger

  1. Count your blogging blessings. Think for a minute – what has your blog brought to your life that you wouldn’t have had otherwise? What rewarding conversations and relationships have you enjoyed? Write a list of these puppies down and look at it when you’re getting Oscar the Grouchy.
  2. Get Akismet. Or another spam comment destroyer like it. You’ll miss out on so much grouchiness it’s not funny. On second thought, maybe it is …
  3. Vent. Far away from your blog. Get away from all keyboards. Get yourself alone. Look at the wall, a Winnie the Pooh doll, the mirror, whatever. Take a few minutes to gripe, gripe, gripe. Come on now, the real, “Boy, did I drink my pickle juice today or what?” stuff. Complain all you want … to yourself. Then be done with it.
  4. Write your blogging worries and fears down. With your hand. On a piece of paper. Do whatever you want with it – stick it on your wall by your griping mirror, toss it into Oscar’s, er, your trash can – but at least dump those negative things out of your mind and body. And always remember: You matter. [Read more…]

How to Generate Good Blog Content Faster

I can think of a few ways.

  1. Decide going in to the blog content creation effort that you will get something “done” in a certain amount of time.
  2. Remove/destroy distractions, or remove yourself from their presence.
  3. Emphasize focus and the task at hand – getting a great article or content chunk done ASAP.
  4. Think about for whom you are writing or producing the content.
  5. Think about what specific problem you will be solving through the content, or what question you will be answering. [Read more…]

Blog and Social Media Blending: A Metaphor

wagon-wheel

wagon-wheel

I’ve struggled for years to find the right metaphor for the relationship between blogs and other forms of social media. Here’s one of the best I could come up with so far. I invite you to share your own in the comments section below.

One Way to Visualize the Combination of Social Media and Blogging

A blog is the hub of a wagon wheel. [Read more…]

18 Core Blogging Skills You Can Always Improve

Star Wars Computer

Star Wars Computer

C’mon, we all know that’s you at the computer in the image above. :)

Okay, so you’re not a machine and you probably don’t have cool laser guns sticking out of your head.

… Speaking of, um, blogging …

Here are 18 of the most critical skills to success as a blogger, plus related articles. Use this list to help you decide which skill(s) to work on now.

Blog Publishing Skills

1. Coming up with blog post ideas

2. Planning your blogging activities

How to Make Sure Your Blog Post is Ready for Publication

Are you one of those bloggers who worries a lot about whether your posts are “good enough” to publish?

Here are a few tips on how to ensure that it’s the right time to hit the “Publish” button on your latest blog article.

1. Create a post checklist … and use it every time. I have one that I keep pretty close to my chest, but it includes things like “check for broken links,” “search the Web for related resources to cite,” “check your sources,” “add clear calls to action if necessary,” and other such reminders. If you can check off every item on your personal posting checklist for a given article, you’re probably ready to publish the sucker. [Read more…]

Back to Basics: 4 Forehead-Slapping Blog Promotion Methods

Forehead Slap

Forehead SlapEver feel frustrated by the difficulty of promoting your blog and getting more people to discover and enjoy it?

Well, here are four of the simplest – but, wouldn’t you know it, also hardest – ways to promote your blog. See if one or more of these makes you slap your forehead and say, “Snap! I totally forgot about that.”

And then of course all you’ve got to do is do something about it. :)

In increasing order of forehead slappiness:

4. Pick up the phone. You’ve got one of those nearby, don’t you? Hey, you’ve probably got one in your pocket right now. Dial somebody’s number, wait till they answer, and say, “Hey, what’s up? Have you checked out my blog? It’s really cool, you might like it.” Embellish as desired. But seriously, nothing beats direct mouth-to-ear communication for spreading the word about a blog.

3. Put some pants on. And get out the door and go somewhere where you can apply the “hey, I can talk to people” concept from #4 above in a physical, offline setting. Repeat after me: “I need to tell that guy on the street corner with the sweet trumpet skills about my blog.” That, or the group of suits at your next business conference.

2. Blog about … your blog. This one is like, “ouch.” So easy to do, and yet so many bloggers fail to do it. For heaven’s sake, just put out a blog post every now and then (but not much more often than that) saying hi to your readers and letting them know what’s up. What you’ve been working on writing or recording or assembling for them, what that shiny new widget bling in the sidebar means to them, why you think they ought to subscribe to your blog updates by email or RSS, and especially, why they should pretty please (with sugar on top) tell their friends about your blog.

1. Be more valuable. Maybe — just maybe — your blog is tough to promote because it’s not really all that special. Don’t get me wrong – you as an individual are plenty special. But what do people really think when they see your blog and partake of its content? Does it jar them awake at 3 AM because they can’t shake the sweet awesomeness? Or does it fade within a tenth of a second into the rest of the ginormous ocean of constantly churning content in their brains? When was the last time you sat and just meditated for a few minutes on what you could do to make your blog more irresistible, more addictive, more magical, more incredible – in short, more promotable?

Hope these get your bloggity brain going. Any other forehead-slapping ideas on how to get your blog out there more prominently?

image credit: Russell D Egan