Three Things a Blogger Can Learn From Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee blogging life lessons

The death of veteran actor (among others) Christopher Lee has been the talk of the town in the last 12 hours or so. The legend has touched so many lives that his passing has not gone unnoticed – quite the opposite in fact.

But what has that got to do with us writers and bloggers? Sure, we could cover the news, but that’s just adding to the echo chamber. Worse, it’s bandwagoning. Everyone knows he’s gone, and we’re all feeling bad about it.

Everyone is paying tribute to Sir Christopher Lee. While we’re not making light of all the coverage – that’s practically all I’ve been reading in the past hours or so – I think there’s another angle here that bloggers can learn from. [Read more…]

Controlling What You Can’t Control: Your Reputation Online

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It used to be that you could draw a firm line between who you were and who you appeared to be to others. The internet changed all that. While it’s still possible to keep some things to yourself, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to appear to be anything but what you are. Social media, hacking, and miraculous leaps from simple web searches make us very accessible to others. If you live a “public” life on the internet, one in which you enjoy a certain amount of attention from others, you can be sure that people know a lot about you, or at least think they know a lot about you. [Read more…]

Creating More Engaging Blog Content: 14 Resources

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The goal of every blog is to build a highly engaged readership. Doing this will allow you as blogger to interact with your target audience and gain greater insight to their interest, desires, and others. Knowing these will provide you information that you can use to create more targeted content to further engage your audience.

The more connected your audience is with you blog, the better your chances of meeting your other goals such as turning visitors into leads or customers. (Click Here to Tweet This Quote!)

To reach this point with your blog, you need to ensure that every post you publish from hereon out is optimized to maximize engagement with your audience.
[Read more…]

5 Site Metrics to Use for Comparing Blog Performance

5 Site Metrics to Gauge Blog Performance

Part of the process of building your blog is the ability to measure its progress over time. You can’t expect your blog to grow at your preferred rate if you don’t bother to check out its data and insights. Doing so will allow you to determine the things you need to do to get your blog back on track.

For blog owners, installing Google Analytics before launching your blog should cover all the data you need to monitor your blog’s performance. It will reveal to you valuable metrics such as bounce rate and conversion rate, among others, as well create goal tracking to keep an eye on particular pages of your blog.

However, what if you want to monitor the performance of your competitor’s blogs? Since you can only access the analytics of a blog if you have access to its dashboard, you are pretty much in the dark when it comes to your competitor’s data.

Are they receiving more traffic than you do? Are their visitors staying longer on their blog pages than yours? Which among their pages are receiving the most traffic?

Instead of beating yourself up with data that you will never get your hands on, there is a way you can take to determine which among your blog and your competitors’ are performing much better. Below are site metrics that you should refer to for comparison and review.

Alexa Global Rank

Alexa is a web analytics tool similar to Google Analytics that provide you comprehensive data of your blog and your competitors’. The tool details the audience geography and their engagement, link profile, and more (especially if you purchase any of their Competitive and On-Site Analytics packages).

However, the most useful metric provided by Alexa is its Global Rank. This refers to your overall ranking among all websites in the world in terms of the amount of visitors. The highest rank is 1, so the farther you are away from this number, the lesser your traffic is.

Comparing your blog with your competitors’ using the Global Rank should give you an idea on how much traffic your blog  is receiving as opposed to others.

Keep in mind that the Alexa Global Rank is just an estimate of your actual score. In fact, the metric is not as accurate as you would have wanted it to be. Nonetheless, Alexa’s Global Rank is a decent indicator on how you blog is positioned online.

Domain and Page Authority

According to Moz, the inbound marketing agency that developed both metrics, Domain Authority “predicts how well a website will rank on search engines” while Page Authority “predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engines.” This can be viewed when entering your blog URL at Open Site Explorer.

Both are made up of aggregated metrics from different sources, so it will be difficult to find a way to influence your score from these metrics. Nonetheless, both provide reliable estimates that you can refer to when determining which among the blogs you’re comparing is the best. On the scale of 0-100, the higher a blog’s score on either is, the more authoritative it is.

Link Profile

Referring again to the data provided by Open Site Explorer, it reveals to you the number of backlinks or inbound links from different domains your blog has. Breaking it down further, you will see the backlinks that pass equity down to your blog, and the types of links you have in your domain (internal and external).

Since backlinks are huge off-page SEO factors that help shape its Domain and Page Authorities, blogs with lots of equity-passing links pointing to their respective domains are much more authoritative compared to those with less of this link type.

Social Score

The number of times your blog has been shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter reveal to you its popularity in this specific channel. More shares means more people are visiting your site. You can enter your blog URL on sites like ShareTally to show you the number of shares you currently have.

The social score also works as a social proof – the higher your score is, the more it makes your blog more trustworthy in the eyes of visitors.

Overall Metric

This refers to the metric developed by EatonWeb, a paid blog directory that also computes for the blog’s authority online. The Overall Metric is comprised of the Strength (“measures over a dozen individual web metrics collected from a variety of sources”) and Momentum (“measurement of any given blog’s relative growth over time).

Strong blogs that are in fast decline are penalized, while weak (or fresh) blog that are growing are prioritized by the metric.

This is an interesting metric because it provides a fresh take on blog performance, despite not revealing how the metric is computed. This gives you a chance to analyze your blog, which will lead you to finding ways on how you can improve its progress.

Final thoughts: While these site metrics are hardly dead-ringers to the kind of data provided by Google Analytics and other tools that provide more comprehensive data, using the ones featured above provided reliable data that should allow you to compare and contrast your blog’s performance against others. 

More on site metrics:

Your Aging Website: When and How to Get a Web Design Facelift

Should a Blogger Pay To Post Content on a Website?

How to Use Your Blog to Connect With Your Audience

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By now everybody knows that if your want your company to succeed one of the things you need most is to have a company blog. Company blogs are important! They showcase a company’s personality, help endear the business to readers, show off expertise and commitment to their communities, etc. This is something everybody knows. What not everybody knows is how to do the company blog “thing” well.

It’s relatively easy to set up your company’s blog. While many believe that WordPress isn’t the best idea for professional blogs, a simple WordPress installation and rerouting of your domain name servers takes less than an hour to set up. Viola! You’re done! Except….now you have to fill that blog with content. Here are some tips for how to do that. [Read more…]

Approaching SEO Like the Dating Game

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The objective of search engine optimization is simple: get atop search rankings for your target keywords. However, as with all simple things, the process of ranking on the first page of search results is quite complicated.

By observing on- and off-page optimization practices over a period of time and implementing different SEO campaigns, you’ll eventually reach the first page of search results.

For those new to the SEO game, you will need to learn the technical aspects involved in applying the best practices and campaigns . This can be achieved much quicker if you can associate the process of SEO to a common activity that you have found yourself doing over and over.

If you have experience in the dating game, then SEO is definitely right up your alley.

Using the analogy of dating with SEO, you will understand the foundations that make for an effective SEO practice and campaign. [Read more…]

How Can You Increase eCommerce Conversions In A Competitive Industry

Increase eCommerce Conversions

For those of you running an online store, the summer season is one of your favorite times of the year. However, in a competitive industry like clothing, there are thousands of other online stores vying for consumer attention, and some of them have a better stock in terms of quality/range than your store.

Despite the increase in competition in eCommerce space each year, there is always an opportunity to improve by focusing on increasing your conversions. This is essential if you want to improve revenue this financial year.

What often prevents online store owners from concentrating on the conversion metric is that improving it is time consuming, challenging, and complex. In reality, however, you can significantly increase conversions by making a few tweaks to your website and adding some features, such as the following: [Read more…]

TemplateMonster is Giving Away a Custom Deck of Web Design-themed Cards

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An infographic on web design trends was posted on TemplateMonster a short while ago. If you haven’t seen it, you can check it here. It shows how web design trends have changed over recent years.

Back in 2004 websites looked a bit different from those we use today. They featured cluttered designs with chaotically ordered elements. Quite often, the sites were overloaded with various visual effects. As a result, it was somewhat difficult to focus on the content and find the information in which you were interested.

During the same period of time, pale color schemes started growing in popularity. Actually, this approach turned out to be quite effective, and it’s no big surprise that it is widely used today.

Flash technology was also incredibly popular during those years. In the 2000s it was as important for web designers as CSS, Java and jQuery are today. Flash was the most effective solution to make a site look more alive and dynamic.

Since that time, IT has come a long way and evolved into a practical science. One of the trendiest directions of 2015 is material design. Originally, it was introduced by Google. Along with monochromatic colors and micro-interactions, the material design sites ensure a striking look and unmatched performance for any business project.

As mentioned above, TemplateMonster decided to return to the subject of web design trends and introduce the same idea in another format. If you are interested in this niche and want to know more about the evolution of web design, new ideas and trends, you are going to like what TemplareMonster has created.

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Let’s take a closer look at what they have done. The company has released a deck of custom playing cards that illustrate the major web design trends of the last 12 years. Each card describes one particular trend.

How does one obtain one of these decks?  

It’s simple. You can win a custom designed deck of cards by taking a simple quiz based on these trends. It starts on May 26 and will be available for one week only, so you’d better hurry up. Once you complete the test, share this news in social networks. Remember, the more actively you share, the more chances you have of winning a prize. So go ahead and get yourself a cool, custom-made deck for absolutely no charge.

And one more thing – those users who answer all questions correctly will get a custom-made badge – Web Design Guru, as a bonus.

How To Protect Your Brand On Social Media

protect brand on social media

Editor’s note: This post was written by Jeff Foster, co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Social media is now a critical component of any marketing campaign. Used correctly, it builds an army of enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand. But social media is a double-edged sword. Negative reviews, PR blunders and inconsistent brand messages are constant dangers – threats that you need to guard against. Brand protection has to be an integral part of your social media strategy, otherwise you are putting your brand at risk.

Implement A Social Media Policy

While it takes time to build an online brand, your employees can damage it very quickly – often without meaning to. There are well-publicized examples of this. For example, when a US Airways employee tweeted a very graphic image on the company’s Twitter account. Sometimes, however, the damage can be more subtle.

Let’s assume that someone in your marketing department sets up an unofficial branded hashtag, which they use to tweet company news – all with the best intentions. But if they do this without tying into your social media strategy, they can end up sending confusing messages that devalue your brand.

To avoid this and protect your brand on social media, put in place a clear social media policy. This should tell your staff things like who is authorized to post content, what approvals are needed, and what type of content can be posted. Also make sure that this addresses your employees’ private social media accounts – tell them exactly what they can and can’t do with their own accounts.

Finally, make your acceptable use policy clear to your followers on social media. For example, state on your Facebook page that you’ll delete readers’ comments if they contain or link to pornographic, racist or other types of unacceptable content. By saying this upfront, you’ll reduce any social media backlash when you censor what readers have to say.

Monitor Social Media For Damaging Comments

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You should also monitor social media for what people say about you. Look at overall sentiment, but also identify specific negative comments. There are several great tools you can use to do this, including Google Alerts, Trackur, SocialMention and BlitzMetrics. The advantage of these tools is that they don’t just monitor your own social media channels – they can monitor the entire social media universe.

When you do find negative comments, don’t make the mistake of arguing online. Craft a reasonable response to what the author has to say. This will reduce the impact of the comment for other readers. If they do respond positively, offer to talk to them offline to address any concerns they might have.

Also watch for sites that rank highly for your company name – or for other brand-related keywords that you use. It’s easy for someone to set up a site with the intent of damaging your business, or even impersonating it for fraudulent reasons. You need to intercept these sites quickly – and you may even need to take legal action to get them shut down.

Create Buzz

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No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to silence all your detractors on social media. Negative feedback is just a fact of life. But you can offset it by creating a constant positive buzz around your brand. This will drown out negative comments – or at least push them into the background.

However, you can’t create buzz by yourself – in fact, readers won’t believe you if you try to do this. Instead, you need to use sites like Tomoson to get influencers talking about your products or services. People trust bloggers and other online thought leaders – much more than they trust company advertising.

Creating positive relations with bloggers is a major topic in itself, but here are a few key things you need to know. First of all, bloggers value their independent voice – and so do their readers. So even if you pay bloggers to write posts, don’t try to bend them to your will. Second, bloggers want to know that you are interested in them – so take the time to read their blog posts and express genuine interest. Third, you need to give bloggers something to talk about, so avoid boring marketing pitches – roll up your sleeves and get creative.

Finally, remember that bloggers are not the only influencers. When your customers talk about your brand, they are selling it at the same time. People will naturally make some comments, but you need to encourage them to say more. For example, by simply responding quickly and positively to comments, you can spark more conversation. Retweeting comments is another good strategy, although you shouldn’t spam your followers by doing this too much. Another good approach is to run an online contest where you ask readers what they love about your brand – and then give prizes for the best comments.

Avoid Controversial Subjects

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Unless your business directly involves religion or politics, you shouldn’t discuss these subjects on social media. Even if what you say is innocuous, you’re going to offend some people in your audience. There’s usually no upside in talking about controversial subjects – and there’s always a downside. Religion and politics aren’t the only controversial topics, so always think about whether you could offend before you post or tweet something.

It’s also a big mistake to exploit natural disasters and other tragedies to promote your brand online. This may seem obvious, but even leading brands get it wrong. For example, when Hurricane Sandy struck the US East Coast in 2012, American Apparel sent out an email blast offering 20% off everything, “in case you’re bored during the storm.” There was a huge social media backlash, including tweets such as “I will forever boycott their stores.” Amazingly, American Apparel wasn’t the only retailer to get this wrong – GAP also incensed the Twitterverse, with a similar post encouraging Sandy victims to shop online at Gap.com.

Another useful article: How an Industry-Specific Writer Can Improve Your Company’s Blogging

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