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October 2011

Facebook Changes Allow Brands to Reach More People

Author:
Facebook

Do you remember at the end of September when we all woke up to those many changes on Facebook? That was an interesting day to say the least.

From the “Hate the New Facebook News Feed” image that ended up plastering my feed, to all of the complaints from Facebook friends, it was clear people were not happy.

According to a new Facebook study by PageLever, people who use Facebook for fun might not be happy with the changes, but it appears brands should be.

The new Facebook set up is allowing brands to reach a larger audience. They studied more than 300 brand pages and found that the new layout increased fan interaction with brands.

Jeff Widman, co-founder of PageLever, said “Facebook is showing you to more people but less often per person. I would say it’s actually much better for brand pages now. As a marketer, I’d totally rather reach more people every single day, than the same people more often.”

Reaching people where they already are. This is a HUGE piece of the puzzle that brands are always trying to figure out and Facebook is where people already are.

It seems the “Ticker”, which a lot of FB users have a love/hate relationship with, has been a key component in brands reaching more people, as well as the “Top Stories” feature. The Ticker gets people to click more since it’s front and center, or front and right more accurately.

Here is some interesting data PageLever discovered:

In terms of other types of fan engagement beyond simple clicks to view items, the number of comments rose 5%, the number of “likes” on brand news items rose 15%, and the number of fan wall posts on brand pages rose a modest 3% since F8.

For those of you who run Facebook pages for brands, have you noticed an increase in fan interaction? Or what about fan interaction for your personal Facebook Pages?

How to Choose a Perfect Domain Name?

Author:
www

The domain name is your Internet ID, a cornerstone of your online presence, and thus should be chosen carefully. With the ongoing increase of broadband penetration at the world level and, more importantly, rapid personalization of the user online presence, the domain is assuming even more significant role in creating a virtual destination. In general, there are three ways of using the Web space (personal, business and community), which affect the domain name choice.

Personal

Clearly, the domain name usually matches the personal name. However, before rushing to claim your name, perform a short search engine test first. If it is already registered on multiple extensions, a new registration will only reduce your chances of eventually becoming recognized by a wider Internet community. In this instance, the last name or the nickname could be a great alternative (of course a search engine test is recommendable).

As for the extension, gTLDs (generic top level domains such as .com, .net, .org) are more commonly used than ccTLDs (country-code top level domains such as .de, .es, .ru, .us) since they are targeting wider audience. However, if traditional extensions (.com. .net, .org etc.) are not available, consider registering one of the sizzling new ones that may add personal flavor to your virtual home.

Business

The key feature of your business domain name is memorability – the more memorable, the more chance to be re-visited. What makes this online memorability? Three things: length, call-to-action and a nice extension.

A short domain is, by default, easy to remember and perfect for sharing across online and offline social media. For instance it saves characters on Twitter, fits on your business card, spreads rapidly through the word of mouth etc.

Call-to-action is what makes a website URL appealing. This concept urges users to act immediately and get the domain (permanently) stuck in a consumer’s head. For instance, .ME is perfect for creating domain hacks consisting of Verb + Extension – just try to forget addresses such as Advise.ME, Join.ME, Blog.ME or even those including newly coined words such as Themify.ME!

Finally, the extension plays an important role – if you start/launch on a ccTLD it is more than recommendable to register a gTLD, since at some point the company may go global. Nonetheless, do not register it at any cost. Should there be shortage of suitable names on mainstream extensions, keep in mind that some new ccTLDs (including .ME and .CO) may be a good option since they be geo-targeted in the Webmaster Tools. Therefore, you can set them to any location regardless of their country of origin.

Community

In general, community implies usage of web space for online portals, forums, databases, organizations etc. The most commonly used domain for community websites is .org, so it is by default the primary choice. Still, all of the above (memorability and use of alternative extension) should apply to community websites as well.

In addition to these general guidelines, there is a number of tools across the web available for public use such as WHOIS, domain suggestions, registrar and registry websites, domain auction tools and dropped domains tools etc. that can make your quest easier. If used along with the piece of advice provided above, these tools will give you a pretty good idea of what should be your dream domain name. In the end, instead of getting the domain you really want, you will register the domain you really need.

The .Me Registry operates the .ME domain name which is available for worldwide registration and also offers special, highly valuable premium names through its development program (see details here). .ME Registry (the d.b.a. of doMEn, d.o.o.) was chosen by the government of Montenegro to operate the new .ME domain name extension. ME Registry partners include ME-net, GoDaddy.com and Afilias Limited.

Leah Segedie Says BlogWorld Raises Her Game

Author:
leah-segedie

Session: Lifestyle Makeover Roundtable
Speaker: Leah Segedie

Leah Segedie will be speaking with some amazing bloggers about “Finding the Right Fit” – which addresses their experiences working with brands and how to stand out in your own space.

Leah says she really likes conferences, but especially loves BlogWorld because she learns a lot, and always something new.

Hear what else Leah has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Tamara Walker Talks Podcasting for Parent Bloggers

Author:
Tamara_Walker1-110x110

Session: Podcasting for Parent Bloggers
Speaker: Tamara Walker

As I prepare to head off to BlogWorld LA in a few days, I’m looking forward to the whole experience of attending and speaking at my first BlogWorld & New Media Expo! After having wanted to attend in the past but not being able to, I jumped at the chance to go when I was asked to be a speaker on the Type A Parent Track this year at BlogWorld LA. I’m sure it will be a time of intense learning, lots of networking, and crazy fun!

In my session, I will be sharing tips with other parent bloggers on how to get started in the exciting world of internet radio and podcasting. Podcasting and internet radio are incredibly powerful tools to further your blog’s reach and value and can increase your monetization opportunities.

In this session, we’ll discuss how to start a podcast, where to broadcast, how to develop a theme and topics, get regular guests and how to market your podcast to build an audience. I promise to pack as much valuable information and helpful tips into our short hour together and will do my best to answer everyone’s questions!

Here’s a little video I made about the Podcasting for Parent Bloggers session and BlogWorld LA:

My co-speaker for this session was Maria Bailey of MomTalkRadio.com and I was thrilled to be sharing the session with her when we were asked to speak together. Unfortunately, Maria has had a scheduling conflict arise and will be unable to attend BlogWorld LA after all (We will miss you, Maria!!!). My presentation will be incorporating some of her research and contributions into the session so you will still get the benefit of some of Maria’s podcasting expertise.

I’m so excited to be attending BlogWorld LA and hope to meet all of you! Come to my session and let’s talk! If you miss my session, find me in the hallway and say Hi! See you there!

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

What Irish Drinking Songs Taught Me About Blogging

Author:

This weekend, my sister is visiting me from Pennsylvania (I live in the DC Metro area). I decided to take her to my favorite bar in town, which happens to be a Irish pub. While we sipped some drinks and caught up on life, we enjoyed some live music, including a few Irish drinking songs (of course).

The singer played a pretty wide variety of songs, and I noticed something commonly shared by the songs the audience seemed to like the best: They are interactive.

That’s a lesson we can learn about blogging as well. People love being able to interact.

Many Irish drinking songs are interactive because there’s some kind of audience call back line. In other words, the singer says a line and the audience yells something back in response. In a rowdy bar, this can be pretty fun! There are also songs that have hand motions, songs that require you to do a task (most commonly, take a drink), and more.

Here’s how this can translate to the blogging world, no alcohol required:

  • Ask your audience a question at the end of your blog post.

Like a call back line, ending your post with a question invites your readers to say something back to you. Sometimes, readers have to be encouraged to respond to your posts, especially if you don’t have a normally vocal crowd. Try getting people warmed up with some topics that are highly controversial, in the same way the performer at the bar warmed up the audience with some old favorites like Sweet Caroline. Don’t bait your readers, but make it easy to comment with a post that elicits an emotion. As your readership grows, you’ll start getting responses to other blog posts as well – but it always helps to ask that question or at least remind people that they can leave a comment.

  • Teach them the words.

Inactive songs are pretty useless if no one knows the words or hand motions. The performer at my pub always tests the water a little to see how savvy the audience is. If there are a lot of people there who know the correct responses, he just plays the song. If not, he gives the audience a little tutorial or even invites someone (usually someone who’s already had a few beers) to the stage to help him and lead the audience.

Similarly, you have to “teach your readers the words”. When someone new shows up on your blog, they don’t know the lingo or where to start. If you don’t give them a little guidance until they find their way, they’ll leave. So consider making a “best of” page or “new users start here” page. If you have weekly or monthly features with unique names, explain at the beginning of these posts what they are (one or two short sentences should do). Link to some related posts at the end of each post or throughout. Until your readers know your site like the back of their hands, they need your help!

  • Make people smile and then encourage them to pull out their wallets.

One of the songs the guitarist at my pub sings almost every time I see him is “Piano Man” – I know, it’s a funny song for a guitarist to sing, but I understand why he does. He never leads with this song. He waits until the bar gets pretty full, sings a few crowd-pleasers, and then starts strumming Billy Joel. Why? Well, if you don’t know the song, there’s a line that goes: “And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar” – in other words, all the people at the bar tip him. Whenever he sings that, he stops and goes “AHEM” and sings the line again. It always gets a laugh, but you know what? At least two or three people run up and stick money in his tip jar.

This would get annoying if he did it all the time, but by that point in the night, everyone’s had some drinks, and we know we like this guy. He’s played some of our favorite songs, he’s made us laugh, and we’re having a good time. So of course we respond with tips. On your blog, it’s the same idea – let readers get to know you. Entertain them (or teach them something – preferably both) and then when they’re happy and know they like you, ask for their money. Don’t be afraid of the ask. It can get annoying if you beg or encourage them to buy too often, but if you never do, they might not remember.

BlogWorld Blog Weekly Recap – Zombies, BWELA Packing List and Kimonos

Author:
BlogWorld

As we lead up to next week’s (next week people!) BlogWorld Expo in sunny Los Angeles, CA, the BlogWorld blog has been on fire with great content. In fact, every week we have some amazing content from BlogWorld staff, as well as guest posters all over the world.

So you don’t miss a beat, here’s a weekly round-up of articles from October 21st to 28th. I’ve broken it down into categories – such as posts specifically about BWELA, blogging tips and general news.

BlogWorld LA 2011

Let’s Pause for a Word from Our BlogWorld LA Speakers

Blogging Tips and News

The Recipe for a Successful Blogging Business: How to Minimize Your Liability

Author:

… by Nellie Akalp

You’ve logged long hours behind the glare of your laptop display, battled writer’s block valiantly, and tried your best not to get rattled by the occasional negative comment or flame war. Along the way, you’ve produced some great content and have joined the growing ranks of more than 175 million blogs worldwide.

While blogging has become a serious industry, most bloggers don’t necessarily consider the business aspects of their blog when they’re just starting out. But soon enough what may have started as a casual interest turns into an extra source of income, or even a full-time business.

If you’re a self-employed or self-starting blogger, you’ve got to be aware of a few things as you navigate the legal and business aspects of your blog.

Liability issues

Yes, I know, it’s hard to imagine that sitting behind a computer can put you at any real risk of a lawsuit. And certainly managing a blog is inherently less risky than managing a sky diving business. However, there are some liability issues to consider: What it you accidentally plagiarize another writer’s work? What if you write about a mobile phone prototype left behind at a bar? What if you’re fined by the FTC or named in a class-action lawsuit for positively reviewing a defective product?

If you’re involved in blogging or social media, you’re most likely aware that back in 2009 the FTC revised their guidelines to bring social media and Internet advertisers into the mix. At the heart of this revision was a concern that recognizing ads in social media was becoming increasingly harder. And since then, we’ve seen a handful of controversies surrounding celebrities not properly disclosing brand relationships.

Here’s my recipe (just three simple steps) to minimize your liability as a blogger:

Step 1: 1 cup of disclosure

You need to disclose any ‘material relationship’ with an advertiser or brand. A material relationship can be anything and everything from receiving cash, free samples, a free product, or free trip in exchange for a product review or blog post. Let’s say that Jimmy is an online gaming expert who drinks lots of energy drinks and blogs about his gaming experiences. A game manufacturer sends him a free game and asks him to write about it. Accepting this free game creates a material relationship that must be disclosed or Jimmy can face substantial fines.

If you’re not sure what constitutes a material relationship, err on the side of caution. After all, do you think Jimmy’s readers will be upset to learn he received a free game (particularly, if he’s known for enthusiastic, albeit dead honest, reviews)? Beyond FTC penalties, I believe that disclosure is good practice, as it maintains the relationship of trust that you’ve built with your audience.

Step 2: Sprinkle reviews with results that consumers can ‘generally expect’

It’s no longer acceptable for a blog review to make outrageous claims like “I made $30,000 last month from home selling on eBay; I lost 50 pounds in 2 months.” This is true even if you put a disclaimer ‘results not typical’ in fine print. Like advertisers, bloggers are required to disclose results that “consumers can generally expect.” If you don’t comply, you could receive substantial fines or a consumer protection lawsuit. In most cases, the company itself will be the defendant, but as a participating blogger, you could also be named in the lawsuit.

Step 3: Form an LLC or corporation

Most bloggers aren’t really thinking about business structure when they first start out, meaning that most begin as sole proprietors. While you may think you should incorporate in order to lower your taxes, the main benefit of incorporating or forming an LLC has to do with separating your personal and business finances and minimizing your personal liability.

With an LLC or Corporation (S Corp or C Corp), your personal assets, such as property or a savings account, are shielded from any judgment if your blog happens to be sued or fined. On the other hand, if you’re sued as a sole proprietor, you’ll be sued personally. This means that your personal assets are all at risk. And what you initially started as an interesting side project could end up wiping out your down payment savings.

Also be aware that creditor judgments can actually last up to 22 years. This means that if you’re sued today, your personal assets will still be vulnerable for up to 22 years.

This may sound like scare tactics. And I’m not a fan of scare tactics. But I am a fan of education. Most likely, you’ll never run into any sort of problems with your blog except for the occasional troll. But following this simple recipe of shielding your personal assets through an LLC or Corp, using common sense when choosing your advertising/marketing partners, and always erring on the side of transparency will help make for the sweet success of your blog and business.

Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate and mother of four. As CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, Nellie helps small business owners form an LLC or incorporate a business in order to start and protect their new business ventures the right way. To access free guides, advice and informative videos on small business legal topics, visit here: http://bit.ly/pChZbV

At next week’s BlogWorld in LA; Nellie will be exhibiting information for attendees to learn the benefits of forming that business structure to a new venture and why it’s an integral part of the success of a business. She will be giving away one iPad2 on November 4th and one on November 5th to BWE attendees. People just have to stop by the booth and look for the ‘Word of the Day’. Once they find it; they need to Tweet to @CorpNet or comment on the CorpNet Facebook page with that word to be entered to win. If they tweet and comment; they are entered twice.

Marcus Sheridan: The Story of Inbound Marketing

Author:
Marcus_Sheridan1-110x110

Session: 7 Blogging Ideas That Will Brand Your Business and Make You the Voice of Your Industry
Speaker: Marcus Sheridan

At BlogWorld LA, Marcus Sheridan will not only show 7 powerful ways by which businesses will gain huge SEO and Branding visits through content, but he’ll also take the audience to the ‘next level’ of understanding how consumers think, feel, and the things they truly want to be reading about.

Hear his story:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

BlogWorld & New Media Expo LA Book Signing Schedule

Author:

Did you know that many of our speakers are authors too? Well they are! And now you can get signed copies of their books and chat for a few minutes during the BlogWorld & New Media Expo LA event.

Location: Barnes & Noble / BlogWorld Book Store, located in the lobby near Registration.
Schedule:

Time Table 1 Table 2
Thursday November 3rd
1:00PM – 1:45PM Peter Shankman
2:00PM – 2:45PM Mari Smith Brian Reich
3:00PM – 3:45PM Jay Baer Mike Schneider/Aaron Strout
4:00PM – 4:45PM Chris Brogan Robb Wolf
Friday November 4th
10:00AM – 10:45AM Jonathan Fields Douglas Karr
1:00PM – 1:45PM C.C. Chapman Jim Kukral
2:00PM – 2:45PM Marc Pitman Aliza Sherman
3:00PM – 3:45PM Michael Brito Tom Terwilliger
4:00PM – 4:45PM Julie Spira Bill Torgerson
Saturday November 5th
1:00PM – 1:45PM Jason Falls Michael Stelzner
2:00PM – 2:45PM Bruce Sallan Clay Nichols
3:00PM – 3:45PM Pace & Kyeli Smith

Brian Gramo Gets Creative with Live Streaming

Author:

Session: Producers: Being Creative in Producing a Live Streaming
Speaker: Brian Gramo

Brian Gramo will be speaking at BlogWorld LA about being creative in producing live streaming productions, where he’ll share the wealth of information he’s accumulated over the past five years. While he started off in a small bedroom in Santa Monica, in the video below he walks you through his four thousand square-foot facility in Hollywood!

During his session, Brian will be talking about integrating multiple cameras and also how to interact with your fans while you’re live streaming. Whether you’re streaming from a professional facility or your apartment, he has a lot of advice to share.

Hear what else Brian has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

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