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May 2010

Blogosphere Roundup – May 14

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I pulled together some interesting blog posts and news regarding blogging and social media – all released this week.

Daily Blogging Tips: Buying a Blog
Guest blogger Adam Diver talks about starting his own blog and having purchased an established blog – with each option having their own advantages. The experience of both sites allowed him to reflect on some of the issues bloggers may encounter with both types of blogs, particularly when starting up.
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Mashable: Get the Most Out of Offline Networking Events
Learn how to optimize your networking – online and offline.
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ProBlogger: If You Had Only One Month Left to Blog….
If you had only one month left before you had to stop doing it or making money from it – how would that impact your blogging?
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ReadWriteWeb: Twitter Is Not a Very Social Network
Only 22% of all connections on Twitter are reciprocal. Not very social, is it?
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TechCrunch: Facebook And Twitter Are On A Collision Course. And We’re In The Middle.
Twitter and Facebook are becoming more like one another, learn how – with some gratuitous Lost characters thrown in 🙂
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Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

The Importance of Pages Per Visit & Tips For Improving Your PPV

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Readers come and readers go, but do you ever take a look at your pages per visit? That handy information is available in most analytics software and documents the average number of pages per visit to your site before someone heads off elsewhere in search of different content.

Business Model:
For most blogs, your goal is to obtain readership, build a community, and perhaps make a buck or two. If that’s the case, you want to have a high PPV. However, there are some business models that prefer a lower PPV – a customer service organization perhaps (they’re hoping you find your information quickly and get back to using their product!)

Importance of Pages Per Visit:

Your PPV tells you whether your content is compelling enough to stick around and how easy it is to navigate your website. The average blog pages per visit is said to be <2 (for reference), but it never hurts to try to rise above this. How to Increase Your Pages Per Visit:
Because the PPV number is directly related to navigation – your navigational elements need to be extremely clear and concise. If a reader can’t follow your category structure, they’re bound to bounce out after reading the one page they landed on. Here are some other ways to keep someone on your site:

  • Use the “More” tag on your index page. This will push readers to go to a second page to finish reading the article, view multimedia elements, etc.
  • Add “Related Posts” at the bottom. This quickly allows readers to find related content when they are finished reading your post. There are several WordPress plugins that do this automatically!
  • Hotlink your keywords. By hotlinking keywords and categories within your post, users can quickly navigate to find pages full of content related to their interests.
  • Incorporate search functionality. Make sure your search works, and works well!
  • Highlight popular and most recent posts. You can easily incorporate plugins in your sidebar that will pull in the posts with the most comments, the highest pageviews, or your most recent posts. This allows a user to quickly navigate to a post that is of interest, and allows them to join in the discussion.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Ninja Tactics From A BlogWorld Expo Veteran

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Since I blog for a living, it is a given that I’m going to be at BlogWorld Expo this year, too. I consider it the absolute can’t-miss event of the year for bloggers.

Now, I’ve been there twice. I go, I watch, I network. I’d like to pass on a few quick tips that I think will help people attending BlogWorld (or any event, for that matter).

#1 – Use Evernote

As you attend different speaker sessions, you’re going to want to take notes. My guess is that you’re going to have some kind of computing device with you. Then, I’d recommend Evernote.

It is a gorgeous application for note-taking and thought organization. You can even put photos, audio, and files into notes in Evernote. Categorize and tag your notes. For example, you can tag a note with the name of the speaker and the topic. When you think of particular action items while listening to a speaker, just BOLD it to make it stand out. Either way, it makes for a beautiful and organized way to store information.

Even better, it runs on multiple platforms and syncs online – for free. So, carrying a laptop, mobile phone, Ipad or anything like that? Evernote will run on it.

Quick Tip: Snap a picture of a person’s business card and store it in Evernote, tagged with some keywords to tell you why you want to follow up with that person after the event.

#2 – Have USEFUL Business Cards

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Fan Blog or Gossip Blog?

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As a celebrity and entertainment blogger I’ve run both fan blogs and gossip blogs – and they’ve both been fun to write. A fan blog will gush about the celebrity, show off their latest magazine scans, and steer clear (for the most part) of all romantic gossip. Alternately, a gossip blog dishes on all the rumors, picks apart fashion and career choices, and may even make fun of the celebrity. Both can bring in a lot of page views. Both can have a large following. But how do you choose the direction of your celebrity blog?

  1. What Does Your Gut Say? (i.e. how do YOU feel about the celebrity?) If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t run a fan site very well. You’ll want to make too many snarky comments! But if you truly love the celebrity and want to drool over the latest interview in minute detail with HD screenshots, that’s the route you should take.
  2. What Is Your Goal? As with any blog, you have to determine your reason for writing on the topic. Do you want to have fun and get your water-cooler gossip online? Or do you want a place to meet new like-minded fans.
  3. What Is Your Voice? Analyze your writing style to see if you fall more into the snarky, critique, Perez-type category – or the gushing, polite, fan category. It will be easier to blog on a consistent basis if you follow your style. >What Can You See Yourself Writing in 2 Years? Whatever style you go with, you’ve got to stick with it. Even if your celebrity doesn’t. If you run a fan site and your celebrity does something bad – chances are your followers will still support them. So you will need to as well (or risk losing your audience). Same if your celeb changes from a party-crashing socialite to a do-gooder.

Whatever type of celebrity blog you choose, my biggest advice is to blog consistently and blog often. It’s a tough genre to break into and very news-driven. You want to be one of the first people to get information up, or you won’t be the blog that a reader follows.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

What's the Difference Between Tags & Categories?

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You’re writing your blog post and getting ready to upload it. Then all of a sudden you have to assign it to a category. And a tag. So what’s the difference?

WordPress used to only offer a Category option. It was a way to assign your post to a group, that could then be sorted and helped navigation across your blog. You could have parent categories and child categories for drilling down. As you can imagine, depending on your blog topic, the category structure could get very lengthy and out of hand.

So then tags were implemented. Instead of choosing from your category list, you write your tags out (separated by commas). Tags can be a stream of words or phrases and are not limited by your category or theme design. But in order to work, they need to be consistent. The point of a tag is to literally “tag” your post with some keywords/phrases so that a user can navigate to other posts that are tagged in a similar fashion.

Tags and categories are very similar. They both create pages of posts on your site. They can have long or short names depending on your blog design. They both are used for organization and cross-linking within your blog. But there are a few differences as well:

  • Every blog post HAS to be assigned a category. It does not need to be assigned a tag. That’s a requirement of WordPress. Even if your post is “Uncategorized” – that is still a category.
  • Categories are a hierarchical structure. Tags are not.

Depending on how a blogger uses categories and tags, there can be other differences as well. Some blog pros say that you should only assign your post to one category, and then use tags to further define the post (I disagree). Others feel that you can use a tag once across the blog, because its use is to only further define your post (I disagree).

No matter what your method is for categorizing your posts, my suggestion is to stay consistent and hotlink your keywords frequently. Whether you link your words/phrases to a tag or a category, is your decision!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Thanks to Wordle.net

What’s the Difference Between Tags & Categories?

Author:

You’re writing your blog post and getting ready to upload it. Then all of a sudden you have to assign it to a category. And a tag. So what’s the difference?

WordPress used to only offer a Category option. It was a way to assign your post to a group, that could then be sorted and helped navigation across your blog. You could have parent categories and child categories for drilling down. As you can imagine, depending on your blog topic, the category structure could get very lengthy and out of hand.

So then tags were implemented. Instead of choosing from your category list, you write your tags out (separated by commas). Tags can be a stream of words or phrases and are not limited by your category or theme design. But in order to work, they need to be consistent. The point of a tag is to literally “tag” your post with some keywords/phrases so that a user can navigate to other posts that are tagged in a similar fashion.

Tags and categories are very similar. They both create pages of posts on your site. They can have long or short names depending on your blog design. They both are used for organization and cross-linking within your blog. But there are a few differences as well:

  • Every blog post HAS to be assigned a category. It does not need to be assigned a tag. That’s a requirement of WordPress. Even if your post is “Uncategorized” – that is still a category.
  • Categories are a hierarchical structure. Tags are not.

Depending on how a blogger uses categories and tags, there can be other differences as well. Some blog pros say that you should only assign your post to one category, and then use tags to further define the post (I disagree). Others feel that you can use a tag once across the blog, because its use is to only further define your post (I disagree).

No matter what your method is for categorizing your posts, my suggestion is to stay consistent and hotlink your keywords frequently. Whether you link your words/phrases to a tag or a category, is your decision!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Thanks to Wordle.net

Talk with Everyone

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So, you’re deciding whether or not to attend BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010. If you do any sort of blogging, media creation or podcasting this should be a no-brainer, you’ve got to be here. I’ve been to each of the BlogWorld conferences. My first was in 2007 when I went as part of the FuelMyBlog team. I was pretty overwhelmed by how many people were there and excited, energized and enthused by the bubbling creativity that was all around me. At that first conference, I have to admit, I didn’t take nearly enough risks. I didn’t put myself out there as much as I should and I missed major opportunities to make great friends.

Cart-Away

What have I learned, by attending BlogWorld year after year, is that you have to make a point to talk with everyone. Each person attending this conference can learn something from you or teach you something. So it stands to reason that each person that you come in contact with can be part of a fantastic exchange of knowledge. If you go in with an open mind, ears and heart you are going to make some truly epic connections.

For instance you are waiting in line for some wake up fuel (The Starbucks at the convention center was great for this) you are there with other conference goers. Rather than standing around quietly waiting for you Double Soy Vente Caramel Machiato you take a moment to say hello to someone from the conference. Maybe ask them, what did you think of the opening keynote? Something to get the conversation started. And then here is the trick. Truly listen. Don’t whip out your phone and tweet while they give their response. You have this moment to make a great connection. Take that moment and make the most out of every second. Who knows, you might just be meeting you future business partner, podcasting co-host or good friend.

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How Many Twitter Accounts are Too Many?

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How many Twitter accounts do you have? I have two, one for my blog and one for me. Lately, I’ve been feeling as if I have one too many. Though my blog is a brand in itself, just about everyone who follows me on Twitter also follows my blog, this means they’re getting two updates. I don’t like to be spammy, or redundant.

Sometimes having multiple accounts can get a little confusing. For example, if BlogWorld had one blog for each category of this blog, that would be confusing and a little silly. It would funnel followers to different accounts rather than reaching more people via one account. However Nikki, who runs the BlogWorld blog, has a personal Twitter account for her personal brand, and a Twitter account for the BlogWorld blog. That makes more sense.

Here are some things to consider with multiple Twitter accounts:

  • Are the same people following each separate account, regardless of the subject matter or focus? If so, there may not be a need for separate Twitter accounts.
  • Are you Tweeting the same thing on each different account? If so you may not need more than one account.
  • Are folks confused about which account to follow or why you have so many accounts? This can prevent them from following you at all.

Basically if you’re being redundant and saying the same thing to the same people, it might be worth it to re-evaluate why you have more than one account. That’s what I’m doing.

What are your thoughts? Do you find following the same people on multiple Twitter streams is redundant?

Deb Ng is conference director for BlogWorld and Founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network of blogs. Follow her on Twitter at DebNg.

How to Back Up Your Twitter Follow List

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Yesterday Twitter hit a pretty big snafu when an innocent user found a way to make another user follow them! A Turkish man wanted to tell his followers about a band “Accept” – but when he typed “Accept pwns” into the update box on Twitter, he noticed that a user by the name of @pwns now followed him.

Once news hit the Internet, Twitter alerted users to the bug and spent the day trying to remedy the situation. Several users complained that their accounts’ follower and following lists were set to zero in an effort to make the lists accurate.

Which made me think … it probably makes sense to back up my Twitter follow list! Having been on Twitter for several years, I’ve spent a good amount of time building up my list to include interesting people in a variety of different industries. Some usernames know by heart, but certainly not all 1500 of them. So, perhaps its time to back them up.

Here are a variety of tools that make it easier to back up your Twitter follow list (they also allow you to choose your Followers, Tweets, etc):

Once you’ve chosen the items you want to back up, you then have the option to save it as a file on your hard drive. It goes without saying, that you’ll probably need to back up that file as well. You don’t want to repeat my trip to the Apple store last month where I promised the guy at the Genius Bar my first fourth-born child if he could save all of my data.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Top 10 Tips for Using Social Media to Grow Your Blog

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Jane Boursaw

There are thousands of social networking sites, all designed to help you connect with other bloggers, increase traffic to your blog, brand yourself, and build relationships.

In simple terms, social media is the online sharing of opinions, thoughts, and experiences through text, images, audio or video. Social media encompasses blogs, Internet forums, message boards, wikis, podcasts and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t expect to jump into the social media pool and figure it all out right away. It takes a while to 1) figure out which social media sites work best for you; and 2) establish a presence there. Here are my top ten tips for using social media to grow your blog.

  1. Pick one or two communities and build your presence there. It can be tempting to sign up for a bunch of social media sites to spread the word far and wide about your blog. But it’s better to pick one or two sites, really focus on those, and keep them alive with fresh content all the time. Otherwise, you’ll spread yourself too thin and look like a slacker. For example, you wouldn’t want to create a Facebook page and let it stagnate. Like anything else, it’s good to have a plan. Start small. Grow from there.
  2. Don’t jump in and out of the sites you choose. Post and participate in those sites regularly. It takes time to build your voice and reputation. Remember that these sites are all about community, and you need to participate on a regular basis.
  3. Use your brand across all social media sites. Whether it’s your name, your blog name, or your book title, use that across all social media sites. It helps to establish and “brand” you, so that whenever someone sees that name, they’ll immediately think of you.

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