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Don’t Lose It: How to Protect Your Blog

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Session: Don’t Lose It: How to Protect Your Blog
Speaker: Peter Pollock

I LOVE to drive. Driving is one of my favorite pastimes.

I DON’T love maintenance though.

Oil and grease and taking the skin off your knuckles when trying to get some faulty part out of the engine are nowhere near my list of favorite things. I hate them and avoid them as much as is humanly possible.

I think most of us are like that in some areas of our lives. There are maintenance issues that we all avoid, whether it’s with our cars, our washing machines, our computers or even important things like the plumbing…

The problem is though, the mundane, boring, time consuming things like changing the oil or replacing gaskets are often the most important.

If I don’t get the little faults repaired, they turn into big faults and all of a sudden I have no car to drive – and the fun of driving is gone
The same is true of your blog. If you don’t put the time and effort in doing the mundane, boring work of securing your blog from hackers then one day you’ll lose it and it will be gone, irretrievably.

Sony, Fox News, AT&T, the CIA… the list of major sites that have been successfully hacked goes on and on. We’re deceiving ourselves if we think somehow we’ll be immune or even clever enough to defeat all hackers.

Most bloggers don’t have sensitive information which could be stolen, but rather the attacks against them focus on taking them down – which really hurts when you’re trying to build readership.

From my experience as a web host and designer, the number one most important and guaranteed defense against hackers and other blog problems is…

BACK UP!!!!
BACK UP NOW!!!
NO, I MEAN NOW!!!!!

Seriously, backing up your blog regularly and consistently is going to help you keep your blog up and running more than almost anything else.

Don’t rely on your host to back it up, either – and don’t back up to a folder on your hosting space. You need to download a copy of the backup at least weekly and then store that on your computer or an external drive.

This is YOUR data, YOUR blog… don’t rely on anyone else to protect it for you!

My session at BlogWorld L.A. is titled Don’t Lose It: How to Protect Your Blog. Hopefully, everyone who comes will leave having learned new tactics, like making regular backups, on preventing and defending against hacker attacks, and dealing when they strike without panicking.
It may sound a little boring or even over-technical to you but trust me, this is some essential stuff and I’ll keep it simple.

If you love to blog then you need to come to BlogWorld and drop by my session to learn how to protect it so you can keep on loving it!

Learn how and why to:
i. Backup
ii. Upgrade to latest version of WordPress
iii. Use as few plugins as possible and update them all regularly
iv. Delete the Admin account
v. Use strong passwords
vi. Change file permissions / locations and server-side passwords

Are you coming to BlogWorld L.A.? Will you be coming to my session? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to either comment here or send me a tweet. I’m @peterpollock.

I’m excited about going to the conference and would love to meet you there!

If you can’t come, I’ll be making all the session materials available online after the event at http://Peterpollock.com.

Hear what else Peter has to say about his session:

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

New Research Shows Tablet Owners Love Their Tablets

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It’s no secret that Tablets are making a huge impact on society and technology use in general. A new study from GfK MRI’s iPanel proves that fact.

The use of the Tablet is changing how much consumers use video game consoles, read books and newspapers, as well as how often they use computers. Here’s a chart which shows what activities are done less as a result of owning a tablet.

As you can see, 59% of Tablet owners say they use a video game console or handheld device less often, 44% of Tablet owners say they read printed books less often and 42% say they read hard copy newspapers less often.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be having too much of an effect on activities like going to the movies, playing sports or hanging out with friends and family.

“The fact that a majority of game-playing Tablet owners report using a video game console or a handheld video game less often as a result of owning a Tablet does not necessarily mean they are playing video games less often,” said Risa Becker, VP, Research at GfK MRI.  “But it does suggest that Tablet owners are moving their gaming from other devices to the Tablet.”

For those of you who own a Tablet, what activities do you notice yourself doing less of? Also, do you ever write up blog posts from your Tablet?

10 Exceptional Bloggers Answer The Question, “What Is Quality Content?”

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Session: Shane Ketterman
Speaker: Where Did My Traffic Go? How To Create Compelling Content In A Post-Panda World

Some would say nothing has really changed over the past year in terms of quality content.  But I say it certainly has.  Some would also say that quality is quality and the rules remain about the same as always.  But since Google made major changes to their coveted search algorithm throughout this past year, known affectionately as Panda, I have seen a lot of changes in the organic search results and the way Google views your content when it comes to displaying it on that coveted “first page” of the search results.

Google’s Panda update, also called the “high-quality sites” update definitely had an impact on many sites out there in terms of their organic traffic from search.  Originally, it was targeted at sites known as content farms but on April 11th, 2011, it went even further.  On that date, Google rolled out the U.S. Version of it’s Panda update and people who were not running content farms (including myself) saw a major drop in traffic.

In the days that followed and even more recently, we now know that this new algorithm that Google is using has redefined not only the SEO field but had put a new face on what is considered ‘Quality Content’.  In order to determine what quality content is, Google needed to get better at making the determination and in order to do that, it starts off with human quality raters.  These are real people (not machines) who look at hundreds of websites.  As this is occurring, computers (using machine learning languages) are following along with the humans and mimicking them.

Once the computer running the Google search algorithm becomes as good as the human at rating the sites, then it is pushed out onto the Internet.  Also known affectionately as GoogleBot.  If you have Google Webmaster Tools installed (and you should) then you can see crawl rates and references to GoogleBot.  This is the algorithm.

In essence, the new way Google judges your site is from a human point of view.  If this sounds a bit like we are getting closer to singularity, then you aren’t alone. Ha!

So. What happens next is a series of judgement calls that I will be diving into during my talk on Friday, November 4th at 3:00pm , and I’m even going to dive into some very controversial findings that may surprise you. However, here are a few of the new content sins and following that are some responses from a few really well-known and respected bloggers I got when I asked the question, “What do you consider quality content?”

A Few Content Sins

1.  How much of your unique content is above the fold? If you bring up your site, take note of how much actual original content exists within your eye-level view.  This is important because it should be more content than, say, ads.  Also, if there is not a lot of original content above the fold, it can be considered duplicate content.  Here is a great free tool to check your own values.

2.  Trust and Design factor.  How trusted is your site?  Would you trade your credit card information for something on this site?  Would you tell others about the content because it is so amazingly written and unique?  Quality over quantity is at play here.  Also, how is the design of the site? Can you navigate easily? Is the design pleasing to the eyes? Derek Halpern talks a lot about this topic over on Social Triggers and this post he wrote about the headline test is an excellent example.

A few more questions that the algorithm may be seeking are whether this site’s articles are driven by genuine interest or whether it’s written for search engines; do the articles include insightful analysis; and if this were a book, would you bookmark these articles to come back read later?

3.  What is the ratio of ads on each page to the content displayed?  Having a greater ad ratio to content ratio is definitely one of the newer content sins.

4.  Does your site have a lot of affiliate links and auto generated content?  Google sees this as “machines” building your sites and not a real human.

I’ll definitely be presenting more of these at BlogWorld but suffice it to say, it’s a new world in terms of organic search traffic.  Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz says that for those sites out there that are suffering, it’s best to begin improving engagement metrics and start shifting from pure SEO to “web strategist” when thinking of search.

Ask The Bloggers

I asked 10 bloggers ( a lot of them speaking this year at BWELA) a simple question: “What do you consider quality content?” and here are some of the excellent answers:

Chris Garrett – ChrisG.com
“Quality Content is relevant to the audience, easy and interesting to understand, easy consume, and achieves the goals you had in mind for it.”

Tyler Tervooren – Advanced Riskology
“Quality content” has always been the same thing to me ever since I started reading in first grade.

#1: It’s useful and teaches me something I didn’t know before.
#2. It’s entertaining and makes me happy I read it.

Caleb Wojcik – Pocket Changed
“Quality Content is about putting in more effort than you need to when creating. Instead of stopping at the “good enough” stage, you keep at it until what you publish is pure gold.”

Chris C. Ducker – Virtual Business Lifestyle
“In my eyes, quality content is content that is simply jam-packed with MASSIVE value. Ideally, it should motivate, inspire and solve problems for the reader / viewer – and above and beyond everything else, it should change the way that people think about what you’re talking about in the content itself. I always try to make sure that when somebody is done digesting MY content, that they sit back for a minute, or two and then – take ACTION!”

Adam Baker – Man Vs. Debt
“Quality content is simple. Content that helps solve a specific need of a reader or customer in an unique method or style.”

David Risley – DavidRisley.com
“Does it help people accomplish something? I think that’s a pretty good gauge for quality content.”

Amy Parmenter – The Parm Farm
“Quality content is content that serves your audience.  So, what does your audience need?  If you can answer that question and deliver day after day – or even week after week – that’s quality content, and your readers will probably respond and engage accordingly.”

Pace Smith – The Connection Revolution
“Quality content is content that makes a difference in you — that leaves you more inspired or more informed than you were before you read it.”

Ben Eadie – Video Blog Basics
“This is very subjective in my eyes, a beauty is in the eye of the beholder instance. Quality content is content that informs, educates, entertains or any combination of these. Quality does not mean professional writing, does not mean perfect video it does not mean you need to spend a ton of money making the content. As long as it is one or more of the above points of informing, educating, or entertaining to your audience you have made quality content.

Lara Kulpa – LaraKulpa.com
“Quality content comes from the ability to think differently than everyone else. Just because mashable.com writes an article about how G+ users have increased 1297% since it opened up doesn’t mean you should write the same article. Now, if you wanted to write about it, you’d fare better than stating the facts if you compared it to the total number of Twitter followers that Lady Gaga got in her first month (by percentage). Or what the profit loss percentage has been of Company X over the last year. Think different, write different, stop rehashing what the big guys put out there and make it your own. That’s quality content.”

I’d like to thank all of the bloggers who participated and I’d like to ask you what you consider quality content and if that has changed within the last year as Google adjusts it’s algorithms?

Shane Ketterman shows people how to invest in their future selves by offering handcrafted work that helps them discover ways to live and work on their own terms, find their purpose, and live a better life without having to follow the typical templates. His work can be seen at http://www.rewirebusiness.com.

Bye Bye Firefox, Hello Chrome? The Race for Second Place

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According to new data released by StatCounter, Google’s Chrome Web browser could possibly become the second most popular, knocking Firefox down to third place. The data also shows this second place, behind Internet Explorer, could happen no later than December.

Chrome’s popularity has been astonishing and growing rapidly since 2008. They just celebrated their 3rd anniversary.

ComputerWorld shares, “As of Wednesday, Chrome’s global average user share for September was 23.6%, while Firefox’s stood at 26.8%. IE, meanwhile, was at 41.7%.”

What’s the reasoning behind the growth? You could say it’s because Chrome is more user-friendly and so naturally people will start to flock or you could say it’s because it’s owned by Google. I am sure their TV ads are helping somewhat.

Mozilla did release a browser update, Firefox 7, which claims faster web browsing. Have you downloaded it and noticed a difference? Also, which web browser do you use and why?

Make Search Engines Work for a ‘Real’ You

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Ever since the dawn of the Internet, online pioneers have been trying to move as many aspects of human physical life as possible to the digital world. It started with online directories, but it got really serious with the rapid expansion of search-engine technology, rise of the giants such as Yahoo and Google, and recent social media developments.

Ultimately, it evolved to a sort of “digital renaissance” where web technologies are human-centered, allowing us to manage the online identity by ourselves.

Despite the ongoing “online humanism” and the fact that the Big Brothers of the Internet have given us free reins, the things often go wrong. Google results for a person’s name often returns an embarrassing image or video instead of a meticulously produced resume. Furthermore, it may list all your social media connections, and connections of your connections, rather than instantaneously provide a reliable result which truly stands for your online personality.

In the end, the question we are left with is “how to avoid this?”

The only way to do this correctly is to provide search engines with the personal information in the suitable (and searchable) format:

Create Your Personal Blog

The blog is your online home where you should be comfortable to express your own ideas or feelings. Write about your interests, hobbies, and passions and let this be part of your digital self. Remember to choose your domain name wisely – it would be perfect if you could get your first name, but the first name-last name combination might do the job. Also, do not shy away from alternative extensions. If a mainstream extension is not available try alternative one. For instance, .ME is as personal as it gets plus it can be geo-targeted in Webmaster tools. When you are there get your self a couple of cool email addresses.

Open an Account with Every Major Social Network

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc. are chief means of online communication and despite certain shortcomings they are a ‘must have’. Take your time to write down info about you – make it short, personal, fun (if possible) and identical across multiple accounts. Do not forget that you can edit your privacy preferences on Facebook (especially for photos) as well as with Google+ and LinkedIn.

Create a Splash Page

This is a single page that describes you the best. It usually contains a large photo, short bio, and links to your online destinations (personal blogs, social networks etc.). You do not have to create this on your own – there are many services around the web that offer this functionality. For instance, try About.ME and/or Flavors.ME. Both of the services give you complete control over the data (filtering), provide analytics and may be the best aggregators of your personal content scattered around the Web.

Have Fun

All of this will not work if you are not having fun or are afraid of technology. Keep in mind that privacy can be controlled to a certain extent and that these tips may do wonders for your online identity.

If you are still not convinced that this can make search engines work for you, might want to take one step at the time. Maybe it is too early for a blog, but a splash page could be a good training and possibly a precursor. Also playing with social networks in a responsible manner cannot hurt. Just keep in mind that you are not taking a leap into dark, but into digital.

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.

Google Analytics Goes Real-Time, Adds Premium Accounts

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Google Analytics made two big announcements today that might get those of you who love checking those stats numbers very, very excited. First announcement, Google Analytics is finally going real-time.

Google Analytics Real-time offers a set of new reports showing you what’s happening on your site right now. Did you just send out a tweet and you want to see if it did anything for your traffic numbers? With real-time, you can immediately see the impact of your social media campaigns.

This new feature will only be available within the new version of analytics. They’ve only turned on real-time for a limited number of people, but it will soon be available to everyone within the coming weeks. Sign up for early access here.

The second announcement was that of their new premium accounts. Google has learned from some of their largest customers they need a bit more than the current version of Google Analytics gives them. Here’s a summary from the Analytics blog of what the premium account covers:

  • Extra processing power – increased data collection, more custom variables and downloadable, unsampled reports
  • Advanced analysis – attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions
  • Service and support – experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support
  • Guarantees – service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting

They tested this new premium account during their pilot phase with companies such as Gucci, Travelocity, TransUnion, eHarmony. The service will be available for a fixed annual fee. Find out more here.

What do you think of these two announcements by Google Analytics? In regards to the real-time feature, I say thank goodness!

Google Brings Dynamic Views to Its Free Blogging Tool Blogger

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Google announced new layouts for their free blogging tool Blogger called Dynamic Views. These look amazing! The new themes are powered by AJAX, HTML5 and CSS3.

Dynamic views reportedly load 40% faster, as well as provide their blog readers with more enjoyment and discovery of their content. Some of the new features include infinite scrolling, keyboard shortcuts for quickly flipping through posts, lightbox-style posts for easy viewing and more.

Here’s a video look into the new themes.

Here’s a list of the descriptions and examples of the different theme choices via the Blogger Buzz blog:

  • Classic (Gmail): A modern twist on a traditional template, with infinite scrolling and images that load as you go
  • Flipcard (M loves M) – Your photos are tiled across the page and flip to reveal the post title
  • Magazine (Advanced Style) – A clean, elegant editorial style layout
  • Mosaic (Crosby’s Kitchen) – A mosaic mix of different sized images and text
  • Sidebar (Blogger Buzz Blog) – An email inbox-like view with a reading page for quick scrolling and browsing
  • Snapshot (Canelle et Vanille) – An interactive pinboard of your posts
  • Timeslide (The Bleary-Eyed Father) – A horizontal view of your posts by time period

If you would like to preview your favorite Blogger blog with the new Dynamic Views, you can do so here.

So tell us – what do you think of the new Blogger Dynamic Views?

Report: Apple iPad Expected to Lead the Tablet Market Into 2014

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A new report was released by Gartner today with some stats and trends on tablet brands. What was revealed is no surprise. The Apple iPad is leading the way and it’s projected that it will continue to do so for several years to come.

According to the report, in 2010 the iPad accounted for 83% of tablet sales worldwide. The number was down, just slightly by about 10% for 2011, accounting for 73.4% of the market.

What does the future hold for the iPad? More good news for Apple.

“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

The complaint that seems to be holding back Android Tablet sales is high prices and a weak user interface. As one who own an Android tablet, I concur.

Here’s a table put together by Gartner showing current and projected tablet sales.

Of course there’s the rumored Amazon tablet that some have said will be strong competition for the iPad. The Amazon tablet is said to feature a 7-inch screen and will be available in November for $250.

Do you own an iPad, Android Tablet or none of the above?

46 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Triberr

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Triberr

I want to dislike Triberr. I really do. When it comes to social media, the a-word – automation – is worse than any four-letter word out there. But everything I’ve read about this service really impresses me! The concept is simple – you join a tribe with bloggers you like and everyone in the tribe tweets out everyone else’s links. What makes me really like this concept is that not only do you have control over what tribes you join, ensuring that you aren’t promoting bloggers you don’t want to promote, but you also have the option to moderate the links you tweet out. So, even though it’s automation, it’s automation with a lot of moderation…and I like that.

Without a doubt, there are people who don’t like Triberr. As with everything, there are people going to take advantage of the tool, trying to game it for their own benefits. There’s also the social media “noise” factor. Those who don’t like Triberr definitely make some good points.

I don’t personally belong to Triberr…yet. Right now, as far as I can tell, it’s still invite-only. But it’s a really great concept and I’m starting to see more and more bloggers signing up to at least give it a try. Luckily, members are also starting to talk about their experiences with Triberr on their blogs as well, so today, I wanted to share with you some of the brilliant posts I’ve read about Triberr.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

4 Things Triberr Reminded Me About Twitter by Neal Schaffer

In this post, Neal talks about his experiences with Triberr in a more traditional type of review, but then he goes on to talk in depth about some things using Triberr has taught him about the way people use Twitter. There are good and bad aspects of every social media tool, and I think Neal does a great job talking about both the good and bad of Triberr. Check it out and then find Neal on Twitter @NealSchaffer.

A Leap of Faith that Brought a Metric-Ton of Traffic by Robert Dempsey

I think this post by Robert Dempsey does a great job of giving readers a little overview of Triberr, but what I really like is seeing his stats and how Triberr has affected his traffic. Robder sums up his experience in three words: holy monkey butt. Check out the post to find out why and then follow him on Twitter @rdempsey.

How Triberr Achieved Massive Success by Beny Schonfeld

This is an awesome video interview with Dino, one of the co-founders of Triberr. He talks about what Triberr is and why is has become so successful, and as an added bonus, if you’re willing to send out a tweet about it, you can download a free ap success guide with all the lessons you can learn from Triberr’s success. After watching the video, check out Beny on Twitter @appeando.

BONUS: With so many posts about Triberr, it was hard to pick just three to highlight. If you’re on the fence about checking out this social media tool, the post you definitely should read is Review of Triberr: The Twitter Promotion Powerhouse by Ben Barden (@benbarden). This has detailed lists of pros and cons of Triberr and is, in my opinion, one of the best posts out there on this topic!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about Triberr? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Finding Post Ideas

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

New Posterous Spaces Makes It a Breeze to Share with the Right People

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Blogging tool Posterous (created in 2008)  introduced a new system this week called Posterous Spaces. It features more up-to date sharing and social tools.

They announced the new system on their blog saying, “Why did we create it? Simple – because we think you should be able to share online like you do in real life. That’s why you’ll find Posterous Spaces has intuitive privacy controls that make it a breeze to share with the right people, every time. ”

Here’s a video which explains Posterous Spaces.

Introducing Posterous Spaces from Posterous on Vimeo.

The company also announced Posterous Spaces for the iPhone. You can have all of the functionality right in your pocket.

Other new features they’ve added include “five new professionally-designed themes, a beautiful new reading experience, 3x faster loading times, slick new profile pages and more”.

According to cnet, Posterous still isn’t making any money, but say they are doing well and are focusing on user growth instead of revenues.

Do you use Posterous or know anyone who does? If you use the blogging tool, tell us what you think of the new system and if this will take the company to the next level.

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