Archive for December, 2009

PostHeaderIcon 11 More Blog Tips from the Archives: Best of ProBlogger

Happy New Year (at least it is here in Australia)! I hope that as you read this you’re full of all kinds of inspiration and motivation for the year ahead.

As the last post in our Best of ProBlogger 2009 series I wanted to share a list of 11 more general topic popular posts from ProBlogger. Enjoy!

  1. 13 Quick Tips to Make Your Blog Stand Out from the Crowd
  2. Let Me Show You Inside a Secret Blogging Alliance
  3. How to Create Great First Impression on New Readers and Convert them into Loyal Readers
  4. How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level…. Once You’ve got a Start
  5. 7 Questions to Ask on Your Blog to Get More Reader Engagement
  6. 5 Plugins to Make Your WordPress Blog Blazing Fast
  7. 10 Ways to Get Fit While Blogging
  8. 13 Things I’ve Learned About Successful Blogging [My 5000th Post on ProBlogger]
  9. 8 Tips for Building Community on Your Blog
  10. 6 Reasons Why You Need to Consider Email as a Communication Strategy on Your Blog
  11. Brainstorm 10 Ways to Expand Your Blog: Homework

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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11 More Blog Tips from the Archives: Best of ProBlogger

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PostHeaderIcon No, Tomorrow Is Not The Start Of A New Decade


If you’re thinking tomorrow is the start of a new decade, you are one year too early. The next decade doesn’t doesn’t start until January 1, 2011. It seems when it comes to the calendar, many people can’t count. I remember when everyone thought Y2K was the start of the new millennium. Those are the same people who think the new decade starts tomorrow.

There Was No Year Zero

Simple logic and the ability to count will tell you when a new decade or millennium begins and end. A decade is ten years. Since there was no year zero, ten years is year 1 to 10 and a new decade starts at year 11. In other words, the last decade was 2001 to 2010. We are heading into the end of the decade, not the start of new one.

I guess this mistake isn’t as a bad as the Y2K mistake when everyone though January 1, 2000 was the start of the 21st century and the new millennium. Way more people were talking about that as year 2000 approached. It’s a good thing I only have to deal with that once every 1000 years. However, enough people are calling 2010 the start of a new decade to irritate me enough to write this post.

I feel better now. Happy New Year! :P

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PostHeaderIcon Checking Blog Privacy Settings

As a result of last nights post, I dove in and added a check to my Robots Meta plugin that checks whether you’re allowing search engines to spider your site.

If not, it’ll throw an ugly warning on each and every page until you fix it:

The code for it is easy, and as I’d like other plugins to start using it as well, let me give it to you here:

function blog_public_warning() {
  if ( '0' == get_option('blog_public') ) {
    echo "<div id='message' class='error'><p>";
    echo "<strong>Robots Meta Issue: You're blocking access to robots.</strong>";
    echo " You must <a href='options-privacy.php'>go to your Privacy settings</a>";
    echo " and set your blog visible to everyone.";
    echo "</p></div>";
  }
}
add_action('admin_footer', 'blog_public_warning');

That’s easy enough, I think each and every WordPress plugin to do with SEO should do this check, to be honest.

Checking Blog Privacy Settings is a post from Joost de Valk's Yoast – Tweaking Websites.A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don’t want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!


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PostHeaderIcon New Wave of Transparency: Will Your Business Be a Window or a Wall in 2010


Business-TransparencyI was a teenager who kept a journal.

Hiding the journal was essential to keeping it. After all, it kept my thoughts safe from the prying eyes of my mother and sister.  

Over the years, nurtured by the sharing capabilities of the internet, I became less concerned that my parents and sister were going to read my journal. In fact, I left many of them at my house when I went away to college.

What changed? Well, the web allowed me to have more two-way conversations with my family and friends. Plus, by the time I left for college, much of that information in the journal was now grossly out of date or practically public knowledge anyway — why was I working so hard before to keep it safe? I benefited more by sharing than I ever did by holding my cards close to my chest.

In 2010, Public is the New Default

If you’re company is entering 2010 with the same mentality as a teenager protecting her diary, you’ve come to the wrong decade. I know for some businesses, fear of losing an edge over the competition or fear of backlash prevents them truly embracing the spirit of the age. Earlier today, Eric Schonfield of TechCrunch wrote about this change saying it “represents a major shift in the social fabric, and it is only now just getting started. If you thought there was a lot of hair-pulling over privacy in 2009, just wait until 2010. Facebook’s new privacy policies which favor more public sharing, will be a big driver of this shift, as will the continued adoption of Twitter, which by its very design makes personal utterances public. Then there are startups like Blippy that go even further by turning every single purchase into a public statement.”

Though Eric (and Techcrunch) have a tendency to makes this shift sound a massive headache, I am optimistic about the evolution of the web. It’s transformed from a dark, Batcave like lair where you weren’t sure who Batman really is or what side he works for – into a transparent universe where information flows more freely. On the 2010 web, we know who Batman is – he’s Bruce Wayne – and he blogs and tweets about his adventures daily.

Become a Leader in Business Transparency in Your Industry

As your business enters the new decade, consider your options. Instead of simply following along, work on becoming the leader in business transparency for your industry. You could encourage customers to share their ideas and write about their experience with your brand in a public forum. Shoot videos that give an intimate glimpse into the way your company operates like this video about the importance of gluten-free equipment by allergen-free food maker Kinnikinnick Foods. Allow your employees to blog, build public relationships, and share their ideas about your industry with the world. Provide a way for your customers (and everyone, really) to peek in and see how your software is performing. You can even keep a Twitter list of your employees and encourage them to share their personality and represent your brand daily.
 
Or, you could continue to wait for a different world. Either way, we are definitely headed toward a new wave of transparency in 2010 –  many of the social networks we’ve talked about this year have moved far and away from a private default (choosing to make some things public) to a public default (pre-selecting the things we want to make private).

Will your business be a window or a wall in 2010?  One thing I do know – it’s way easier for your prospects to climb in through a window. 

photo by phil h

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PostHeaderIcon 3 Marketing Lessons Inspired by MTV’s Jersey Shore


Marketing-Lessons-From-Jersey-ShoreIn case you haven’t noticed, MTV’s new reality show, Jersey Shore, is creating quite a stir. The latest drama occurred this week when the actual Jersey shore community, Seaside Heights, rejected the show’s depiction of the seaside town claiming it portrayed the population as skimpy, rude party goers. Still, even with the controversy, this reality show about 20-something Italian Americans living in a posh beach home continues to thrive in conversation online. 

If you have never been to the city of Seaside Heights in the show, it’s hard to imagine the culture being portrayed, so I can see why everyone is so curious (and why many families in the community are concerned). No matter how you feel about the show, Jersey Shore has developed a passionate niche audience and culture which has spawned a boat-load of conversations. 

Since I’ve spent time living and working on the Jersey Shore, I felt qualified to share a few good marketing lessons that can be derived from MTV’s Jersey Shore phenomenon.

With that being said, I want to assure you that I don’t have orange skin or six-pack abs. 

Add Some Personality To Your Marketing Mix.

I’ve heard break downs on each cast member of the show, and it didn’t take me long to realize that they stand-out because each person is a character. One even refers to himself as “The Situation.”  By having a distinct personality in your marketing mix, your audience will feel like they are interacting with a person, not a faceless company.

Be a Little Controversial.

I doubt anyone thinks that MTV was clueless about possible reactions to their use of the word “guido” and that video of a female cast member being punched. Though it’s only been on a short time, Jersey Shore’s steady stream of controversial episodes has generated a large amount of press for the show and spread the word far beyond their usual audience. While I don’t suggest filming people getting punched to attract a conversation about your business (unless it’s 1,000 frames per second with your coworker’s permission in controlled conditions), I do think it’s important to step out of the box every now and then and drum up some controversy. One of my favorite SEO/Branding bloggers, Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media does a great job of using controversy in a good way.

Capitalize On Buzz-Worthy Conversations

In the past 3 days, I’ve received a number of emails about the Jersey Shore Name Generator and Alyssa Milano’s “Evolution: Jersey Shore” video (which is a spoof on Jersey Shore AND Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty.) In both cases, the marketing teams at Unlikely Words and Funny Or Die are capitalizing on the buzz around a current event or trend to draw in traffic. Create your own content that references the topic for your own purposes. (*cough, cough*)

Ultimately, it is hard to determine what will grab the attention of your target audience. But, when something shows up on the cultural radar, smart marketers should take a step back and analyze what they can learn from it.

Now it’s time to do more sit-ups.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Thanks to this Months Sponsors

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I’d like to say thanks to our sponsors this month and throughout the year. Without them, there wouldn’t be regular posts here.

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Advertisement: Find out how to get your bloggers talking about your products ViralConversations.com.

This post originally came from Michael Gray who is an SEO Consultant. Be sure not to miss the Thesis WordPress Theme review.

Thanks to this Months Sponsors

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PostHeaderIcon 8 Blogging Tips for Beginners: Best of ProBlogger

Todays post in the Best of ProBlogger 2009 series is all about the newer blogger and is a collection of some of our more popular posts this year that were aimed at the beginner blogger.

  1. Starting Your First Blog – 29 Tips, Tutorials and Resources for New Bloggers
  2. 9 First Step Goals for New Bloggers
  3. Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes
  4. Crawl Before You Walk – 6 Step by Step Instruction for Starting Your First Blog
  5. 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging
  6. Confessions of a Blogger
  7. Starting a Successful Blog is Like Planning an Invasion
  8. 7 Ways to Turn a Blog Post Upside Down and Get More Comments

What advice would you give a beginner blogger just starting out?

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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PostHeaderIcon Got a Magic Mouse for Christmas? Then You Need MagicPrefs


I received an Apple Magic Mouse during the Halloween Edition of Dot Com Pho. We all thought it look great but after using it for a few days, we concluded that there wasn’t any magic in it at all.

The problem with the Magic Mouse was the software. It was very limited and didn’t give the mouse any extra functions. The only thing it can do was scroll and go forward and back on a web page, which most mice can do. We were hoping the Magic Mouse would function like the multifunction trackpad used by the Macbook Pro but it turned out to be nothing more than a sleek looking mouse. That has all changed with the release of MagicPrefs, a free piece of software that brings out magic in the Magic Mouse.

MagicPrefs is a free menubar application for OSX which aims to improve the functionality and configuration options of the Apple Magic Mouse.

It features the ability to bind a variable number of finger clicks, taps, swipes, pinch and other gestures to functions like Middle Click , Hold Down Both Mouse Buttons , Spaces , Expose, Dashboard etc.

Touch Sensitivity implements a single point control for a number of factors impacting the algorithms of the taps, swipes, pinche and other gestures.

Tracking Speed adds the ability to increase the maximum mouse speed by a extra 200%.

Also featured is a real-time display of the fingers touching the surface of the mouse that you can enable to test and monitor the way the mouse sees your input.

MagicPrefs

If you got a Magic Mouse for Christmas, you need to download MagicPrefs right now. My Magic Mouse has been sitting in its display case before MagicPrefs came out. Now, the mouse is truly magical.

Discover the SECRETS I’ve Learned to go from zero a month to over $40,000 a month from blogging. Download Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com for FREE!



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PostHeaderIcon 36 blogging articles you loved the most in 2009

Best of blogging

2009 was the first full year of How To Make My Blog and it has been quiet a year. There has been an exceptional response to the content featured on my blog. More than 250,000 unique visitors, 490,000+ page views, 3,500 comments, visits from 200+ countries and more than 150 blog posts published.

Join me as I travel back in time and remember this year’s best articles as voted by your page views, comments and social media shares.

Blogging productivity

WordPress blogging

Blog design

WordPress blog plugins

Blog post writing

Blogging celebrities

Blog traffic

Blog SEO

Social media

Make money blogging

Blogging tips

Happy blogging in 2010

I would like to say a big thank you to all the HowToMakeMyBlog readers, thanks for being the part of the experience. Please share this post with your friends that need some blogging inspiration and advice. I wish you all the best in the 2010!
Image by Optical Illusion

See more:

  1. Improve your blogging with WordPress blog plugins
  2. How to optimize your blog for mobile devices
  3. 8 additional optimization steps for your WordPress blog
  4. Blog Search Engine Optimization SEO plugins

Thanks for reading HowToMakeMyBlog.com

My name is Marko Saric, I am a blog consultant and I help bloggers succeed. Subscribe to HowToMakeMyBlog RSS feed for more free blogging tips.

You can also fan me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.


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PostHeaderIcon Web Designer Mag should fix its SEO

Ok I just had to post this, as it’s too funny. I got a Google Alert this afternoon for this post, which mentioned one of my plugins as being listed by Web Designer Magazine. So, I Googled them, as the post didn’t link to them, and got this result:

Web Designer Magazine results in Google

Notice something? I know I did: there’s no description there. So I clicked on and checked the page to see what could cause that, finding it was easy:

<meta name='robots' content='noindex,nofollow' />

It was listed right above the EditURI line that WordPress puts in by default, telling me they forgot to uncheck a box (that get’s checked by default on some auto installers, I’ve been told on Twitter):

One issue though… If Google had actually seen that tag, it wouldn’t have listed the site at all. So there had to be something else. And of course, there is: meet Webdesigner Magazine’s robots.txt:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Sitemap: http://www.webdesignermag.co.uk/sitemap.xml.gz

The first two lines there prevent Google from indexing the site entirely. But it just became funnier… The fourth line was added by a plugin they’re running, pointing search engine bots at their XML sitemap. Yes, the same bots they just forbade entry to their entire site… If you check out their XML sitemap, you’d notice they’re running Arne Brachold’s Google XML Sitemap Generator

So: they installed an XML sitemap plugin, let’s see what else they did: ah… Cool! They’re running All In One SEO too! Now AIOSEO is “ok”, except: it doesn’t warn you for stupidities like these… Might be a darn good feature for an SEO plugin to check whether your site is actually allowing crawlers to come in, don’t you think? Ah well, nothing can be perfect.

Anyway, this tells me one thing: Web Designer Mag needs help with their WordPress install. And they need it bad. If you work for them, and read this, feel free to contact me on Twitter or through the contact form. I’d be happy to help!

Web Designer Mag should fix its SEO is a post from Joost de Valk's Yoast – Tweaking Websites.A good blog needs good hosting, you don’t want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Use WestHost, and you’ll never have issues again!


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