Archive for August, 2010

PostHeaderIcon New Poll Question – Do You Use Video On Your Blog?

Do you use videos on your blog? If so, then add yourself to the poll. If not, then add yourself to the poll as well. I’m interested to know how much of my readership is taken advantage of video blogging. I use video a lot in my blog. From the weekly Dot Com Pho episodes to videoing the crazy fun at the various trade shows, video can get you message across far more effectively than plain text. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is a video worth?

If you are running videos on your blog, I’ll be interested in knowing what video blogging gears you’re running. Please let me know in the comments. I use a Canon SD980 digital camera and a Canon HFS100 AVCHD camcorder for my video work. iMovie 09 does all the processing, including uploading to YouTube.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.



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PostHeaderIcon Social Media SEO Success with Blogging

Army Golden Knights

Army Golden Knights: SFC Dave Herwig (@gkdave), SGM Steve Young (@gksteve), LTC Joe Martin (gkjoe)

My presentation on how to leverage Social Media SEO to improve the reach and effectiveness of blog content for marketing at OpenCa.mp DFW this weekend ended up being a lot of information in a very short period of time. The use of a video interview I did with Brian Clark as the segue into my presentation ate into some of the 30 minutes I had to present plus I simply had too many slides.

(Thanks to Lt Colonel Joe Martin for the photo taken right after the presentation. His team were literally sponges for information at the event.)

The good news is that there’s Slideshare, so I’ve embeded a copy of that presentation below. Chris Pirillo and Brian Clark gave witty, informative and entertaining presentations on blogging and copywriting for blogs before me, so the stage was set to talk about marketing that blog content.

Marketers familiar with “Push and Pull” can relate to Social Media being the push, where (along with listening & engagement) you syndicate, update and share your content via social channels. The pull is SEO, where you optimize that content with customer centric keywords they can use on search engines to easily find your content ahead of the competition.

Cycle of Social Media & SEOMy presentation shared a model that I call the Cycle of Social & SEO that starts with creating, optimizing and promoting content along with listening to and growing social networks. As the relevant content gets shared socially and others link to it, the exposure and traffic builds momentum to a point where search traffic and the social community you’ve fostered provides priceless data via social media and web analytics on what content to create and share on a go forward.

Guessing what keywords and what social channels your customers are connected to is the reason why so many companies don’t see an impact from their efforts. Being smart from the start and planning on developing a cycle that continues to provide value and refine effectiveness at meeting customer search and social media needs is a win for all.

Companies in the marketing space like Marketo, PRWeb and our own agency at TopRank Marketing have made strong commitments to content as well as SEO and Social Media with the payoffs coming in the form of competitive search visibility and growing social communities.

We’ve recently been engaged by another well known company in the online marketing space that sees the value in both our strategic marketing & implementation expertise, but more importantly, is making a commitment to content and it’s role in customer acquisition and customer retention through Social Media & Search Optimization.

Check out the presentation below and let me know what you think.

Better Blog Marketing with Social SEOView more presentations from TopRank Online Marketing.


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PostHeaderIcon Mobile SERPS & Usability

Posted by Suzzicks

So here is the deal: Traditional websites frequently rank in mobile search results – especially if you are searching from a SmartPhone. What you may not realize is that the converse is also true – mobile pages can rank well in traditional search. This is quite an interesting phenomenon, and something that we need to address strategically.

Mobile Search-Subway Sandwiches

All One Index Soon?

Why does this happen?

Well, Google has said that they really don’t want to index two versions of the web – one mobile and one traditional. Even though they do have different mobile-specific bots, they want those their bots all to feed into one index. Hmmmm….Is it just an interesting coincidence that they just launched the multi-format site mapping in Google, where you can combine all the different types of sitemaps that we previously had to submit separately? Possibly. At least it that could indicate a shift away from multiple indexes.

Did anyone notice that this shift happened pretty soon after Caffeine, as did the re-launch of Google Images, and some significant changes in Google Places?

Hmmmm…..It seems that now things might be all moving to one index with different types of ‘indexing attributes’ that will replace the need for different indexes in the long run. That would actually do lots of things that Caffeine has done, like speed up searches, and allow them to algorithmically prioritize things by freshness more effectively….

Different Indexes for Smart Phones and Feature Phones

But I have gone astray – We were talking about mobile. We can’t know for sure if there are different mobile indexes. There definitely was in the beginning of ‘mobile’ – you could always tell because the results were SO bad! Even in the past two years, I have seen mobile search results that were way off base – For example, the top result for a search on ‘subway sandwiches’ was a Gawker article for a long time; then Subway.com, and then m.subway.com. I just checked, and they have finally sorted that one out! About 18 months ago Google changed the location of their mobile engine from m.Google.com to Google.com/m, and it did seem that the ‘/m’ feature phone search results were a bit better than they had been, but who knows!

As I have mentioned, there are different mobile search engine crawlers that are evaluating your website as if it was being rendered on a mobile phone. These mobile bots actually have generic and more specific user agent strings that will spoof actual phone handset models in order to understand how the website would behave on the different phones. While they don’t do a great job, Google actually does try to only provide you with mobile search results that will actually work well on your particular handset – What that means is that there are slight variations on search results from phone to phone.

There are some simple ways to check what I am now describing as ‘mobile indexing attributes.’ I always start mobile rankings research by doing a normal search from my traditional computer. We know more about the traditional algorithm, so that sets my baseline for comparison. From there, I will do the same search from Google.com/m to see the differences. In most cases, the websites that are included in the traditional search results will be included in the SmartPhone search results – but sometimes in a slightly different order.

You don’t have to have tons of different phones to get a sense for what is going on in mobile search. There are a couple quick tips and tricks to help you do this all from the web. The first thing to know, is that you can do searches from your computer directly from Google.com/m. The results you get will be generic ‘SmartPhone’ search results. From that page, you can move on to see the results for the same query on feature phones by simply scrolling to the bottom of the page and changing the drop-down that says ‘web’ to say ‘mobile,’ and hit ‘go.’ This set of results will be the generic FeaturePhone results.

Mobile-Friendly Signals for the Search Engines

The best way to indicate to the search engines that your page is mobile-ready, (beyond including the ‘no-transform’ tag, discussed more in another post called What is Mobile Search Engine Transcoding?),  is to provide the search engines pages that will work well on mobile phones. Handheld stylesheets can be included on any page on your site. If you don’t have mobile-specific pages, you can use these stylesheets to tell mobile browsers how you would like your existing pages to look when they are displayed on a mobile phone. These are especially good if you would like to change the order that your content appear in when it is displayed on a mobile phone and they should also be used to prevent the need for left-to right scrolling when your site is displayed on a mobile phone.

If you have mobile specific pages, you should set up user detection on your site to ensure that, regardless of which pages rank (mobile or traditional) that users are presented with the appropriate version of the page, based on the device that they are using to access the page. If they are on a mobile phone, they should automatically be sent to the mobile version of a page – even if it is the traditional page that actually ranked in search engines. Conversely, if they are on a traditional computer,  and happen to click on a mobile version of a page, they should be automatically be sent to the version of the page that is meant for traditional-computer viewing.

Last, include a page-to-page link in the upper left hand corner of each page that allows people to move between the mobile and traditional versions of the pages, if they can’t find what they are looking for, or need to over-ride the user-agent detection and redirection. The upper left-hand corner is the ideal location for this link, because it is always the first thing that people will be able to see, even if there is a mobile rendering  problem with the site. If something is wrong with the way the page looks on someone’s phone, you don’t want to make them search all over for the button to fix it!

You should still crate the handheld stylesheet for your mobile-specific pages and traditional pages as well, just in case something goes wrong. They are a good signal to the search engines that the pages should be ranked in mobile search results.

Mobile Usability Options:

  1. Mobile/Traditional Hybrid Pages Only: One set of pages that has two or more style sheets – One for traditional web rendering, usually called ‘screen,’ and one for mobile web rendering, usually called ‘handheld.’ An important note is that the iPhone will automatically pull the ‘screen’ stylesheet, unless you give other instructions.
    _
  2. Traditional Pages for Computer and Mobile Pages for all Phones: Two sets of pages – one to be shown on traditional computers and one to be shown on mobile phones. The file structure of the mobile pages should be an exact replica of the traditional pages, with the addition of the ‘.m’ or ‘/m’. User-agent detection and redirection delivers feature phone users and smart phone users here automatically if they click on a link to a traditional page.

    Always include links between the mobile site and the traditional site in the upper left hand corner of the page. Both sets of pages should have a handheld stylesheet to control mobile rendering. User-agent detection and redirection should also be in-place to automatically deliver people on traditional computers who click on the mobile pages to the traditional version of the page instead.
    _

  3. Mobile/Traditional Hybrid Pages for Traditional and SmartPhone, Mobile Specific Pages for Feature Phones: Two sets of pages; one set of pages that are the mobile/traditional hybrid pages that use separate external stylesheets to be rendered on traditional computer screens and smart phones. The second set of pages are mobile specific pages, hosted on an ‘m.’ or a ‘/m’. The file structure should be an exact replica of the traditional file structure, with the addition of the ‘m’ or ‘/m’. User-agent detection and redirection delivers feature phone users here automatically if they click on a link to a traditional page while they are on a feature phone.

    Always include links between the mobile site and the traditional site in the upper left hand corner of the page. Both sets of pages should have a handheld stylesheet to control mobile rendering. User-agent detection and redirection should also be in-place to automatically deliver people on traditional computers who click on the mobile pages to the traditional version of the page instead.
    _

  4. Traditional Pages for Computers, Graphical Mobile Pages for Smart Phones, Text Mobile Pages for Feature Phones: Three sets of pages. Traditional pages for traditional computers, touch-optimized pages for smart phones with touch screens, and mobile-optimized pages for feature phones and smart phones without touch screens. User-agent detection and redirection delivers users with touch screens to the touch-screen pages if they click on a link while they are on a touch-screen phone. User-agent detection and redirection delivers users on feature phones and smart phones that don’t have a touch-screen to the mobile-optimized pages if they click on a link while they are on one of those types of phones. In this scenario, you will need two mobile-specific subdomains or subdirectories. I recommend using ‘touch.’ or /’touch’ for the touch-screen pages, and ‘m.’ or /m’ for the mobile-optimized pages.

    Always include links between the mobile site and the traditional site in the upper left hand corner of the page. Both sets of pages should have a handheld stylesheet to control mobile rendering. User-agent detection and redirection should also be in-place to automatically deliver people on traditional computers who click on either version of the mobile pages to the traditional version of the page instead.

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PostHeaderIcon Tomorrow We Triple the Price on Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers Grab a Copy Today for just $9.97

copywriting scorecard bloggersAlmost two weeks ago we launched the brand new ProBlogger eBook – the Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers.

Written by SEO specialist copywriter Glenn Murray it’s an eBook designed to help bloggers get their posts optimized for readers and search engines so that their posts reach their potential (you can read all about it here in more detail).

The feedback from those who have bought it has been incredibly positive with lots of great reviews hitting the web.

We are about to Triple the Price!

We launched this new eBook at the special introductory price of $9.97 and intended to put the price up to $14.97 this week. However – as often happens with launches like this – we’ve changed that plan.

The price is still going up on at midnight on 1 September (EST US time) but it is actually going up to $29.97 USD!

Yes – we’re tripling the price and we’re doing it for two reasons:

  1. we were told time and time again by those who have bought the eBook that $9.97 was a steal and that $14.97 was too cheap too.
  2. we decided to update the eBook significantly. One of the pieces of feedback that we got about version 1 was that it would be more useful with a working example that illustrated how to use the Scorecard. As a result – Glenn has spent time over the last 2 weeks adding a lot of new content to the eBook.

What’s in the Update?

The update is pretty significant – it adds a lot to the original version (it’s now over 100 pages) including:

  • NEW — A 33-page worked example, where we score one of my own posts and discuss our reasoning.
  • NEW — Electronic scorecard that automatically totals your score. You just select Yes or No.
  • NEW — Single page printable scorecard, containing all the the recommendations, but scaled to print on a single page.
  • NEW — Recommendation on using sentence case or title case for headings.
  • NEW — Expanded discussion of SEO copy.
  • NEW — Improved navigation, with bookmarks displaying to the left of the PDF, so no need to scroll back and forth between Recommendations and Scorecard.

Add to Cart

Who gets the update?

In short – everyone will get the new version.

As of 1 September at midnight – anyone buying the eBook at $29.97 will get version 2 of it automatically. We’ll also be sending it to anyone who bought version 1 before that time.

So if you’ve already bought it – you’ll get an email sent to you (your paypal email address) with download details of version 2.

If you’ve not yet bought it – but want to get it before the price rises – you can buy version 1 today and you’ll also get an email with download details of version 2 when it is released.

Again – everyone will get the new version – it’s just a matter of how much you pay for it. If you buy before midnight on 1 September you’ll secure it for $9.97 – if you wait until after that time, you’ll pay $29.97. The choice is yours.

More Updates and Bonuses?

Will there be more updates? At this point Glenn and I are pretty happy with how the eBook looks and works and are not planning too many more updates to it. However we are putting together some extra bonuses and resources for those who buy it.

We’re hesitant to announce them right now as they’re partly based upon reader feedback but we already offer those who buy the Scorecard a newsletter which we’ll be using to send send some extra content/tips out with. We’re also looking at running a Q&A podcast session for those who’ve bought the eBook.

So yes – there will be a few bonuses for those who have bought the Copyrighting Scorecard for Bloggers.

Grab Your Copy Today

copywriting-scorecard-bloggers-1.jpgSo if you’ve been umming and aaahing about whether to grab the Scorecard – it’s time to make a decision and lock it in at the intro price.

We’ll not be returning to the price of $9.97 again as it is only becoming more valuable as we add content to it.

Grab your copy today.

Add to Cart

This Post is from: ProBlogger Blog Tips.

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Tomorrow We Triple the Price on Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers
Grab a Copy Today for just $9.97

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PostHeaderIcon Flying United Airlines Business Class

Last Friday on my way to the Epic PlayBoy Mansion Party (post coming soon, pics already up here when I checked in at the Lincoln Airport I got upgraded to “Business Class”.  I looked up from the kiosk and asked the United Representative what Business Class was and she said its in between First Class  and Coach.

At first I thought this was a new gimmick to replace their economy plus.  I get complementary upgraded on probably 90% of my flights to First Class and have gotten pretty spoiled.

But when I got on the plane I was stunned at how awesome it was.

Its something right out of Star Trek of all you have this like… 24″ wide screen LCD display in front of you. The in flight entertainment dealio is packed with Movies, Audio, Audio Books, and tons of other stuff. You can even plug in your iPod/iPad/iPhone and watch your own video’s on the screen.

I choose to keep it on the GPS screen as I planned on playing games on my iPad most of the trip:

The served us breakfast about 30 minutes into the 2 hour flight. I had had this same breakfast before flying United First Class and its really yummy.

The center console has so many options for your seating. Its really wild”

Here is a picture of the front side of the remote control:

and on the backside is a full qwerty keyboard that also acts as a controller for video games:

After breakfast I decided to put my seat in “bed” mode and take a nice nap.

Amazing. Good job United!

You can see the rest of my photos here United Business Class

This Post Is From ShoeMoney’s Internet Marketing Blog

Flying United Airlines Business Class


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PostHeaderIcon 17 Signs Why You Need a Break From Blogging

Blogging is one heck of an enjoying activity. Whether it be on a personal level or from a business standpoint (I’d like to call it “entrepreneurship” because its cooler), blogging can make yourself get tied in it. Most people eventually marry it (look at Mr.Rowse) while some are currently on an “MU” situation.

The main problem with blogging I believe is that once you enjoy it, it can become your whole world. Aside from that, it can burn you out, it can make you stop watching South Park, it can give you appetite problems, makes you intoxicated with caffeine, and a whole lot more, you name ‘em!

But how do I know I need to stop and take a rest in it once in a while? Well fear no more! I compiled a definitive guide on 17 signs on why you must need to take a break from blogging. Some of them do have a comprehensive (ehem) explanation, most of them do not have Here it goes:

  1. You can’t spell cheezburger cheeseburger properly? – Blogging is cool, it can be improve the heck out of your grammar but it does have a lot of freedom that sometimes it makes you susceptible to commit stupidly wrong spellings! Come on! Even before we reach 15, we should have been able to spell all words correctly.
  2. You printed out your own copy of the blogging dictionary – in these modern days, we started having all sorts of dictionary for various topics like dictionary for idioms, medical dictionary, taboo terms dictionary, but heck blogging dictionary? geez!
  3. You’re constantly looking for the keys S, E, O in your piano.
  4. You’re with your friend talking and sharing great stories with each other. You started scratching your head though because you couldn’t find a digg, likethis or retweet button.
  5. You’re hands are trembling – on a serious note, since blogging is all about typing, you may want to take proper care of your hands. Make sure you give them proper rests and not overstress your fingers that much. I usually get the flak ( or praise depending on who u are) of masturbating too much just because my hands are trembling so bad when taking pictures. You may not want to experience that experience from me.
  6. You’re neighbor thinks you’re insane because you’re talking alone – this oftentimes happen when you don’t type but use one of those speech to text software that sounds like dragon or you interview someone over at Skype. Either way its a clear indication to stop or at least speak in a more lighter voice.
  7. You use the target =”_blank” in your application form. After filling up the character reference, you remembered that you need that detail to open in a new window so it can be more convenient to the HR to scan it.
  8. You get into the zoo and you’re frustrated to see that graywolf, web guerilla and randfish exhibits are closed.
  9. Your mother/father leaves you a note on 30 things to get done over the course of a month. You feel pissed off because you’re tired of numbered list.
  10. You’re watching a baseball game and you saw an advertisement from a sponsor. Immediately you wondered whether the link is nofollow or not.
  11. You think Shoemoney is the son of Mr.Clean.
  12. You received a mail from someone you don’t know and you immediately trash it. You thought it was spam.
  13. You setup a blog for your daughter or you encourage your friends to start a make money online blog. – Geez! I’m guilty with this. But then when you start talking about blogging outside your own blogging, that’s a good indication that a break is imminent
  14. Someone whom you give a gift way back gave you a gift in your birthday. You didn’t accept it because you realized Google frowns at reciprocal linking.
  15. While attending the customary Sunday mass, you were listening to the sermon and thought it was a good article with good keyword density. Aside from that, you were sure that it will rank high in search engines. tsk.tsk..
  16. You’re obsessively and compulsively thinking of this guy and that guy.
  17. You laugh at anything included in this list.

There ya go. If you’re doing any of those 17 things I listed, then you’re in serious trouble. From a personal experience yes I do most of this, if not all and that’s attributed to my pure adoration with blogging. Obviously the rule “anything excessive is bad” applies.

On a more serious note (I used that phrase again!), everyone should have a fair break on doing blogging. I know guys like Darren Rowse and Melvin Dichoso (who the f is the latter one?) spend like 8+ hours a day blogging but do take note that they are doing blogging as a living. If it doesn’t work out for them then they’re poor so their challenge is to make it work.

Most people who work at home (aka online entrepreneurs) do use a blog as a communication medium. That being said, blogging is just a tool. Yes, just a tool that is used to leverage an audience and eventually make them buy your sh*t. And if we spend more time on things that have a lesser importance, we get burned out quickly and we do not maximize our productivity by spending time on the more important part.

Also it can have a bad impact on the other things. For example if you’re a parent, or maybe a busy stupid student. Its always good to ask questions like “Am I neglecting something that’s more important?” “What are the cons of me doing this a lot?” Re-evaluating simple things will help you to have much clearer perspective on whether it’s harming you more than benefiting you.

As I end this article, I don’t really have the magic bullet on how to spend time properly or how much to spend time. These are all things that you should be aware with. If you feel you’re overspending and you need that break, don’t hesitate, take it! Whaddaya think?

Melvin Dichoso is an internet marketer and blogger who is that damn good. He blogs at MelvinBlog Dot Com where he shares his two cents on the industry. Don’t forget to become a fan of his blog in Facebook.



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PostHeaderIcon Spread your influence in 6 powerful steps

Spread your influence

Influence is the power to affect, control or manipulate something or someone.

Everyone who wants to build a powerful online presence has to think about their influence:

How can I make my blog more popular ?

How can I make my readers take action ?

How can I make people spread my message ?

Whatever the question is, it always leads to practicing digital influence in one way or another.

Let me show my powerful 7 steps of increasing yours:

1. Have an epic mindset.

This never gets old. No matter what you want to accomplish, you first have to believe that YOU can do it.

I think the biggest part of anyone’s success online is their psychology. Famous bloggers knew they were going to make it sooner or later, it was just a matter of time.

Talk to yourself everyday, and use phrases like: I’m going to become the most influential blogger in my niche. It’s my digital destiny !

Sounds crazy, but it’s pretty powerful. Especially when you say it with conviction.

2. Tell me your mission.

If I go to your about page, how long will take me to find the purpose of your blog ?

Is it clear within the first seconds, or do I have to read through endless paragraphs to find out. This is more important than you think: the more concise and kick-ass your story, the easier it will be for your readers to promote you.

My mission: I’ll help you to spread your digital influence.

Short and tweetable, the way it works.

Make it easy for your fans to spread your message. Make it valuable and concise.

3. Find your keywords and dominate them.

Terms like internet marketer or blogger are excessively overused nowadays. Does the world really need the 10,000th blogger who teaches us how to make money online? No. So instead of aiming for the general terms, be more specific. Become the traffic expert, or the community niche builder. These keywords will become part of your brand, and you’ll create your unique selling point.

It will also help enhance your SEO if you keep using your keywords.

Mine is influence, what’s yours?

4. Create your online persona.

Most people say that in order to be personal writer, you have to be yourself. But what if you don’t like or know yourself? Ahh, forget about it. Take it one step higher and recreate yourself. Become the person online you always wanted to become – fully embrace your passions and obsessions, and then use them to market yourself.

If you are a true technical geek, then fully show it your posts: be so obsessed with your niche that your readers think it’s funny. Whatever your traits are, be extreme with them and show it. If you are not over-the-top in one way or another, you’ll end up a drop in the ocean.

5. Merchandise yourself.

You have a kick-ass blog, and created your unique remarkable brand. What’s next? Digital expansion. Guest posting and networking is standard, what else can you do to fortify your influence? Merchandise yourself.

I have recently printed my logo on T-shirts and pullovers. Whenever I make a video, or a coaching call, I wear my “own” brand. It makes a huge impact on my readers and clients. Find ways to expand your brand influence. Maybe you can create a kick-ass business card with your icon, or you “brand” another physical object. If you really want to become a well-known blogger brand, you should consider merchandising yourself !

6. Focus and rule.

A lot of bloggers think that using every social media channel is way to go. Meh! The more you try to be everywhere, the less quality you bring to each channel.

Instead, find your favorite channel of mass distribution, and rule it like a digital emperor. Focus entirely on that platform. Become so active that people start missing you once you take a day off ;)

Rather than doing a hundred things, do one thing, but do it amazingly good.

I live and breath all of these steps myself. Some of these points may sound unreasonable, but remember: unreasonable people rule the world. If you copy the standard way of spreading your online influence, you will vanish into oblivion. Whooosh. Just like that.

Don’t worry, if you follow these 6 steps, this will never happen to you.

Now, go out and spread your influence. The internet is yours for the taking.

Mars Dorian helps people spread their influence and build passionate online communities. If you want to build a strong digital presence, dive into his world at marsdorian.com and follow him on Twitter. Want to guest post on HowToMakeMyBlog? See more info here.

See more:

  1. How blogging ideas spread – 6-step plan for creating something big
  2. Twitter Marketing Ebook: How To Go Viral On Twitter
  3. 5 simple steps to build blog traffic by writing comments
  4. 7 tips that will make your blog stand out
  5. What is great blog content? How do you know your content is good?

Thanks for reading HowToMakeMyBlog.com

My name is Marko Saric and I help bloggers succeed. Subscribe to the RSS feed to join thousands of bloggers and get all my blogging tips for FREE!


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PostHeaderIcon Time To Update The Retweet Button?

Twitter became one of the most popular platforms to share links online, and as a result most bloggers and website owners are using some kind of retweet button these days.

The button provided by Tweetmeme was by far the most popular one around the web, but a couple of weeks ago there were some news that might change this picture. Basically Twitter launched its own retweet button (here is the official page to get the code for your site), and it seems that they made a licensing deal with Tweetmeme, because that company itself is now recommending people to use Twitter’s version of the button.

I had the Tweetmeme button installed on this blog, but as you can see now I have migrated to the official one from Twitter, mainly to test it out. There is one thing I like so far: the Twitter button is not automatic as the Tweetmeme one was. This means that when you click on the button a pop-up window will open with the text you are about to retweet, but you can customize it as you see fit, and only then send it to your Twitter stream. With Tweetmeme the process was automatic, and as soon as you would hit the button your Twitter stream would get updated with the message.

However, there are some negative points too. First of all the Tweetmeme plugin for WordPress had many more features, including the possibility of displaying the button on your RSS feed and choosing what URL shortener you want to use. Second, the Twitter button seems to have some technical glitches yet. For example, it seems to under-report the number of retweets on any given page, and sometimes it also displays a zero there wrongly.

I’ll probably stick with the Twitter version, because I think Twitter will keep developing and polishing it, but I wonder what most people will do, as there are many options available (e.g., Tweetmeme, Topsy, Retweet.com and so on).

What retweet button are you currently using? Do yo plan to switch to Twitter’s official one if you are not using it yet?


Original Post: Time To Update The Retweet Button?

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PostHeaderIcon Is Your Headline Good or Bad? Give it the Breath Test

image of boy swimming underwater

Bloggers have been asking the question “Do long or short headlines work better?” for a long time.

But the answer to the riddle of how to create a headline that pulls in readers doesn’t necessarily lie in subtracting or adding one more word. There’s not a mysterious formula or arcane copywriter’s trick.

The answer is much simpler than that.

The best way to get a headline that works is by using the breath test.

Try saying this headline aloud:

How To Recognize Six Difficult Telltale Signs Of Disinterest And Lack Of Motivation In Your Student And Customer

Ran out of breath, didn’t you? And even if you didn’t quite run out of breath, you had a hard time getting through the whole thing.

You’ll also find that you struggle to recall the contents of that headline. Because if you can’t say it in one breath, you can’t hear it in one breath, either.

When your headline can’t be easily said aloud in a single breath, your message gets garbled.

Look at some of the most enduring headlines ever:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Do You Make these Mistakes in English?

They Laughed when I Sat Down at the Piano. But when I Started
to Play …

That last one was a mouthful, wasn’t it?

No matter how you try, it’s hard to say: “They laughed when I sat down at the piano. But when I started to play … ” in one breath.

So what’s going on here? How come this headline works when it clearly fails the breath test?

It’s called punctuation.

If you have a long headline, all you have to do is punctuate to indicate that there’s a pause there. You’re ending one thought and beginning another.

How you punctuate it is totally up to you. You could use parentheses. Or an em dash. Or a comma.

The original headline used a period, making it two separate sentences. But that headline could also be punctuated like this:

They Laughed when I Sat Down at the Piano (But when I Started
to Play…)

They Laughed when I Sat Down at the Piano — But when I Started
to Play …

They Laughed when I Sat Down at the Piano, but when I Started
to Play …

Punctuation exists to give a mental pause between thoughts. When you have that pause built into your headline, a reader can read it as if it were two sentences. So even though it looks like one big sentence, it’s really two.

Next time you’ve written a great headline and you’re wondering if it’s too long, just do the breath test. If it fails, add some punctuation.

If it still fails, dump the headline and start again. You should never compromise when writing headlines.

If your reader can’t process your headline in a single breath, they can’t process it in their heads, either — which will render a perfectly good headline perfectly useless.

About the Author: Sean D’Souza offers a great free article on ‘Why Headlines Fail’ when you subscribe to his Psychotactics Newsletter. Be sure to check out his blog, too.


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PostHeaderIcon Yoast: A reader story: One Project Closer

One Project Closer WebsiteI got an email from Fred of One Project Closer this weekend, outlining how he had handled improving the load time of his blog, and I was so happy with it that I asked whether I could post it online, to which he graciously agreed. So you can now read it in full:

Joost,

I wanted to pass along a HUGE thank you for pointing me in the direction of VPS.Net.

About 2 weeks ago we decided it was time to move off of our Dreamhost shared hosting. I had remembered visiting your site several months back and seeing your note in the sidebar for a fast WordPress hosting solution. When we decided to move 2 weeks ago, I sought out your site again.

In a matter of two weeks we have:

1) switched to VPS.Net
2) optimized with Litespeed
3) installed W3 Total Cache
4) signed up for Akamai and started delivering via CDN.
5) started to optimize our code every way we can.

Our home page load times are down to less than 4 seconds from 10-11 seconds on Dreamhost. We saw an INSTANT increase in our affiliate conversions on some pages which will make the VPS.Net solution pay for itself in no time…

I’m now on a mission to optimize the heck out of the rest of our code — moving more to the CDN and figuring out how to keep our rich presentation but streamlining the delivery.

Your site speed is an inspiration. I’m looking forward to figuring out ways to squeeze every last drop of waste out of our loads.

I hope to get to meet you sometime and share our story.

Thanks,
Fred

It’s great to see how people improve their sites just by taking my freely given advice. He’s also very right about affiliate money paying for the somewhat more expensive hosting fees. I’ll tell you this time and again: you get what you pay for… If you’ve got a story like this to tell, please do share it with me! Either through my contact form or through the comments below!

A reader story: One Project Closer 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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