Category Archives: Blogging

Great Resources for How to Use Twitter


Update: 6/23/11 – How To Answer The Question “How Often Should I Tweet?”http://j.mp/kyTYGR

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/how-to-answer-the-question-how-often-should-i-tweet_b10529

I saw a tweet today by Chris Brogan called “50 Power Twitter Tips.” I want to remember this post and go back and read it often. As a side note about blogging: A lot of times I think of my blog as a self serving tool, a second “brain” if you will, for storing stuff that I may need months later. I had this happen twice today. I was trying to network my Linux machine to my Mac to transfer some files. I had dug up the techno info months ago and made it a blog post. I can’t keep that stuff in my brain all the time, especially when its something I use a few times a year, and its not a task that’s in my everyday profession. So today, using WordPress’s search function, I easily found the post and got my task done quickly and painlessly, because I had done the painful leg work of finding the info months before. Now, yes, I could just as easily store that same info on my Computer, no doubt. But the additional benefit of the blog platform is that it makes the information available simultaneously to anyone in the world who may have the same problem. The blog becomes a “scaling” solution as well as a self serving one, simultaneously. The great benefit of computers and the internet is not only in processing mundane work, but offloading mundane but necessary information onto your “second” brain, so as to free your organic brain to be more spontaneous.

I’ll keep adding to this list as I discover more great resources. Do you have any of your own you would like to recommend? Leave a comment. I’d love to read it.

  • 50 Power Twitter Tips – ChrisBrogan.com – I need to read this list every day, or at least every week. These tips are succinct (they are all short enough to be “tweeted” individually) , and they can be put into practice immediately. These tips will not only help you to get the most out of Twitter but also make it more fun and additionally increase your “influence” in the Twittersphere in a natural, authentic way. Chris Brogan is a special guy. He’s a bonafied internet, blogging, twitter “celebrity” but he has no hubris. He really likes people. He really likes to help them. He’s genuine, down to Earth. He’s not trying to impress or be part of some “elite” class of individual, although as a by product of his activities he has become part of that group, maybe even at the top of it, through acting in a way that’s the exact opposite of most of the Twitter “illuminati.” A genuine “Trust Agent” as his book goes. And one of the most enjoyable speakers you’ll ever watch.

Update: 09/17/10:

Just saw this blog post by Brian Solice: “The Science of Retweets on Twitter” It’s a very interesting post about how to construct tweets to give them the most chance of being re-tweeted. Interesting read. I just tried it myself on a tweet I just did: I wrote a blog post and tweeted:

“Please Retweet: New Blog Post: The Best Way You Can Use Twitter http://bit.ly/d9bgUi Stephen Pickering”  (link to tweet)

I asked for the Retweet. I used the words Blog, Post, and You in there. I used a bit.ly shortened link also. But judging from the post, I should have waited until about 4pm EST to tweet it, instead of 6:30am. But according to the report Friday is the best day, so I did get that right. We’ll see if I get any retweets.

Update 9/18/10

Ran across this today. It’s a similar topic as Brian’s but more quixotically taken on by Tim Ferris:
Blogging by Numbers: How to Create Headlines That Get Retweeted
It’s mostly about how to write headlines, headlines for blog posts, but then as those headlines also become Tweets, it fits nicely into this study.

Paul Thurrott Praising and Commenting on “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuck

Paul Thurrott on Crush It! and Gary Vanyerchuck

Link to listen on iPhone


I love Gary Vaynerchuck, his personality, his passion, what he’s done, and what he’s doing. So at the end of last week’s Window’s Weekly podcast #139 with Paul Thurott and Leo Laporte, I was excited to hear that his Audible recommendation was Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, the first book by Gary, which explains his how he turned his New Jersey wine store into a 70 million dollar business using Social Media, and how everyone can turn their passion into, if not a career, at least a living. This is because of the huge paradigm shift that’s happening right now in the communications revolution. Billions of dollars of advertising money is rapidly exiting “old media” and flowing into the new media world of the web. Advertising is becoming social and niche, and the advertisers are more and more diverting their budgets from the dying old media model of unengagement, the new media model of social, internet, and engaged, with the overriding theme of “real.” They are doing this because it is where the future is headed, or maybe I should say where the present is right now. They are getting more bang from their buck from interested, highly engaged, and authentic audiences, who themselves are becoming not just the consumers, but also the creators of the content that is informing the world.

Some highlights:

  • “If you have any thoughts about getting ahead in life, I think you need to listen to this podcast, even if you can’t stand wine, because this guy is absolutely fascinating” – Paul Thurott
  • “If I could boil it down to the simplest thing, what this book is all about, its that you need to really care about it” (i.e., the work you are doing) – P.T.
  • “Anyone can start a blog. Anyone can start a website. Anyone can start a podcast. The trick is to keep doing it.” – P.T.
  • “And the reason I keep doing what it is I’m doing, is because I love technology, and I love this work” – P.T.
  • “I stick with things…er I should say I stick with the things I really care about. And you have to have a passion for it. You have to really care.” – P.T.
  • “This is an incredible book by an incredible guy, and someone I don’t know, but respect so much.” – P.T.
  • “He’s the real deal, and the essential point of this is right. The prescription in this book is absolutely right on.” – Leo Laporte
  • “And you hit the nail on the head. There are times when this is going to be tough, whatever it is you choose to do is going to be tough, its going to be slow going. You may not get the rewards you want, but if you do something that you are passionate about, it will carry you through those times and you will succeed.” – Leo Laporte
  • “You could jump start your life with this one. It could be that book that you go “Wow, I wouldn’t be here today, if I hadn’t read this book” – Leo Laporte


4 Keys To Adsense Success

  1. Traffic (Content)
  2. Relevancy of the Ads (SEO, Keywords, Good Copywriting?)
  3. Ad Placement (A fine art of being “clean but seen.” Too much in the way drives readers away. Not enough exposure, and they won’t get noticed. What’s the ideal answer here?)
  4. Design. Clean and professional. (Either you know good design and how to code it, or you must hire someone or learn it.)

And I can’t seem to get a damn one of them right. Well, that’s not true totally. I’m an artist and a good writer. I think I can produce good content. The other stuff is fun to a point, but then it begins to get on my nerves, and I start pulling my hair out.

I think I need to get something I can live with, then study each day a little of the other things to make them incrementally better, and then of course spend most of my time doing what I love, which is to produce content. I may need to consider hiring a designer. Well, I do need to consider it. It’s just a question of whether I’ll pull the trigger.

What do you think about all this stuff? How do you approach it?

How to Put Space Before the First Paragraph in WordPress


    I searched and searched for this, how to put space before a beginning of a paragraph in WordPress, or in other words to skip a line or more before the first paragraph, and I couldn’t find anything that worked. It was so nerve wracking that something so simple could be complicated. I was wanting it because I was experimenting with Ads above the content like it says on Google’s Heat Map. But whenever I placed those ads the text would wrap, and in this case it was really weird because the text would snake up between the two ads.

But the normal tag for a new paragraph or for a line break don’t work in this case. Those only work after some text has been initially written, to cause space. Put those in before any text has been written, and WordPress simply wipes them out. Isn’t that crazy? Why should something so basic and simple be this crazy?

Well anyway the only thing I found that worked was this code:

 

And then remember this. Save it without looking at the visual editor. I’ve found that if you look at the visual editor before you save it, it’ll wipe it out. This will get you one line of space before any text begins. Depending on what your doing, in my case putting two large image ads at top, you may have to use a lot of them. Here is a link to the forum where I found this solution. There’s a lot of other solutions in there including using that above code above once, and then using the <p> tag as often as you want, but that didn’t do anything for me. Some people said different things worked for them, so you might check it out.

Well, then, and that comes to the ads themselves. I found another charming site that taught me how to put them up there and having them look nice and tight and side by side, and then automatically creating that space for me. I’ll write about that in another post, or when I’m less tired.

A Blogger’s Blue Print – Chapter 1



Comment!

Search for and visit sites and forums with topics that you are interested in. Read the posts, and make thoughtful, sincere comments. Of course put your name and site address in the comment form. This “puts you out there,” gets you exposure and drives traffic to your site. The better the comment, the more traffic. It’s a win win. You’re adding valuable content to another’s site, learning more information about your topic and in return getting a link back(more link juice) and at least some more direct traffic. Join Disqus. Giving your comments a social edge. This will make your commenting more effective, socialized, and it will archive them, putting you out there even more. Read all of the other comments. Any interesting ones? Visit their website and check them out. You may find an additional source of information and inspiration. Good Karma to have them perhaps visit you. *An added benefit: If your comment is bringing up an additional angle and happens to be a particularly long comment, you have the makings of an automatic new blog post to boot. The more blog posts you have equals incrementally more Page Rank which inevitably leads to more traffic.

Blog Posting

What are you really, really interested in, especially at this moment? Don’t worry about SEO, or will it make money. That’s editorial stuff that you can come back to later, but first you’ve got to get the lyrical part of your soul out first before you bring the editorial part in (copywriting, SEO, monetization strategies, etc.) You put those latter things first and it might work, but you won’t be happy, and it won’t be worth it. Let’s start with small baby steps first. What is the one thing you would like to do right now for the next hour, next two hours, whole morning or afternoon? Sure there’s things you need to do, and you make a list or read a book about getting organized and you do them, but in a relaxed way. The things you need to do, however small or insignificant they seem, can make terrific blog posts. You can turn problems into opportunities. For instance, let’s say you have a problem. (The more specific the better) You’ve searched and searched Google and found no easy or direct solution, but since it must be done, you do manage to find a way to figure it out, and you can explain it more clearly and simply than others. Bingo! You’ve just found an opportunity to help others, and you are also solving your own problem in a more creative, productive way. People will relate to you more than the experts who know what to do, but speak a lingo no one understands, or for whatever reason want to toy and withhold the information. And that builds trust as well. “Make a virtue out of necessity,” as Shakespeare said. So yes, the things you need to do, you must do, and the more of a challenge they are, the more of an opportunity they can be to find a better way and for you to express that better way to the world.

But back to what you want to do. After the needs have been met, surely you can find a couple hours a day for yourself? Like golf? Shoot some video of yourself during your next round. Who knows, you might just hit a hole in one! Thank that shot caught on video might not make the rounds on Youtube? New media shouldn’t be a distraction. It should be a new way of expressing yourself, and it can be a psychological tool really. Think about it. Got a guilt complex about doing the things you want to do? New media gives you a channel, a focus, to make doing what you like, important. It’s a long tail that will make that little complex crumble. and that’s a great mixture. Relax. Take some breaths. What one little thing, and I don’t care what it is (shopping? ladies there are a lot of men out there starving for an education on how to shop well!) lowers your blood pressure for a few hours, relaxes you (cooking, reading, working out, meditating, hunting or fishing?) These topics have audiences out there just begging for a fresh voice that will educate, entertain, and inspire them. And doing the things you love to do will inspire you too. The Google bots are being tuned for fresher, newer, different takes on the every day things we do in life. Really, Google and the other services of their ilke are working on the Search & Engine part of the equation. The Optimization comes out of your natural exuberance. All that silicon is just begging for a real, natural, spontaneous experience, and the deepest part of you is too. It gives us all a chance to inspire and be inspired, to fulfill and be fulfilled. So the best step is to step away from that computer (unless its computers your really interested in) and do what really inspires you. Theirs an audience for that, but find the thing that you most want to do even if there wasn’t.

The Best Search Engine Optimization & Marketing Resources


Nothing beats good, orginal content, but also nothing beats knowing that you are using the best techniques and procedures, for getting that content recognized, for inspiring you and your subconscious mind, to produce even more great, orginal content. When the bases are covered, the inspiration for hitting a homer increases.

Your ego can be a dragon that stops you, but your subconscious’ desire for some recognition is not a self serving type of desire. It’s an affect of the higher goal of being the most helpful and useful that you can be. In this case recognition can mean authentication, and also in the virtuous circle motif, authentication can lead to well deserved recognition. Maybe a perpetual motion machine exists after all. Here are some sites with information and tools to reach the maximal audience who is interested, or who may not even know they are interested, until they find you, in content related to your work, so that your subconscious has the most motivation to be original and to follow its bliss, which ironically leads to even better content. In other words, winning awards, can make your higher self work harder. Getting a No.1 record, for instance, usually makes a musician practice his guitar more. A “break” means you are given the luxury of more time to spend on your craft.

  • http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ – Official News on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index. Google webmaster blog is well known as highly informative and as being reputable. And why not? It’s straight from the horse’s mouth, Google itself.
  • http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/ – Bing has a good webmaster blog too.
  • http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp – Google has just started a video channel for webmasters. Plenty of videos up already to answer common questions.
  • http://www.seobook.com/blog –  by Aaron Wall. Learn.Rank.Dominate. They sell an SEO training program for $150, but also have a free blog with lots of free, valuable information. Looks legit and reputable.
  • Highrankings.com – by Jill Whalen. They also primarily offer a paid for, but legit, consulting service. But there are lots of free articles on the site with a lot of great information.
  • Yahoo Search Blog – Yahoo’s equivalent of the Google and Bing Webmaster blogs. A look inside the world of search from the people at Yahoo!
  • SEO Moz –  Seo Moz serves as a hub for search marketers worldwide, providing education, tools, resources and paid services to help every SEO to be the best they can be.
  • Blackwater Ops – Also primarily a paid consulting offering, but also many free articles and information to get your juices flowing.
  • NowSourcing – Social Media Marketing explained. You’ll tend to find original content relevant to social media here, not just another top 10 list. One guy said about this service, “The only SEO that has been able to show me actual results”
  • Virante – They have a lot of Free expert SEO tools here.
  • Century House – Eating competitors for breakfast.
  • The Blog of Matt Cutts – Most engaged Google engineer on the social networks, namely Twitter. He’s currently head of Google’s webspam team, but he’s also worked for years on search quality there. He knows and shares a lot of useful tips and information. Great, nice guy. He would be what Chris Brogan has termed a “Trust Agent.”
  • Search Engine Land –  Must read news about search marketing and search engines. One of the best sites for Search related news.
  • Google Blogoscoped – A site that covers Google primarily and updates you on new developments there especially as its related to social media, marketing, search.
  • Google Operating System – Unofficial news and tips about Google.
  • The Digital Point Forum – A great forum discussing all the search engines, marketing, and design & development. One guy said about this forum, “I’ve implemented some of their recommendations thus far and I feel like it’s already making a difference.”
  • Google Webmaster Central Webmasters/Site Owner’s Help –  Google’s HTML documentation for Webmaster Essentials, Tools, Relationships, and Sitemaps.
  • Google Webmaster Central Help Forum – All about crawling, indexing, and ranking, plus tools and even chit-chat.
  • Eric Goldman – Specifically the legal aspects of search, but also a lot of broader information and observations that are worthwhile.
  • SEO by the Sea – Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services, Consulting, and Research. Also talks about patents related to SEO/SEM search. This and the last are really good sources of information about blogging in general too.
  • The Google Cache – Must read SEO blog. Web Marketing, SEO, CPC/PPC Blog.
  • A simple Delicious Search for “SEO” – Search list results about SEO provided by Delicious.
  • Search Engine Guide – The small business guide to search marketing. Small business help for website promotion and increased search engine traffic. Great advice from solid writers.
  • Small Business SEM – Because not everyone can throw thousands of dollars at the ‘How do we market ourselves online?’ question… Also featuring the SEO Success Pyramid.
  • Link Moses – Link building strategies.14 years of advice, rants, and tips on link building strategy and content publicity.
  • Link Building Best Practices – Q&A with Eric Ward, aka LinkMoses, Questions, answers, opinions and advice on link building best practices based on his personal experiences as a content publicist for thousands of websites from 1994 until today.
  • Yoast – specializing in WordPress SEO. Tweaking websites, from search engine rankings to speed and user experience. Joost de Valk and guests provide tips on optimizing WordPress, Magento, search engine rankings, analytics, and website performance. They also offer SEO tools, Magento extensions, and WordPress plug-ins to make it all possible.
  • SEO Quake – a powerful tool for Mozilla Firefox, aimed at helping web masters who deal with search engine optimization and internet promotion of web sites. Seoquake allows user to obtain and investigate many important SEO parameters of the internet project under study on the fly.
  • Web Page FX -WebpageFX is a leader in web designweb developmentInternet marketingecommerce,flash design, and search engine optimization. We offer web solutions worldwide with a specific emphasis on companies in the Central Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic regions.
  • World Wide Web Consortium – for brushing up on the compliance side of things (even if it gets a bit technical). It’s the standards by which the web runs, from the horses mouth, so to speak.
  • QuickSprout – by Neil Patel. How to Optimize your blog for Search Engines. “Over the past few years I worked with 30 of the top 100 blogs to help them increase their traffic. The thing that all of these blogs have in common is that they have great content. But one thing that most of these blogs didn’t do right is leverage search engines.”( *WARNING – This is a great blogpost, and the guy looks legit and his blog as whole seems like an awesome resource, but I put that bit of code he mentions between the <TITLE> tags in the header of my WordPress Blog, and it broke my site. Was down for a whole day. Just taking the code out didn’t work. I had to COMPLETELY RE-INSTALL, a major headache. Maybe I have a crappy theme. Don’t doubt it, its free, and I know WordPress and PHP are possessed, but still a WORD OF WARNING about that CODE.)
  • Black Hat World – An SEO forum and community.
  • SEO Book for Bloggers – The blogger’s guide to SEO. What Google knows about your blog.
  • Graywolf’s SEO Blog – Michael Gray became involved in web development and website management in 1998. He was Webmaster for a major specialty retailer, helping create their website presence and growing their online sales from less than $10,000 a month to over $25 million in annual web sales.
  • WordPress TV – WordPress SEO and Optimization strategies. An outstanding presentation.
  • Yoast WordPress SEO – The definitive guide to higher rankings for your blog by Yoast. 2009 Semmy Winner.
  • Dragon Search – DragonSearch is a search engine marketing company with offices in New York City and Kingston, New York in the Hudson Valley region specializing in a wide range of search engine marketing consulting for online marketing and advertising ventures of all website and industry types.
  • StomperNet – This one is PAID ONLY, but it’s folks have been recommended by reputable people so I thought I would still include it. Stomping the Search Engines. You will know SEO inside and out because when it comes to teaching SEO for business owners, no one knows it better than StomperNet.
  • Confidential SEO Secrets Book – Revised and expanded August 2009. This is a book, so again, its not free, but came recommended. By Allen Harkleroad.
  • Flowtown – How to use Social Media to expand your SEO horizons.
  • SEO Mash – A mash up of a plethra of SEO, blogging, and Website resources.
  • Alltop – the mega-aggregator from Guy Kawasaki and company has an SEO category
  • OnReact – A real time feed for everything in the Social Media Sphere that gets voted up via social media services such as Twitter.
  • Wiep – an internet marketing blog with link building as the main dish. Different link building strategies get discussed here, as well as several other search engine optimization related subjects.
  • Blind Five Year Old – a product of A.J. Kohn, an experienced marketing executive with a successful track record spanning nearly 20 years.The name of the blog comes from his search engine optimization (SEO) philosophy, which is to treat search engines like they are blind five year olds.
  • Wafer Scale – SEO tips for your blog, and bloggin tips to increase your traffic.

Do you have any more suggestions that I can add to the list? I would love to hear from you.