Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

4 Steps to Take Every Time You Publish a Blogpost

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

1. Shorten your URL

I love using bit.ly, but there are a ton of great URL shorteners out there. URL shorteners have a ton of benefits, including (most obviously) a more manageable link as well as helpful statistics.

2. Post on your social property

Ping.fm is a great timesaver. You can post one status update that will then be magically transported to all of the social networks you’ve attached.

While saving time is great, you might want to link to your new blogpost from your individual social networks. Often, I’ll change wording slightly for my audiences on Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn. This option will take a few extra minutes, but be worth the extra engagement you could get out of it!

You can also try social bookmarking tools like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Delicious.

3. Monitor responses/comments

There’s nothing worse than getting comments and feedback and not responding to it. Whether good or bad, make sure you respond when someone asks a question or somehow tries to take the post a step further. This is exactly what blogging and social media is all about: the conversation. The more engagement your blogpost has, the more likely it will have a longer lifespan.

4. Review Google Analytics stats

Over time, you’ll notice some of your blogposts may lose some momentum. Not to worry. Try ReTweeting or reposting on Facebook a few weeks, a few months, even a few years after originally posting. Depending on the size of your network, you should see another boost in your traffic stats.

Didn’t get much traffic when you published your blogpost, namely from search engines? No problem. Maybe you didn’t get the title right the first time around. If need be, try doing a mini keyword analysis and figure out what your audience is searching for. Otherwise, try spicing up the title so it’s as interesting as possible!

Nicki Hicks
I’m on the 4-Step Blogging Program

Top 5 Blogging Tips for SEO

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Top 5 Blogging TipsI just got back from a radio interview where they asked for my Top 5 Blogging Tips. Since I’m a strong supporter of business blogs, and our own web marketing blog generates so much search engine traffic, I figured I’d share those tips here on the Maine SEO Blog.

Own Your Own Domain Name

Make sure that you own your own domain name for your blog. That means you want to blog at mycompany.com/blog or mycompanyblog.com, but not mycompany.typepad.com or mycompany.wordpress.com. Two reasons for this:

  1. When you blog on a domain owned by someone else (i.e., wordpress.com or blogspot.com) you’re building up trust for that domain, not for your own. Why would you want to blog for the man when you can blog for yourself?
  2. If you ever need to change platforms (we did a couple of years back, moving from TypePad to WordPress) you will lose all of your inbound links if you didn’t first establish your own domain name. All those links to mycompany.typepad.com/whatever? They don’t get to come with you.

Blog so That the Search Engines Can Find You

That means starting with a keyword analysis to determine what keyword phrases your audience is using at the search engines. Then using those keywords in your blog post title, headers, in the first sentence or two, and sprinkled throughout your post. Also drop them in your meta-description, meta-keywords, tags, categories and alt-tags.

Create Keyword-Rich Links Back to Your Website

For many of us, a blog is the place where we establish our credibility and engage with our audience, while our website is where we do our sales. If this is the case for you, you should link your keywords in your blog post to appropriate pages on your website. For example, if you wanted to promote your web design skills you might blog about the top 10 web design mistakes and then link the words website design to the page on your website where you talk about your mad design skills.

Engage Your Audience On and Off Your Blog

If someone takes the time to comment on one of your posts (unless their “name” is SEO India, Whiter Teeth, or Natural Cialis) then you should respond to their comments. Likewise, you should be active in social networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as applicable for your business, and engage your network; ask questions, answer queries, and promote their stuff as well. They will be more receptive and interested when you post a link to your most recent post.

Be Patient and Persistant

Blogging is not like PPC ads on Google; you don’t get page one results from day one. Instead, it takes time to succeed. I’d recommend 2 – 3 posts a week for six months before you start to get the results you’re looking for. Although that may seem daunting, those posts continue to drive new qualified leads to your site for as long as you have your blog. I have posts from 2006 that still bring in hundreds of new visitors every month. Now that’s return on investment.

Rich Brooks
Top 5 Lists Are Easier Than Top 10 Lists

Photo credit: WoodleyWonderWorks

Business Blogs or Pay-Per-Click: Which is Right for You?

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Cooking PansDear Maine SEO,

We’re trying to decide whether we should set up a business blog or do pay-per-click advertising. Which will provide a better return on investment?

–Marketing in Maine

Dear Marketing,

We’ve never recommended putting all your eggs in one basket, be they proverbial or free range. Both blogs–which help with your organic search rankings–and pay-per-click (PPC) ads–which appear on page onecan help deliver qualified traffic to your website.

One way to look at this is the difference between cooking in an aluminum pan vs. a cast-iron pan. The aluminum pan heats up quicker, but it also cools off quicker.

PPC advertising is a lot like that aluminum pan. If you need to get page one results on Google or Bing, you just need to pay them and your ads will start running immediately. Same day results. That’s fantastic for sites that may not otherwise do well in the organic results, such as new sites or sites that rely heavily on Flash.

However, the moment you stop paying them–whether because you hit your daily budget or you’ve decided that PPC is no longer for you–that traffic stops just as quickly. You’ll get no more benefit out of the money and time you’ve invested.

Compare this to blogging: you may not enjoy much search engine visibility for the first few months of your blogging and you’ll be putting in a lot of work…we’d recommend 2 – 3 keyword-rich posts a week of 300 words or more. However, once you’ve established your blog and built up trust and inbound links, your blog stays hot like a cast-iron pan.

In reviewing the top ten traffic generating posts this month at our web marketing blog, five of the posts are at least a year or two old, the oldest one was written in 2006! Five years later and it’s still pulling in hundreds of new visitors each month…that’s a much better payoff than most PPC campaigns in our opinion.

So, if your budget allows it, we might recommend setting up a small budget for PPC, but develop develop a business blog for your long term success.

Rich Brooks
Now You’re Cooking with Gas

Photo credit: Jeremy Noble

How to Get Your Blog Found (Faster) on Google

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I’ve talked about how to get your website indexed faster by Google; but how about your blog?

If you’ve recently launched a blog, you may find you’re not getting bombarded with traffic right away. You may not even be indexed 6 weeks after launch. Never fear, there are some easy ways to get found faster. For example, this blog is brand spankin’ new and yet it was indexed only one day after launch!

And a week later? Everything was indexed!

How can you get your blog indexed quickly?

Here are a few (relatively easy) ways to get your blog found faster on Google, and then by searchers:

Write. A lot.

Just by virtue of the fact that you have a blog, you’ll be indexed faster. Google loves fresh content, and the more you can provide, the better!

Link, link, link.

Google Webmaster Tools

  • Simply by adding your site, you’re “listing” it with Google
  • Add a sitemap

Sharing is caring.

Share your content on all of your social spaces; not only will you gain more traffic, but there’s something to be said for the power of linking via social media.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Delicious

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Try all of these ideas and you’ll have your blog indexed and getting traffic in no time!

Nicki Hicks
Get found

How to Set Up (and Auto-Publish Blogposts on) NetworkedBlogs in Facebook

Monday, January 31st, 2011

What is NetworkedBlogs?

NetworkedBlogs is a Facebook app that incorporates a blogging community; but who’s greatest function is to auto-publish your blogposts to Facebook (and Twitter). Formatting-wise, NetworkedBlogs does a terrific job on Facebook:

One of the biggest downfalls is setup. NetworkedBlogs does not make it easy to set up. Never fear, that’s why you’re here!

Step 1

Make sure you’re logged into the Facebook account linked with your fan page (if you have one), then go to the Networked Blogs app on Facebook. Start by “following” a minimum of five blogs. There’s no way to continue without following the blogs, but don’t worry – they won’t show up any other place than your Networked Blogs account.

Step 2

Go back to the “Home” page in NetworkedBlogs and click “Register a blog”.

Step 3

Fill out information about your blog, then click “Next”.

Step 4

Your blog’s profile has been created! Next, Networked Blogs will prompt you to verify yourself as the author (if you are indeed the author). You can choose do this now or later. Either way, I highly recommend it, all you need is to get 6 Facebook friends to click “Yes, this person is the author”.

Step 5

You’ll now be taken to your blog’s profile page, where you can feel free to add, edit, or change any information about your blog. (Note: If NetworkedBlogs cannot recognize your blog’s RSS feed, you’ll need to click “Edit Details” on the blog profile page, and add the “Feed URL”.)

Step 6

It’s time for the main event: syndication. Start by clicking “Syndication” on your blog profile page.

Then, you’ll be taken to the NetworkedBlogs website, where you’ll be prompted to sign in with your Facebook login. Then, you can choose where you’d like to post from (of all the pages you admin that have NetworkedBlogs accounts), where you want them to post (fan pages and/or personal profile), if you want to post on Facebook/Twitter/both, and what you want the post to look like.

To post on Facebook, click “Add Facebook Target”.

Then choose where you’d like to post by clicking “add”.

And that’s all there is to it! Feel free to publish a test post just to make sure everything worked properly!

Nicki Hicks
Follow the Maine SEO Blog on NetworkedBlogs

How to Bring More Traffic to Your Blogposts

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

After writing my New Year’s post, I realized there are certain reasons why the most popular posts of the year got more traffic – whether they were targeting the right keywords, picked up by the right people on Twitter, or just happened to get a powerful link. So with that in mind, let’s look at the ways you can help your posts get more traffic…

How to see your most popular posts

First, let’s start with the easy part. In Google Analytics, go to your content section. You’ll automatically land on the Content Overview page, so scroll down and click on “view full report” under Top Content.

By clicking on individual pages, you’ll start to see specific stats and learn more about how traffic came to those pages. You may very well find more than just these three ways you can get more incoming traffic to your blog.

3 Ways to Bring More Traffic to Posts

1. Use the right keywords

You won’t know if you used the right keywords until after the fact, so do your homework! Start by using a tool like WordTracker Keyword Questions to research what people are searching for. Using a tool like this before you even start writing will help you incorporate popular keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for, plus even help you phrase your blogpost title better!

2. Get great links

While you can’t force getting great links, there are some ways to nudge potential links along:

  • Create great content. Great content just screams Link to me!!!
  • Guest blog, guest blog, guest blog.
  • Comment on other blogs.
  • Get dugg, sphunn, and/or StumbledUpon.
  • Link to others. A link to the Google blog got me a trackback, that brought some traffic!

3. Get more exposure

Is your audience using Twitter or Hootsuite? How about Facebook or even YouTube? Do they use Flickr or LinkedIn? Make sure you publish your content wherever your audience is. Not only will you get more traffic out of it, but you’ll also get more people sharing in those spaces as well!

How about you? How do you drive traffic to your blog?

Nicki Hicks
Traffic controller

The Best of 2010: The Most Popular Maine SEO Posts from 2010

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

During the past few weeks, I couldn’t help but catch myself constantly saying “Can you believe this year’s flown by so fast?” Well…it has. It’s officially 2011. Happy New Year!

After doing a similar post last year, I feel like another “most popular posts of the year” is just what needed to happen. So without further ado…

10. Link Building for the Economically Savvy Business

9. How to Rank in Google Maps: Step 3 (How to Get Local Reviews)

8. Making Analytics Actionable: How to Improve SEO by Employing Data & Metrics (with SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin)

7. Google AdWords 101: What do all these statistics mean?

6. Reverse Engineering the Search Rankings (Webinar with SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin)

5. Is it Time to Spice up your Titles and Copy?

4. A Step-by-Step Guide to Optimizing for Local Search, A Mardi Gras Special

3. 9 Free Keyword Research Tools from Google

2. Can I create a Facebook Business Account (or Fan Page) without a Personal Account?

1. What is a Good Bounce Rate in Google Analytics?

Thanks for stopping by and for another amazing year!

Nicki Hicks
Happy 2011!

Photo credit: iUniqueFx

How to Make Time to Blog: 5 Ways to Ensure You Write Blogposts

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

This has been a banner year. Flyte’s been busier than ever, and it’s been great. But that comes at a price…I haven’t had as much time to blog as I’d like.

According to Rich, it’s BS when you say you don’t have time to blog. He takes a business owner’s standpoint on the subject: you’re investing in your business every time you write a new post. Sounds a little more worthwhile after hearing that, huh?

But from a logistical standpoint, though, sometimes you just don’t have the time. Never fear, there are ways around that.

1. Take advantage of a creative moment

I know and love these moments – those moments that tend to happen at the most inopportune times (you know…in the middle of the night, in the middle of a conference call, in the middle of breakfast…).

Here’s the thing: take advantage of those moments by at least getting your ideas down on paper, or recording on your phone. (If you have the time, write a quick draft.) You’ll be happy you did.

2. Take the easy way out

Sometimes, it’s OK to write an easy blogpost to get something out there. As long as you don’t lean on these type of posts as a crutch every time you write, you’re in the clear. Here are some ideas:

  • Find a Wall Street Journal article, copy and paste part of it, then write your .02.
  • Update an old blogpost you did.
  • Do a top 10 link list of interesting posts in your niche.
  • Write a Dear Abby letter to yourself and answer it.
  • Create a list of your favorite Tweeps in your niche or region.
  • Take a photo or video you found online, embed it, and write a few sentences about it. (Better yet, take your own photo or video.)

3. Two (or three or four…) heads are better than one

Lean on your coworkers, staff, family, and friends for post ideas. Ask staff and coworkers what kinds of questions they’ve been getting from customers lately. Ask friends and family how your business relates to them and what they’d like to learn about it.

4. Relate it…somehow, anyhow

For many, business isn’t personal. Though to others, it is. I’m the latter. So take an interesting story that happened to you over the weekend and use it for an analogy – or even just a fun post.

5. Allow guest blogging

What better way to save time blogging than to have someone else write for you? Accept guest blogposts from the community, or even better: from your coworkers and staff.

When it comes right down to it, it’s about doing what works for you. What ways do you manage your time to write blogposts?

Nicki Hicks
Time Manager

The Ultimate Link Mashup to Writing a Stellar Blogpost

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Rich and I have done quite a few posts about blogging over the years, both on the Maine SEO blog and on the flyte blog. With so many scattered tips across the Interwebs, I thought why not put them all in one place? Well, here you go: everything you’ve ever wanted to know about writing a blogpost.

Pre-blogging

  1. Make sure you own your domain. AKA stay away from Blogspot.
  2. Start by managing your time wisely. Carve out special time every week or even every day to write. Often, you’ll find if you don’t you’ll never have time to blog. Still don’t have the time? Oh yes, you do.
  3. Understand that bearing it all [in a blogpost] is OK. If you’re not sharing industry secrets, your competitors are. In other words, nearly anything should be an option for your blogpost.
  4. Will you be writing for your own blog or would you like to try to guest blog on someone else’s? If the latter (because you know guest blogging will change your life), then make sure you use Alltop to find the best guest blogging opportunities.
  5. When you start brainstorming ideas, consider ditching your typical blogpost topics for a related niche.

Start writing

  1. Use whatever works for you, but if you’re getting writer’s block, try some of these options:
    1. Get inspired to write
    2. Hit some pain points
    3. More ideas for different types of posts
    4. Use WordTracker Labs’ Keyword Questions to get inspired
  2. Make sure your blogpost is as optimized and search engine friendly as possible.

Post blogging

  1. Offer your readers a handy dandy RSS feed and email subscription.
  2. Are you leveraging your network after you press publish? Try this few easy steps every time you do a new blogpost. Better yet, here are 25 ways to promote and market your blog.
  3. Then, leverage your post for more backlinks.
  4. Use Google Analytics. Are your blogposts getting you the “right” kind of traffic?
  5. Moderate your spam. Don’t know what spam looks like? Here are the three types of comments and which are spam.
  6. Decide whether you want to allow pingbacks and trackbacks. The big question is: are they adding value? (Learn more about pingbacks and trackbacks here.)
  7. Understand your writing will grow and change as you do. It’s all about learning as you blog.
  8. Attract even more traffic to your blog.

Photo credit: adikos

Nicki Hicks
Rinse and Repeat

How Alltop Can Help You Find the Best Blogs and Best Guest Blogging Opportunities

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I’ve been participating in the GuestBlogging.com Apprenticeship Program, run by one of Copyblogger’s associate editors, Jon Morrow. In the second workshop, Jon talked about How “Ditching Your Niche” Will Help Your Blog Get More Traffic.

A little background

Google doesn’t do a great job listing popular blogs. Historically, Bloggers have been forced to make lists of influential blogs and bloggers. Then, Guy Kawasaki created Alltop; a glorified collection of (the best of the best) blogs. Guy started by creating lists by hand and organizing them into categories.

How to make sense of Alltop

Alltop has hundreds of niches, from SEO to Auto Racing to American Idol. So start by searching for your niche.

Searches don’t just search for the topic you search for; you’ll also have related topics served up. The other topics will help expand your focus as well as inspire you. After choosing a category, you’ll find the most influential blogs at the top of the page:

Then, use this list to search for influential blogs for both links and guest blogging opportunities.

How to find the best guest blogging opportunities

Some guest blogging opportunities are going to get you more bang for your buck than others. Once you’ve found a few blogs you’d be interested in blogging for, start by doing a little background.

1. Scan Alltop

Scan through the blogs at Alltop and pick blogs near the top that look interesting.

2. 5-Step Checklist

Go through this checklist, making sure it’s somewhere you want to write:

  1. Feedburner subscriber count
  2. Twitter link – Are they on Twitter? How active?
  3. Comment count
  4. About page and/or advertiser page
  5. Commonalities in the blogroll

3. Do they allow guest posts?

Do a quick search on Google to see if they allow guest posts (Google site:[website] “written by” or “guest blog” or “guest post”) or just ask:

Hey, quick question. I’d really like to do a post for <blog name>, but I couldn’t tell if you allow guest posts. Would you be open to runnning a few ideas past you?

Thanks!
<Your Name>

Making it Manageable

  • Every day, choose a different topic and go through all of the blogs
  • Set a time for 30 minutes, and then do as many as you can before the time goes off
  • Only go through 10 or so blogs per day
  • Don’t try to do it all at once. Do a little every day, slowly getting to know the blogosphere

Nicki Hicks
Now get out there and guest blog



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