This session covered Blogs, RSS and Podcasts with moderation duties performed by Anne Kennedy of Beyond Ink.
First up is Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit. “The Art of the Feed”.
The “elegance” in RSS is in the distribution possibilities: Desktop reader, email addon, web browser and mobile devices.
The art of RSS is evident in blogs, sites, pdc, vblogs, rss search engines and web 2.0 applications. (press releases via PRWeb)
Build your RSS feeds right the first time. Considerations:
– What do you want to feed? (content sources)
– How many feeds?
– How much content is needed to keep the feed fresh?
– How much content should you include in each feed entry?
– What kind of content will the feed include? test, audio or video?
– How will you ping the feeds at first and then on each update?
– How to measure performance?
RSS is not just for blogs:
– Syndicating your content on other web sites
– Product announcements, tips, articles and customer communications
– Press room
How to optimize a blog and feed
– Optimize the blog
– Socialize your blog
– Submit you blog
Customize your templates
-Archive structure for shorter urls
– Tweak CSS for H1
– Titles so keywords are first
– Add a robots.txt
– Add a Favicon
– Validate code
Use plugins to increase functionality
– Google sitempa
– related posts
– customize feed
– handle 301 redirects
– social bookmarks
– create tag clouds
Google and Yahoo maps, related entries based on keywords, anti spam filters, link checkers
Optimize the template once. Optimize the content on an ongoing basis.
Use basic search engine optimization tactics:
– Text markup
– Give each post a theme
– Link out to authority websites
– Breakup long posts
Socialize your blog
– Inbound links by with socializing other blogs.
– Cross link your blog and web site
– Notify other bloggers about your blog via email
– Reference other blogs in posts
– Become a link hub
Ram up your traffic
– Submit feeds
– Ping on each post
– Claim you feed at Technorati
– Subscribe to your own feeds at My Yahoo and My MSN (which will submit your blog to those readers)
Make subscriptions easy
– Add bookmarking links
– Use auto discovery
– Each feed should have a keyword theme
– Use images for branding
– Make feeds available for syndication – feedroll.com
– Use media specific feeds for iTunes and Yahoo Media
– Technorati ratings
Berkman Center, Baker House – Thursday 7pm 1587 Mass ave
Next up is Daron Babin of Webmaster Radio.
Things you should be aware of if you want to get into Podcasting. Considerations and pitfalls.
1. Start small – Buy basic podcast recording hardware.
One thing you need to be prepared for is bandwidth consumption. Daron relates a story about how he hit 1 Terra byte of bandwidth per month. Need to consider content syndication networks that can handle the distribution. A CDN will push a file out on an on-demand basis, rather than connecting to your primary servers and eating up your bandwidth.
Compelling content is the one thing that will eat up your bandwidth.
2. Need to focus on high quality content. Be very aware of the techincal quality as well. Think about the branding of the program long term. When you name your programming you need to take that into consideration. Also take into account the episodic titles. This is akin to the site title. Also consider the description of the episode.
Also take into account the ID3 tags. Use a ID3 V2 editor. That will allow you to add all sorts of information (think keyword optimization) to the media file.
Optimize every aspect of your RSS feed. iTunes is like Lycos in 1999. It’s there for the taking.
Next up is Greg Hartnet from Best of the Web (botw.org)
How you can get the most out of the blogosphere? The more you put in, the more you get out. It’s not a minor undertaking, it’s a lot of work.
Your readers are going to judge you based on the quality of your writing. Consistent grammar errors will reduce your credibility.
Optimize for Performance
Titles, descriptions, rewrite with just post title in url, categorical archives, enable ping service
Get on the Map
Submit your blog to search engines and blog/RSS search engines – Monster Blog Directory list at www.toprankresults.com/blog-submit-list.htm
Subscribe to other feeds. When you find good resources, be sure to blogroll them. Post about other bloggers to get their attention. Take advantage of the vanity characteristic of many bloggers.
Participate in the Conversation
Comment on other people’s blogs. It is very important what you say in other people’s comments. Witty, insightgful and compelling makes you (and your blog) stand out and can drive traffic. Make sure whatever you say contributes to the conversation. If you don’t have something intelligent to say, keep it to yourself (or put it on your own blog).
digg – Favors technically oriented posts. Graywolf blog has articles on digg.
myspace.com – Referenced article by Roger Monti (martinibuster) about the myspace landgrab.
The Power of Pictures
Images convey an emotion and can be transmitted easily. Images are cross-cultural and
Nothing will attract eyeballs to your blog like video.
Can include your url in the video itself as part of the image, or in the description of the video.
(note: Need to consider video distribution as a traffic generator for blog/site)
Once you get a lot of traffic, be sure to be prepared to handle it.
Q/A added Jeremy Zawodny and Matt Cutts
Q (David McInnis of PRWeb): How do you go about picking a Content Delivery Network
Daron: It’s a tough thing – pretty much by trial and error. Have a network engineer monitor and adjust. Ask what kind of back end reporting features there are. Spend time with them asking questions. Make sure there is a firm commitment to bandwidhth. Ask for a free month to see what bandwidth usage will really be.
Q: What’s the lowdown on search engine performance and blogs?
Matt: It’s interesting that there are still people who want to exclude blogs. For the most part, search engines do pretty well and indexing blogs.
Zawodny: Relates that digg membership want people to post actual stories and not to blog posts about a story.
Greg says something about “craptastic” blog posts, but I didn’t catch what he said.
Amanda: As more plugins are implemented, blogs will look less like blogs and more like web sites. How do you define a blog and how do you define a web site?
Q: The word “blog” doesn’t mean much. Has a web site with a news section, a forum and information pages on each city. Should I convert all that to a blog?
Greg: Don’t change your site to a blog, but add a blog.
Amanda: The blog lets you produce a different voice for your content. Your main web site might be focused on factual information and the blog would be less formal.
Matt: Don’t be thinking of the maximum you can do with the miniumum of content. Think about the user and don’t duplicate the exact same content.
Jeremy: Use the right tool for the job. Blogs are not for everything. Each type of function usually has a corresponding type of software. Ex: Forums, blogs, web site, etc.
Q: WordPress blog using FeedBurner. My FeedBurner feed url is showing up in the search engines before
Daron: Burn all feeds with your branding, your domain name as part of the feed url. Think about it from the beginning. Use a master feed and commit to it. Then if Feedburner tanks, you still have a url under your control.
Jeremy: Points out the auto discovery tag. Explains the issue of auto discovery showing one feed and a FeedBurner link as a link on the page causing dilution.
Greg: Recommends not using Feedburner so he maintains control.
Daron: Recommends putting subscription options in as a pulldown menu and not showing all the chicklets. It simplifies subscription options.
Matt: A lot of feed chicklets gets to be a lot. Keeps it simple with his own feed.
Q: XML feeds show up in search results. Is Google working on that or a directory of RSS feeds?
Matt: You can add a -.xml operator to your query (audience laugh). Yeah, you shouldn’t have to see that. He’ll pass feedback on the Google team.