Archives for April 2007

Five Blunders with Social News and Bookmarking

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Listen. Can you hear it? All the buzz about social media marketing? What you might not know is that with all that sound there’s an awful lot of noise. That difficulty manifests itself in the form of basic misconceptions, blunders and flat out mistakes when trying to participate and market with social news and bookmarking sites.

Here are a few common and basic social media news and bookmarking mistakes to watch out for:

1. Submitting press releases to social news sites. This is social media suicide, but there are marketers and PR practitioners out there endorsing the submission of press releases to social news as if it’s the same thing as submitting press releases to news search engines. It’s not the same thing at all.

We’re Changing our Blog Host

We’re changing hosts for Online Marketing Blog this weekend.

I never thought we’d need a dedicated server for a blog, but this blog will be moving over to a dedicated Dell Poweredge server with our new host VISI, who has been good to work with so far. In fact, they’ve gone way out of their way in terms of providing expedited set up since our our current host, Pair Networks, informed us yesterday they’re shutting our site down today. Yep, just like that.

Since we paid Pair a year in advance, this seemed a tad bit unreasonable (I’m holding back, trust me) so I made a plea to wait until Monday, which they agreed to.

Pubcon Las Vegas and SES Chicago

During SES New York I heard that this year’s Pubcon Conference will be held the same week as the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference. This wasn’t by choice, as neither conference will benefit from happening at the same time. I believe it had to do with how the Las Vegas Convention Center situation worked with Pubcon and things happened that required the Pubcon event to be moved to a different date than originally intended.

SES Chicago is 12/3-6 and PubCon Las Vegas runs 12/4-7.  This is a really tough call because Pubcon only happens once a year and SES Chicago is in our back yard. However, I do plan on having TopRank staff at both events

Optimized Post Slugs For Users and Search Engines

Post Slug BoxPost slugs are one item that is commonly overlooked when setting up and writing to a blog. Either they are forgotten about all together, or they aren’t customized for usability sake. Optimized post slugs are not just for search engines, but people too.

The first thing we will talk about is search engines. Post slugs can also be referred to as permalinks. They are basically the URL that makes up the individual post page.

By default, WordPress automatically uses IDs and not words. Here is an example: http://example.com/?p=52. Now it’s short and simple, but gives no indication of what the page is. What we want to do is turn on custom permalinks.

Links Links Links!

Oh we love the links and then some here at TopRank. Today, old school online marketer Larry Chase published a few more link building tips and resources in his most recent Web Digest for Marketers newsletter. I’ve added a few of my own comments:

  • Widget Linking – The RSS Buttons and Social Bookmark tools that TopRank’s Thomas McMahon created serve as excellent widget linking examples. Widgets were hot back in the late nineties when Angelfire and Geocities were the rage in personal web sites. What’s old has become new again.
  • Content Keyword Tagging – Using tags with social bookmarking, ala del.icio.us, can be a very effective way to organize resources on the web. Tags do not offer the same kind of structure as category based organization, but that’s what makes them so useful. Also, many of the social bookmark services such as Furl.net create a copy and crawlable links when you save a bookmark.

Another Blog Meme: Magazines

Andy Beal has put up a blog meme on his personal blog (I should have one of those but maybe not) about magazines being a window into knowing about a person.

I do subscribe to a few print magazines, but for the most part it’s because there are so many neighborhood kids selling subscriptions for school fundraisers that we get so many. For the most part, I like to get my info online. But it’s nice to have something in print once in a while, especially as Vanessa Fox says, for when you fly. Here’s a list of the magazines stacked up in the royal reading room as of this morning:

  • Forbes
  • Wired
  • Fast Company
  • Business 2.0
  • Smithsonian
  • Discover
  • Endless Vacation
  • Stratos

Google Categories

Google is always testing tweaks to their search results but today I noticed a very interesting feature that I think is called Google Categories. Below is a screen grab of SERPs for “dvd players”. “motorola cell phones” also triggered these results but things like “lawn care” and “art museums” did not. It’s obviously product focused.

Google Categories

Notice the bold headings on categories of search results including: Comparison Shopping, Reviews, Stores, References and Others. There’s also a link to turn this feature off at the top right, “Turn OFF Categories for these results”. There are other categories including Forums, News and Manufacturers.

With each category, there is a “more” operator for specific categories including more:stores, more:product_references, more:forums, more:blogs, more:news, more:manufacturers.

Google Reader Extreme Makeover

One of my favorite designers (that I only know about due to his blog) is Jon Hicks and he’s just released an amazing Google Reader theme.

Google Reader Makeover

The theme cleans up Googles interface so that it makes a better use of the space and polishes it up quite a bit. Jon has re-worked Bloglines in the past and was hoping he’d re-work Google Reader eventually. I tried to create a custom theme for Google Reader once, but gave up a short time later. My CSS skills are good, but Jon’s are amazing.

The Google Reader theme is Mac like (which is one reason why I really like it) and very professional looking. A great makeover!

You can download the files and the install instructions from hicksdesign and have a fancy looking Google Reader in no time.

3 Blog Mistakes You Can Avoid

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As part of a blog optimization panel I participated in during a recent conference in Australia, I decided to forgo the bulleted list of blog plugins and recommendations that you typically see on such sessions in favor of something more personal.

The presentation focused on 3 of the biggest mistakes we’ve made with Online Marketing Blog in the past 3 years, why we made them (and why others do too), what we learned, what you can do to avoid them and the expected outcomes.

This format was well received, so I thought I’d share them here.

Mistake Number One: Goals.

Does Ultimate Tag Warrior & WordPress 2.1 Work Well Together?

I’m tossing this question out to all visitors to see if I can get a bit of concrete information. Ultimate Tag Warrior’s compatibility with WordPress 2.1 is still in question to me. I’ve got a few blogs that I’m waiting on upgrading as UTW is an important plugin and I’m not willing to chance it. I don’t see any documentation that all the bugs have been worked out, but then again I may have missed it.

Does anyone know if Ultimate Tag Warrior & WordPress 2.1 work well together? Are you using them together with no issues?  Let me know.

ClickZ Web Metrics and Email Marketing Events

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Big conferences like Search Engine Strategies NYC are great when you can get your boss to splurge for a week away, but if you can’t, (shame on you) then ClickZ Events might be a consideration.

Next up on the ClickZ schedule is, “Web Metrics: an online marketer’s best friend, or worst enemy?” at the Hilton, NYC May 2nd. This event includes sessions from the likes of Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg “Turning Data into Dollars”, Heidi Cohen “Competitive Intelligence” and Jim Nail who along with Shane Atchison is presenting “How to Measure Blogs, Buzz, & Brands”. Sounds like a pretty good program to me. There’s an early bird discount for that one if you register before April 20th.

Does your blog kick ass?

Webaward LogoLast year I was given the honor of becoming a judge for the annual WebAward competition. This year, I’ll again get to juge outstanding sites from 96 different industries. Ok, so I don’t judge one in each industry, but I’ll get to see a wide range of different sites.

The WebAward competition judges sites on six different categories including design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation and content. You’re blog doesn’t need all of these, but the more you do have, the better your score will probably be.

The 2007 call for entries is open and one of the newer categories is blogs. If you think your blog stands out from the competition, go ahead and enter it. Judging will happen later this year as we pick the best of the best.