Why the Miley Thing Mattered

Miley during the VMA's

Miley Cyrus

I think Miley Cyrus taught us all a valuable lesson on Monday. Your eyes aren’t fooling you. You read that right.

Miley Cyrus lit up the social world with her antics on MTV’s Video Music Awards. When CNN.com led their news with the Miley story on Tuesday (a day when a new war is on the brink, fires are out of control and more) some questioned CNN’s judgment of newsworthiness. Meredith Artley, Managing Editor of CNN.com, explained the decision in simplistic fashion and her reasoning aligns perfectly with what we tell our clients about their posts, contents, and traffic drivers.

Simply put, Artley explained that we as media consumers don’t click on stories about fires and wars. We do click on stories about our celebrities though – especially when there is a picture of Hannah Montana in lingerie. In order to get the click on the web, you have to get the reader’s attention. It doesn’t have to be risqué like the Miley thing, but it should be valuable. For instance, if you want to get people to spend more time on your website, you need to provide content for them to navigate through.

In the news world, the main goal is just to get people – and it doesn’t matter who – to spend time on a website and get you to view a bunch of pages so they can sell advertising. To advertisers, each set of eyeballs is another cheeseburger, pair of shoes, car, etc. In general, any traffic is good traffic in the retail world. All this traffic is driven by:

Content, oh content! We’re not saying to post photos of scantily clad women all throughout your website. That’ll get you traffic, but it won’t be the kind you want. Those visitors aren’t interested in booking a room or a tour, they’re interested in skin. You need to have relevant content about things to do during a stay, tour information, neighborhood information, descriptions of the area, places to eat, where to rent a boat or skis, or a service you’re providing your guests that your competitors are not. Spend some time to make your content more interesting than your competitors. That content will get people to spend time on your website.

When people spend time on your site, people spend money on your site. That’s a proven fact and that’s why McDonald’s and Nike are what they are and why they don’t care if the content is about Miley (or Britney or Bieber or Boo Boo…). They care about getting eyes on their advertising – and you should too. Your job is much harder because you need to make sure those eyes are interested in your product, but the right content will get you the eyeballs.

See, now you can’t say Miley hasn’t taught you anything.

How to Send Blog and RSS Feeds to Your Inbox

Do you find it hard to keep up with your favorite blogs?

Have you ever wanted to get blog, newsletter, or other website feeds sent to your Inbox?

Today is your lucky day!

Here is a quick and simple way to get all kinds of information sent directly to your Outlook 2007 Inbox.

First, go to the website, blog, or whatever feed you would like to get updates from.

Blogs and websites that have feeds available usually have a cute RSS icon like this .  Clicking on that icon should direct you to the page with the Feed URL.

If there isn’t an icon or the word “Feed” anywhere on the page, try going to the main page of the blog, then type in the word “Feed” at the end of the URL.

For example, we have a blog where Trent adds useful travel data and statistics, it is located at http://www.BlizzardInternet.com/Travel-Stats/ and the feed is http://www.BlizzardInternet.com/Travel-Stats/feed.

Let’s use that as an example for the rest of this exercise. [Read more...]

WordCamp San Francisco

WordCamp San Francisco 2010

I have had the pleasure of traveling to San Francisco to attend the 2010 WordCamp SF. It is a conference dedicated to WordPress, Blizzard’s preferred platform to use for both a Content Management System (CMS) and Blogging.

There are WordCamp’s held all around the world, in 2009 there were 48 WordCamps, but San Francisco is historically the largest gathering as it is the headquarters of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.

The presentation I was looking forward to the most was the “State of the Word” speech by WordPress co-founder and lead developer Matt Mullenweg.  Matt has a great way of connecting with the audience, sharing a lot of information, and managing to bring in some comedy.Matt Mullenweg - Photo by Eva Blue

The biggest item on everyone’s mind, including Matt’s, is the upcoming release of WordPress 3.0.  There is a lot for developers to look forward to in 3.0.

Some highlight of 3.0 include:

    1. Menus
    2. Custom post types
    3. WPMU Code Merger
    4. Bulk upgrade of plug-ins (yay!)

      Matt was smart and wouldn’t promise any official 3.0 release date since it originally was scheduled for April.  I’d be surprised if [Read more...]

      Google Wonder Wheel and New Search Options

      Many searchers have seen and used Google’s newest search features – Search Options and The Wonder Wheel.  The Wonder Wheel is hidden in the “Search Options” link that now shows up at the top of every search:

      googleoption1

      Click on the show options and you will be offered several choices to refine or restrict your search results.  My two favorites are the time based results (so I can find NEW content when I search) and the Wonder Wheel:

      googleoption2

      If you click on the Wonder Wheel, you will find a tool that recommends related searches.  Notice you can click several levels deep and as you click the results change in the right column. Also notice how you can move backwards and forward through the wonder wheel. It really is quite… wonderful.

      googleoption3

      Check out this video from Google Search Engineer Adam Stepinski talks about everything you can do with Google’s Wonder Wheel, a tool in the Search Options Panel:

      Also, you may want to look at the new search engine from Microsoft, Bing, which adds suggested related searches directly into the left column:

      bing

      Clearly, the search engines are making it easier and easier for consumers to refine their searches. Although, Bing is showing a lot different recommendations than Google.

      In the long run, this is another part of the trend that is diluting the power of the traditional top placement in organic search (by encourage consumers to refine their search)

      SEO for WordPress Blogs Whitepaper – A Non-Techie’s Guide

      Wordpress Blogs Whitepaper

      Wordpress Blogs Whitepaper

      Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc., a search engine marketing company out of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has released a new whitepaper: SEO for WordPress Blogs – A Non-Techie’s Guide. The whitepaper instructs readers on the finer points of using WordPress to futher the success of their weblogs in Organic Search Results.

      Blogs, by their very nature, are search engine friendly and provide natural advantages in optimizing for the Search Engines.  More and more, SEOs agree that among blogging platforms, WordPress provides superior flexibility and more advanced options that enable administrators to customize their designs with specific components. By following simple tips and using recommended plug-ins, even those with limited technical skills can have an easy-to-use content management system that ranks well in the Search Engines.

      SEO for WordPress Blogs is authored by Carrie Hill and Mary Bowling.  The 15 page whitepaper is available for download at http://www.blizzardinternet.com/whitepapers/ [Read more...]

      Why the Heck Aren’t You Blogging??

      Blogging can be very habit forming, but could lead to having great website success. By having a blog, you are providing your visitors a new medium to connect with your business or industry. With the evolution of website technologies and the social networking trends of the infamous Web 2.0 generation, having a blog is essential.

      Many non-techie business owners get the mindset that a blog is where teeny boppers write an entry online discussing their current love relationships. If you are one of these people, it’s time to think differently. A blog is where you will keep your visitors informed and up to date on what is going on with your business or in your industry. It is also another great way to get visitors to return to your website.

      There are many free blogging solutions online today to get you started. But for the best results, you should attach a blog to your current website. WordPress is a well supported and widely used blogging platform. WordPress along with a select few of quality plugins can be the best tool you can use to improve your website’s search engine rankings and entice visitors to come back for more.

      Your blog’s design should match the look and feel of your current website. Consistency is the key to remember for your site’s visitors. Although the page layout of a blog varies differently than the regular web pages on your site, it should still resemble the same brand you want your visitors to trust and recognize. Make sure that your blog is customized and coded correctly for best performance in different browsers and screen resolutions.

      When it comes to writing blog posts, think of a blog as an online magazine. Write posts that are of high quality that people would like to read. By only writing a few words every other week, you are not using your blog to its full potential and your visitors won’t stand for it. Write frequent and full featured posts that are interesting and that will keep your audience on the edge of their seats.

      With the growing number of RSS feed readers online, more people are subscribing to blog feeds to stay up to date. Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed so they will be enticed to return. For those of you that do not know, an RSS feed is a teaser for your blog that lists the last number of posts. This is a great way to secure and track returning visitors to your blog.

      A blog is designed to allow your site’s visitors to read and comment on your posts. Encourage your readers to post comments and be sure to reply to those comments. The more you can get your visitors to engage on your website, the more likely they are to return. Not interacting with your readers is where many blog owners go wrong. Be sure to moderate and reply to comments often.

      The unique advantage that blog posts have over regular web pages is the awesome ability to get indexed in Google within a matter of minutes. When a post is published, you can set WordPress to “Ping” or inform Google that you have added something new to your blog. Google will then take the necessary actions to get your post listed in their index. In a search engine marketing advantage, if your post is optimized for a non competitive search term, you may have the possibility of securing a top 10 ranking in a matter of hours.

      By having a blog that is frequently updated with great information, you are opening up new horizons for better online marketing. In a search engine standpoint, the more content you can produce, the more likely you are to gain more search engine traffic from long tail search terms. A long tail is a non-competitive, yet very popular search phrase.

      If your posts are really good, you should consider utilizing the social media scene. Social media sites such as Digg can have the potential to produce thousands upon thousands of site visitors. Some sites that have reached Digg’s homepage have actually shut down due to the overwhelming amount of traffic. Encourage your readers to submit posts to Digg and to share it with their friends.

      So why should you have a blog? Let’s review. By having a blog you are expanding your website into different marketing mediums by utilizing social media websites and RSS feeds, gaining search engine traffic potential, keeping your visitors informed and up to date, creating a new way to interact with your visitors and taking a gigantic leap ahead of your competitors. Not to mention the ability to become a leading expert in your industry just by blogging about what you know. With these great reasons, why don’t you have a blog?

      image courtesy anniemole

      Tips on Blogs from SES NYC 2008

      Here are my notes on a variety of tips related to blogs and blogging from the recent Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York City:

      • Use a blog as a way to establish yourself as an expert on a topic.
      • Blogs are useful as a natural ranking tool. They attract links to boost the power of your site.
      • Blog posts tend to rank well rather quickly. But unless they gain good links, they will fade after 2-3 weeks.
      • Link out from a blog and spread the link love.
      • You can email photos into Flick’r directly from a camera phone.  Then, you can publish them from Flick’r directly into a blog.
      • Comment on other people’s blogs as a way to gain exposure for your blog. If you’re one of the early commenters, you’ll get the most attention, since most people don’t read all the comments on a post.