Archives for January 2013

Going Viral

Those of us who use the internet on a daily basis hear the term “go viral” all the time. It seems as though everything has the potential to blow up in popularity – blog posts, photos, videos, news stories. Going viral is the internet-using population’s version of a front-page headline. Only in this case, the popularity is instant rather than building slowly.

So how exactly do you get something to go viral, and why would you want to? There are a lot of answers to these questions. I would be willing to say that many businesses would be thrilled to find something related to their company has gone viral. Here are a few reasons that viral content can help your business:

  • Drive traffic to your website – the definition of viral is to get a lot of attention in aGoing Viral short period of time. If viral content is located on your company’s website, expect site traffic to increase wildly. Some videos on YouTube that would be considered viral have hundreds of thousands or even millions of views, like Psy’s Gangnam style. If you are angling to get content seen, it’s important to make sure that your website is set up to handle large quantities of traffic.
  • Paint your business/industry in a positive light – even if a piece of viral content is not directly related to your specific business, it can still be beneficial to your company. Make sure to follow these tips for successful viral videos so your company doesn’t miss out on a great opportunity. Another way to give your business a boost is from content that paints your industry in a positive light. If you find viral content that is related to your industry in a positive manner, then share, share, share.
  • Create a human interest story – most viral content wasn’t created with immense popularity in mind. It just happens that way. In most instances, viral videos and photos gain popularity because they are funny or touching. However, there are some things you don’t want to do if you want something to go viral. By publishing content that has a human interest element, you may be able to generate more traffic.

Of course, going viral is not always a good thing. Many news stories about businesses that have wronged customers (or the customer perceives that they have been wronged) or have produced faulty products or bad business practices have gone viral much to the detriment of the company involved. This is just another instance where it is crucial to be careful what you publish, print, or share. While the ability of news and information to spread quickly on the Internet can be a great thing, it can also cause trouble if you are not cautious about what you post.

While it’s not generally possible to create content and then make it go viral (calling something viral generally indicates that it spread on its own) there are still some things that businesses can do in order to gain the interest of potential customers. Publishing interesting and unique content would be the most simple, yet effective way to get noticed. Utilizing different types of media is another way. And if you don’t want to give up on video, you can make a successful business video. Keeping yourself and your colleagues informed about what is going on as far as what is going on in the online business world and what is going viral will do nothing but help your company.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.  ChamberofCommerce.com has a local business directory by state and city.

Where are you in your Blogging journey?

We’re going down a different road on this post.  With most posts, and I think this goes for most that blog, we try to provide a solution to a Blogging Journeyproblem or present a more efficient way to get results.  In this post, together with the ensuing comments I want hone in on your blogging journey and experience.  The latest research of number of blogs in existence was compiled in March of 2012 by NM Incite where 181 million blogs were tracked.  I think we can safely say the number of blogs has eclipsed 200 million as of today.

Blogging is extremely challenging, contrary to what you might see out there about getting your blog up in five minutes, giving the impression that it’s a breeze.  The reasons vary, but time, lack of traffic, short on passion, and lacking self-confidence are some of the leaders.  Hopefully each of you can share a little bit about your blogging journey.  Let’s learn from each other and improve.

Justin Hall is highly regarded as one of the pioneers of blogging.  He started a web-based diary in 1994 while at Swarthmore College.  If we use that as the starting line, blogging starts its 19th year.

WordPress.com one of most popular CMS (Content Management System) crossed 60 million sites today. This only includes WordPress.com sites and not self-hosted.  This gives you an idea of the sheer mass.

WordPress SItes 2013

When did you start Blogging? 

Are you a new to the world of blogging or are you a veteran?  So many blogs start out with good intentions and high hopes only to be vacated unceremoniously.  Let’s hear about how you started, and what your blog is about.

Have you been a consistent blogger?

Blogging is not for the faint of heart.  It takes a lot of dedication to do it well and consistently.  Did you publish 100+posts last year?  Was the frequency balanced over the 12 months?  How many posts have you published in your lifetime?

How much time do you spend on blogging per week?

Blogging entails writing, research, SEO, and promotion through social networks.  That’s just part of the process, but you and I know it takes a great deal of time.  It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t feel like work if you love doing it every day.

What are your challenges with blogging?

What are your challenges: Lack of time, trouble creating content, building a subscriber list, spending time on social, SEO, working on the back end, or getting traffic to your site?  Yes, there are more, but at least one of those is probably a challenge for most.

Are you making a living online?

Is blogging directly or indirectly paying your bills?  I’m really interested to see how many of you have been able to build a business where blogging is in an integral part of your plan.

Where do you see the world of Blogging five years from now?

Can this growth be sustained?  Will there be over 400 million blogs in 2018?  What does the future hold for bloggers?  Is blogging a High School kid or a Senior Citizen?

 

I’ll start with my blogging and online history to get the comments started.  I guess I’ve done things backwards.  I started on LinkedIn in April 2007, now approaching 6 years.  In April of 2009 I joined Twitter.  I guess there is something about April.  The last two years, I don’t think I’ve missed a day on Social Media.  Most of you probably started your online business with a blog and spent most of your time building that while social media was in the background.

This blog was started in October 2011 as an extension to my social media presence.  It started as a casual thing where I would post occasionally, but very far from consistent.  With my blogs and contributing to other sites, I’ve published about 70 posts.  Certainly not enough.  In November, just three months ago, I got focused on the blog.  I realize traffic is only a portion of the equation, but the increase has been promising.  This month’s traffic will exceed 16K unique visitors.  I’m not making a living, yet.  I have zero doubt that I will by continuing to help others, through using smarts and being innovated, working hard, and a passion that allows me to work on it 14 hours straight with a smile on my face.

I would love to hear about your experience with blogging.  A few sentences would be valuable to all readers, and very much appreciated.

SEO Basics: Keep it Simple this year Bloggers

The SEO world really took on a new face in 2012.  It’s back to the SEO basics in 2013.  The SEO shortcuts have all but vanished, and for the better.  While you should definitely pickup your social interaction and promotion, there are some simple SEO basics that you should not neglect.

On Page SEO

 

Title – The next most important thing after content.  Gosh, I see a lot of silly titles.  If you’re serious about your blog and site take the time to come up with a solid title for each post you publish.  Should you write for Google search?  Absolutely not, but if you can tweak a title after doing a quick keyword search that has more appeal, then make the change.

For this post, I initially came up with “SEO 2013: Keep it Simple this year Bloggers” but discovered the data below after a Google Keyword search.

Well 140 and 12 with High competition didn’t sound like a winner.  While the search numbers should increase since it is so early in the year, the High competition would only get more challenging.  Then I saw the results below. A much better chance of getting some search results.  Changed from “SEO 2013” to “SEO Basics” and presto the success rate chances just increased dramatically.

SEO Basics

Keep Title under 70 Characters in length

Keywords should be closer to the front of the title tag.  In this case the keywords “SEO Basics” were in front

 

Keywords – You want to use your keywords near the top of the page, and at least 2-3 times in the body.  Don’t force it.  If you feel like you’re having trouble fitting them in then they’re probably not the best keywords for your piece.

Your keywords should also be placed in the alt attribute of an image on the page at least once.  This helps with both your site and image search.

 

Meta Description – The meta description does not get used by Google for rankings, but you’ll see it in the results page under the title.  It’s basically a quick summary of what the article is about.

The meta description length should be in the 135-155 character range, while not exceeding 155 characters

 

Meta Keywords – I don’t know how to break this to you, but meta keywords really don’t have any value all.  While the meta description at least serves as a snippet under the title in search, the meta keywords just show up as tags under your post.  Just sitting there with no worth.

 

Linking: Back and InternalSEO Basics 2013

 

Until SEO is officially dead, linking is still an important part of your Google rankings.  You should get into the habit of at least one link to another post or other content on your site.  This does help for SEO, and you’re giving your readers additional content similar to the what they’re enjoying in the current piece.  Without a link, chances are they will not navigate to related information.  Take a couple of extra minutes on each post to incorporate this method.

Back Linking is a more complicated endeavor.  The spirit of back linking is for someone to love your article and then to link to your article from their site.  It’s suppose to be a natural process.  Google sees it as big positive when someone links to your site, well except when that site is spammy.  That can hurt you, and you have limited control when that happens.

So what do most of us do? We comment on blogs, which provides a link providing it is dofollow.  We guest post, which generally provides a link from the bio box from the other site.  I write on a few other sites and my link is on those sites, but is that the spirit of back link?  Some of us do article marketing where we write on an Ezine or Squidoo for example,  and link back to our site.  One can definitely question the merits of the article marketing method, as it sort of a manipulation of the system.  While article marketing takes time and effort, I could definitely see it being on Google’s list to clean up search. Stick with commenting, because you can build rapport with someone by adding to their site.  The back link is gravy.  Google can’t take away the connection you’ve made with others.

Content

It might be the last section of this post, but it’s first when it comes to SEO Basics.  Without content all of the other stuff doesn’t matter.  The search engines can’t find white space.  If you only want to write when you have something to say, that’s fine, but it’s not good for SEO.  It’s not good for getting your name and brand out to the world.  The more solid the content, not epic, you can produce, the better your results will be… Period.

Please share if you found value in the article.  If you really enjoyed feel free to back link to the post. :) Thank you.