Category Archives: Blog Ideas

Ideas to help people create useful and effective blogs

Simple Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses

Small Business owner choosing from several website optionsI’m adding simple affordable website design for small businesses to my services.  Keep It Simple Web Design is a new segment of my business, click the link to go to the site and see my web design portfolio. Too many small businesses in the Philadelphia area, and other  business owners I meet via social media, haven’t taken the step to hang their website shingle up. Or have run into problems when they have tried to put up a website. It’s much easier to do than you think, and can cost much less than you think too. I’m putting my 20 years of PR and marketing experience behind you…helping you create your own business website. Continue reading Simple Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses

Social Media And Blogging For Business Can Turn Cold Calls Into Warm Leads

Turn cold calls into warm calls with soical media for business - woman with telephoneA small amount of time spent on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and blogs can, over time, help turn cold calls into warm leads. It can also convert tire-kickers into client appointments and/or motivate customer purchases. The statistic from HubSpot is that websites with blogs (this includes sites that are blogs themselves) receive 55% more traffic than those without. That’s 55% more opportunity… Continue reading Social Media And Blogging For Business Can Turn Cold Calls Into Warm Leads

Better Blog Project 3: Audience and Structure

iStock_000000323957blogaudienceThis is post number three  in the Better Blog November Challenge, or #BtrBlogNov that I declared a few weeks ago. Twenty plus people have signed on to this free project because we all want to improve the quality/quantity/range of our blogs and blog posts. This is the second set of info & exercises: Honing Your Message.

Link to #BtrBlogNov intro post: http://bit.ly/jmSOM

Link to #BtrBlogNov Week 1 Exercises: http://bit.ly/dffN5

Link to Twitter list of people who re giving it a try: http://bit.ly/4iLz2Z

Reminder of main monthly BetterBlog November goals:

To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

1. Create better quality blog posts

2. Increase the quantity of blog posts

3. Either increase the Range or the

1. Diversity of blog posts or

2. The focus of our blog posts, depending on which our site needs most

Today’s exercises are the second step in putting the basic structure behind your blog, that will help improve your blog posts . I promise – after this one, the rest are all about blogging directly. If working behind the scenes isn’t your cup of tea, please give it on more shot – it’ll probably only take a half  hour.

Closely aligned with reviewing your blogging goals, is the questions of audience/readers/community:  who are you writing for? This question is really two parts – the first is who are you hoping or trying to write for – who do you want to read your blog. The second is who is actually reading your blog. So the next task is to review our audience, readers, the community we are perhaps trying to build. Who is reading our blog, and are they who we had hoped to attract, or who we hope to attract in light of our refined blogging goals from week one.

We may need to adjust our blog posts to both meet those goals and reach the audience we want. Just like with our goals, you may find that you have several audience/community segments. Again, just like the goals, you may feel the need to prioritize them.

For some of us, our audience may be small, in this case a shift is fairly easy. For others, who have either been blogging for quite a while, or who hit a popular topic and promoted it quickly, that can be more complicated. Some folks may have begun blogging about one aspect of a subject, and either became very specialized and focused, or became very diverse – writing about all aspects of a subject, or even strayed far and wide from your core topic. Neither one of these realities is necessarily bad, if your audience loves it, and it is meeting your goals – keep doing what you’re doing. Others may find that their new goals may not match their existing audience, some may never have thought about who they want to read their blog, others may find the fit between goals and audience/community works just fine.

So the exercise Part one:

  • Take a few minutes, review your blogging goals and in light if that, jot down a few bullet points about your intended readers, audience and/or community.
  • You may find that they are perfectly aligned with your goals. You may find the goals and audience are way off. If this the case, and the audience is strong – perhaps you need to reevaluate the goals – you may have found niche audience that you didn’t mean to attract – but if they are there – I would take them into account.

I can hear some readers asking how do we figure out about our audience. One measure is comments and social media mentions.So the exercise Part 2:

  • Are you getting comments on your blog, and do they reflect who you thought would be commenting.
    • If you are not getting comments, it may not be because your blog writing isn’t strong or focused, it may be that your promotion of your blog has not been effective, or your topic has a lot of competition. DO NOT DESPAIR: These are issues we will tackle later on in this series.
    • If you have comments, are they consistent? Do all of your posts get them, or only a few? Are there any patterns – does one type of post resonate more with your readers than others. Ar e there some post that get many comments
    • Looking at discussions on social networking platforms that you participate in is another form of audience. Do your posts get retweeted on Twitter – take a look at who retweets them; or do you get comments on Facebook? Do client prospects read your blog posts on LinkedIn and then contact you for business  (which has happened to me)?
  • Do you ave an analytics package on your blog – either google analytics, WP stats etc. If so, take a look. See if you can find out how people are finding you. What kewords are they using to find your posts. Are they coming from another person’s blog, or from Twitter or face book. Looking at your statistics can help tell you somethings about your audience. Are your blog posts being picked up by Google? Do people find your posts through organic searches.
  • Have you set up your RSS feed and allowed people to sign up or subscribe to receive your blog posts via RSS, and via email. If so, have you looked at Google’s Feedburner (or other program) stats? Again, if you don’t have many, don’t despair. It’s not about numbers, it’s about starting somewhere and building on what you have today. For those who don’t ‘get’ RSS readers – it is a free service that allows people to sign up and receive your blog posts as they come out using a free piece of software called a feed reader – kind o like a magazine rack our on the internet (or via email if you set it up that way too).

Extra Credit Exercise number one: Review your Blog Assets. In light of defining/refining your blogging goals and your audience, take a step back and look at your blog as a whole. Does the blog itself support these goals and work to attract your intended audience.

  • Does your blog header and tagline reflect your goals and will it attract the audience you want?
  • Do your blog post categories also reflect your goals and will it attract the audience you want?
  • Do the static pages on your site, if you have them, reinforce those goals and work to attract your audiences or build that community?

Better Blog November Resources and Extra Credit number two: If you are hankering to get on with the blogging part of things, which will come on Wednesday, take a look at Chris Brogan’s list of 100 blog posts I hope you’ll write. As you read his list, use your new blog ideas  file and/or notebook (from week one) and jot down ideas that occur to you that will fit your revised blogging A goals and your renewed audience appreciation.

Note: In my first Better Blog November post I mentioned a character who often gets in the way of our blog post writing, her name is Resistance. Between a busy week and fighting an oncoming cold, I let Miss Resistance step in the way of my second post last week. But, as I also mentioned in my intro post, if you fall off the Better Blog November wagon, just hop back on board. So I am taking my own advice and ignoring her, even if I’m a little late. Thanks for hanging in there!

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Better Blog Project 2: Goals and Support

benefits of setting goals on blackboardThis is post number  in the Better Blog November Challenge, or #BtrBlogNov that I declared a few weeks ago. Twenty plus p eople have signed on to this free project because we all want to improve the quality/quantity/range of our blogs and blog posts. This is the first set of  info & exercises.

Link 2 #BtrBlogNov intro post: http://bit.ly/jmSOM

Link to Twitter list of people who re giving it a try:  http://bit.ly/4iLz2Z

Reminder of main monthly goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts depending on which our site needs most

Here is Monday’s Nov. 2, Better Blog Project (TM)- A little bit of strategy can inform and strengthen your blog writing. By the way, I am doing the exercises too:

  • Identify our blogging goals
  • Create basic structure to capture our ideas when/where we find them – that works for you
  • Resources for finding blog ideas
  • Blogging Goals – Write down why you are writing your blog, try for 3 to 5 reasons.
    • Try and jot your own ideas down first. Then look at the list below afterwards. Then of your 3-5 goals – rank them in order – think about which of these goals will help you create a Better Blog then keep that in mind when writing your posts. Maybe put it on a sticky note on your computer screen:
      • Some goals: To reinforce your brand, increase your/your company’s name recognition online; to get more readers; to share information about a certain field, niche, or trend; to sell products, get clients, customers, or find business partners; to promote a cause; to monetize your blog and make money directly; to explore a topic; to find connections with others; to get speaking gigs; to learn bout the process of blogging; to get asked to blog for other larger sites; to get freelance writing gigs; or to get a fulltime job etc.
      • Most probably it will be a mix of several of these goals, but as above – ranks the top three and find a mix or balance that will help you create a better blog.
    • Explore your old blog posts, at least the titles to see where you have been, where there are holes you can fill, duplicates to trim, ruts you got in, gaps you left (in the topic, or in time). See what patterns (both good and bad) you can find.
    • Extra Credit: If you are very motivated, and have a blog statistics package set up for your blog (WordPress blog stats or Google Analytics), check them out – find out which posts have been more popular – see what keywords people used to find your site or a post. Don’t get overwhelmed; we might come back to this one later with more detail.
  • Exercise: Create two documents to support your play/work with your blog, in whatever way works for you
    • A document for blog ideasA computer file in which you jot down blog ideas, possible titles, a few sentences, and where you can copy & paste links into the file for reference. Create a shortcut and save it to your computer desktop, so you can open it quickly when you have an idea. I can tell you how, if you don’t know how to do that, or what that is. (also carry a paper notebook around with you to catch those ideas too). Why on the computer for most of us, for me, if I write the whole post on paper, then try and rewrite it on the computer, I can get lazy, it seems boring, I find excuses to avoid it. Your choice. I’ll have another trick in Monday’s version of this email.
    • A Document for the strategy part of crafting a better blog. This can either be on paper, or on the computer, but you want a place for your musings, brainstorming, where you can see the arc of you blogging as it unfolds during our explorations. Suggestion: One file & one notebook, not 3 notebooks – then it’s hard to find what you are looking for. (Tip, if you jot an idea down on a scrap of paper, instead of rewriting it (which I sometimes avoid doing, or end up losing it) instead: just tape or staple it into your main notebook). This is a clarification – thanks to @ NJDreaming – one of our BBP bloggers.
    • Start using these files/notepad today -when you get the seed of an idea, train yourself to jot it down, now (as long as it is safe, like you’re not driving or operating a train or something. ;~)

Resources & Tools:

    • Tools that may help you remember blog post ideasEvernote: http://www.evernote.com/, http://www.rememberthemilk.com/, http://www.delicious.com/. Or your cell phone – use the reminders function, or send yourself a text, or an email: indicate “blog idea” in the subject line (create a folder/label to store these).
    • I’m creating a Delicious.com account to save interesting articles on blogging as inspiration to all of us. You don’t have to sign up for Delicious in order to read my Better Blog Project Delicious files. I have saved the above noted links to my new Delicious account: www.Delicious.com/BetterBlogProject.
    • Extra Credit: I suggest you also start your own free Delicious account, as a way to bookmark cool articles to reference/link to in posts, comment on, or just learn from. Be sure to keep your tags/keywords simple to help you find items later. If it is by a popular blogger I make their name (or twitter name) one keyword, and month/yr as another.
      • Note: Delicious is now working with yahoo, if you don’t already have a yahoo account, you will have to set one up to create a Delicious account. Sorry, it’s new. Tips, create it, when it confirms your account details, at bottom hit: Edit Marketing Preferences- a uncheck all of them (your choice); also check the notifications and decide if you want to hide your profile (i.e. – only use it for Delicious.com, or create another social networking out post) and what notifications you want sent to your new yahoo email account. To keep active you have to login and do something once every 4 months or they can delete the account. Also go to my profile and check hide my age (which it automatically displays). That sounds complicated, but will save you from getting a bunch of junk.
      • Then continue and create your Delicious page, which is much easier. Say yes to the toolbar, then when you find a post you want to save, just hit Tag, login (I rarely log out) and it saves it for you, you add keywords so you can find it later. Cool!

Happy Blogging – No pressure just take what you find useful and move it forward!

I have to add two more inspirations behind this project – @problogger Darren Rowse‘s 31 Days to a better Blog in 2007 (link is on Delicious page and will be in Wednesday’s info, he also has an updated ebook version for $19.95 Click here to view more details ) and http://www.nanowrimo.org/ National Novel Writing Month (also in November) – I thought if people can write a novel in a month, we can improve our blogs in a month!

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