Larry BraunerI’ve bookmarked and skimmed a dozen or more articles that project the path of social media in 2010. Collectively these articles represent many days of researching and writing.

Search Social Media 2010 on Google, and you’ll be able to compile your own social media 2010 reading list. If the information in all the articles isn’t sufficiently comprehensive, a list of 44+ social media books to buy and read can help fill the gaps.

2010Not that I don’t like reading about trends and innovations — I do. However, I learned long ago that the bleeding edge cuts both ways, and there’s merit in waiting until the timing is right.

Blogs and Facebook have been around for years, yet only recently have they emerged as key tools for main- stream businesses.

I suggest that we watch and see how social media and technology play out in 2010, but that we focus on the basics and build our web presences right now using techniques and resources at our fingertips.

Here are my eight social media marketing basics for building a web presence 2010:

  1. Core Marketing and PR Competencies - Analytics, branding, communication, competitive intelligence, design, list building, market segmentation, marketing research, targeting, etc.
  2. High-Quality Relevant Content - Producing and sharing articles, videos, podcasts, pictures, conference calls and talk shows.
  3. Search Engine Optimization - Social media and SEO complement each other. Read Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization and Website vs. Web Presence.
  4. Blogging - Also in Website vs. Web Presence, Darren Rouse, author of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, shares in a video his blog-centric approach to social media marketing, an approach to which I subscribe.
  5. Social Networking Sites - Nearly any social media site can present opportunities to network. By social networking sites, I mean sites that exist primarily for networking rather than content sharing.The principal social networking sites for business are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You can also throw into the mix Ning and other niche social networking sites.
  6. Content Sharing Sites - Two of the most popular content sharing sites are YouTube and Flickr, but there are many more.
  7. Social Bookmarking Sites - There are hundreds of business and social bookmarking sites. Two of my favorite sites are Business Exchange and StumbleUpon.
  8. Blog and Web Site Networks - There are many blog and website networks. My favorites include Entrecard, NetworkedBlogsTechnorati, MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and Google Friend Connect.

With these social media basics, you can build a huge web presence in 2010. It’s not possession of the latest technology or an inside scoop on a new FB app that’ll enable you to soar in 2010. Your success will depend largely upon your own creativity, skills, efficiency and inner motivation.

I hope you have already mastered the all-important skills of subscribing to blogs and commenting on blog posts.  ;-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , ,

Larry BraunerI hesitate to write an article about choosing a social media consultant because of concerns about bias and my obvious conflict of interests.

After writing Social Media Carpetbaggers and Snake Oil Salesmen, readers remarked that they had heard enough about the kinds of social media consultants to avoid and were ready to learn how to choose a good social media consultant.

Notebook ComputerThe ten guidelines I present below are best practices for choosing and hiring social media consultants but can be adapted for choosing an SEO consultant, an Internet marketing consultant, or another type of business consultant.

Oh by the way, when I say “he”, I mean “he, she or they.” Biased I may be, but that biased, I’m not. ;-)

#1 - Walking the Walk - Many businesses know little about social media. For such a business, choosing and hiring a social media consultant is on a par with choosing a brain surgeon or hiring a rocket scientist. If there’s no one in your business who knows about social media, enlist the help of an expert. Most high school or college kids can qualify. :-P

Here are ten ways to tell whether your candidate is walking the walk:

  1. Established Blog - He has a blog and has been posting consistently to it for at least a year, and all the recent blog posts have comments.
  2. Articulate - He writes and speaks well and will be able to help you develop and evaluate content.
  3. Blog Subscribers - The subscriber count widget on his blog shows the number of subscribed readers. The more, the merrier.
  4. Web Presence - Google him and his blog. Each search should return at least a few pages of relevant results.
  5. Linking Out - His blog ought to link out to other blogs and websites.
  6. Facebook - With everybody and his brother joining Facebook these days, I expect that you will find him on Facebook too. He’ll have many friends on his Facebook profile and fans on his page, if he has set one up.
  7. Twitter - While Twitter may not be a good fit for your business, each and every social media consultant has a profile on Twitter. More important than the number of people following him are the number of lists following him and how, judging by their names, the curators of those Twitter lists seem to characterize him.
  8. LinkedIn - Everybody in business is joining LinkedIn. There’s a good chance that he’ll be on LinkedIn and have more than 500 connections there.
  9. People Person - He needs to understand people. On his blog, Facebook and Twitter he interacts with people who respect him.
  10. Social Bookmarking - It’s probably too much for you to check whether he uses social bookmarking sites, but ask. If he’s puzzled, that’s a bad sign. Some popular social bookmarking and content sharing sites are Digg, Delicious, Propeller, Flickr, YouTube, Reddit, diigo, Jumptags, Business Exchange and Google.

#2 - Past Accomplishments - Past successes help predict future ones, even in an unrelated field. Ask for and check references. Past employers and clients aren’t likely to report any misgivings, but perhaps you can still learn something valuable. A lukewarm reference may signal dissatisfaction.

#3 - Questions Asked - Does he ask great questions about your business and what you want to accomplish, or is he selling to you like a used car salesman? Don’t choose a consultant who fails to ask meaningful questions.

#4 - Appreciating Your Business - The person who is meant to be your social media consultant will “get” what your business is all about and appreciate or even share some of your passion for it.

#5 - Chemistry - You and he will hopefully work together for a long time. Rapport, communication and comfort are essential for a good long-term fit.

#6 - Sharp Thinking - Your social media program will consist of planning, execution and analytics. Therefore, your ideal social media consultant should be strong strategically,  tactically and quantitatively.

#7 - Breadth and Depth - In order to see the big picture and master the details, not only is sharp thinking a must, your social media consultant should know a whole lot about a whole lot of things. Sharp thinking and extensive knowledge combine to promote creativity and excellence.

#8  - Money Issues - You have budgetary considerations, but never choose a social media consultant just because he’s cheap. Don’t let money impair your judgment. Find the right person to help you build your web presence and negotiate the terms with him.

# 9 - Distance Matters - All other things being equal, it’s helpful if your social media consultant is local to you or within reasonable flying time and cost. However, don’t let distance stop you from choosing the best social media consultant for your business.

#10 - Small Assignments - Don’t make a long term commitment on Day 1. Hire your consultant for preliminary planning and competitive analysis. If he performs well, let him work to develop a more comprehensive plan, etc.

We’ve reached the point in the post where you usually comment. Make me look good. ;-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: ,

Larry Brauner
The Global Map of the Social Web, newly published by Trendstream, illustrates country-by-country the already enormous Web 2.0 footprint.

Not surprisingly, the rapid increase in social media usage has generated a corresponding increase in blogs, videos, photos and other social media content.

For you and me as social media consumers, our choices seem endless. New content is created at a daunting rate. Conversely, as content producers, we find it more and more difficult to penetrate the growing social media clutter.

This competition among sites and content will further intensify over time. We therefore need to find ways to compensate and stay consistently in front of our intended audiences. Here are eight ideas that can help:

  1. Build a Large Web Presence - Search engines and plain old geometry will work on your behalf. The better you do in the search engines and the more social media territory you can effectively cover, the more exposure you will receive, both in reach and frequency.
  2. Leverage Multiple Traffic Sources - Using many traffic sources will help you create a large web presence, and you’ll benefit in other ways too. Read Looking for Traffic in All the Wrong Places.
  3. Develop Relationships - Engage with those who engage with you. Not only will they keep coming back, but so will the people who enjoy the conversation but remain silent. Focus on helping by letting people vent or by providing helpful information. Be social!
  4. Offer Many Ways for Friends to Subscribe or Follow - People will naturally connect through more than one info stream. E.g., I’ve set up a blogcast, an RSS feed, a Twitter account, a Facebook page and profile, a NetworkedBlogs page, my own Ning site, a LinkedIn profile, a Business Exchange profile, a BlogCatalog group, and half a dozen other ways to keep in touch. Each one has throughput of one to ten percent, but collectively they all add up. That’s how social media list building needs to work. An RSS feed alone is insufficient.
  5. Be Reliable and Consistent - Do what you say you’re going to do, and publish new content as consistently as possible. Being somewhat predictable will help people get to know you and will build trust.
  6. Promote Others - Say good things about your readers, link to their content, and link to the content of others in your industry. Be a team player. Goodwill is an invaluable asset.
  7. Focus - Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to be everything to everybody or by trying to be active on many social networking sites. Concentrate on communicating your brand and message to your intended audience.  Get the most you can from the time and effort you invest.
  8. Collaborate - Strategic alliances and synergies are a big part of my plan for 2010, and perhaps they ought to be part of your plan too.

How do you penetrate social media clutter?

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , ,

Larry Brauner
As a business community, are we obsessed with return on investment? Is our preoccupation with measuring social media ROI counterproductive?

In this article I look at social media from what might be a novel perspective. I hope to convince you that social media use need not impact the bottom line over the short term, and that our belief that it ought to is impeding our progress.

I expect to provide a few other takeaways as well.

Are Marketing and PR Merging?

I was speaking with Jeffrey Cole, the marketing PR expert behind JJC Communications LLC, an agency using both social media and traditional public relations to achieve clients’ goals. Jeff authors the blog PR 101.

I asked Jeff whether he agreed with me that marketing and public relations were converging. He said he agreed, and that he believed advertising was converging with them as well.

Can You Put a Value on Reputation?

I saw a video and article posted by Chris Boyer, creator of the Hospital Online Marketing Education site on Ning and online marketing consultant at Healthgrades. Chris was discussing social media and the importance of his four R’s:

  1. Reach
  2. Relationship
  3. Reputation
  4. Return on investment

Regarding return on investment, Chris pointed out that measuring the ROI of social media was like trying to measure the ROI of a friendship.

I agreed with Chris’ assessment of social media, but let me ask you this question: What about measuring the ROI of your reputation? Could you possibly place a value on your reputation? I say no. Your reputation is invaluable.

Public Relations

Defining PR, the Public Relations Society of America states that PR “helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

The PRSA definition of PR implies relationship, Chris Boyer’s 2nd R of social media. Even the term itself, public relations, suggests relationship. The key word is relations. According to the Council of Public Relations Firms, public relations also:

  • “Builds and protects reputations.” Reputation is Chris’ 3rd R.
  • “Extends reach, frequency and the message of an advertising campaign.” Reach is Chris’ 1st R.

Marketing tends to revolve around cost per acquisition and ROI.  However, public relations relies on softer metrics, and since reputation is invaluable, PR almost never requires ROI justification.

Public relations and social media are a perfect pairing according to Chris’ four R’s.

Marketing

According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

The key word in this definition is offerings. Nothing is mentioned about reputation, although communicating and exchanging seem to correspond to reach and relationship.

Given marketing’s basic orientation toward advertising offerings, an activity in conflict with social media, and that it tends to revolve around cost per acquisition and return on investment, marketing and social media might be incompatible.

There are marketing-related activities that are obvious exceptions.

Customer Relationship Management

Although customer relationship management and customer service are marketing functions, they differ from marketing conceptually.

CRM and customer service focus on relationships more than offerings and are tracked using soft metrics such as time to answer call, call length, first call resolution, sales, saves, etc.

Many attempts to interact with customers on Twitter and to broadcast limited-time offers to them have been successful.

Selling

Selling, according to Wikipedia, is “persuading someone to buy one’s product or service,” i.e., to buy one’s offerings, and relationship is certainly essential for selling success. However, the key word here is persuading.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn can support the sales process and replace much less convenient offline meetings.

Social media prospecting, if done well, can open doors which have been closed until now. Perhaps though, the persuading part of selling will go more smoothly if taken offline.

One-to-one selling using business networking sites to make connections is working for many people.

Image Advertising

As I said above, marketing almost always requires ROI justification.

There are some marketing efforts that don’t directly increase sales. Big companies can advertise their brands like Coke and Pepsi in order to maintain parity and to create economic barriers to entry into their markets.

These marketing campaigns are brand and reputation centric, and as such the public relations function could presumably conduct the very same campaigns just as effectively.

Social Media Marketing

If social media is largely a public relations tool, then what is social media marketing or social marketing?

Social marketing is web PR as practiced by marketing people who hope (pray?) that their social media outreach will eventually spill over into sales and justify their efforts.

We as marketers find it difficult to admit to ourselves and to others that we’re engaged in PR, but we are.

Do our companies really need more PR?

Marketers have long understood the importance of listening to customers. Today social media facilitates useful dialogue with and understanding of both customers and prospects.

The Long Tail of Social Media

The Long Tail of Social MediaSocial media is an investment with a very long tail. The content we create and the relationships we build can continue to bring a return far into the future. The revenue in the ROI equation is the present value of future dividends arising from our social media investment.

Social media used wisely ought to pay off. We can’t yet say exactly how-so nor how-much-so, but we’ll never find out unless we remove the impediment to progress, our obsession with social media ROI.

I found 35 social media KPIs to help measure engagement on the web and think that you’ll like it. I’m regularly researching and bookmarking new articles for you on my new Bookmarks page.

Keep the faith.. and leave me your comment. ;-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner
Like you, I typically visit many blogs and websites each day.

Some websites clearly have it together. They have lots of website traffic and appeal to visitors.

Other websites aren’t bad. They have good potential. With a few tweaks here and there, they could enjoy much more website traffic and appeal much more to their audience.

I promised myself that I’d write up some suggestions for improving blogs and websites. I realize that while much is possible, we can’t hope to do everything. We need to apply the 80/20 rule and focus on strategies and techniques that are easy to implement yet promise substantial benefits:

  1. Make Your Text Easier to Read - Some months ago, I noticed that my blog’s text wasn’t visually sharp enough. It was difficult to read. Upon examination, I noticed that the font wasn’t quite black, and the background wasn’t totally white. The links were grayish. After a few minor theme changes, the color scheme was improved. Low contrast combinations or light text on a dark background always require extra effort to read.
  2. Optimize for Human Eyeballs - A site’s title tells search engines and their users what the site is about. The title is the bold headline in search engine results. Using keywords in your site’s title can help you rank higher for those keywords. Recently, I changed the title of my blog hoping to rank higher on more keywords, and my traffic fell. The new title was unfortunately less relevant and less appealing to my potential readers. I changed my title back, and traffic rebounded. The takeaway: Optimize for humans, not just for search engines.
  3. Use Headings to Break Up Long Articles - Headings break up an article into sections and help make the article easy to scan and read. Limiting paragraph size helps too. Headings, however, like titles, can tell search engines what an article is about and are an excellent place to insert your keywords.
  4. Link Out - I provided a rationale for linking out to other sites in The Blogger’s Guide to Links and Comments: “Use of outbound links enhances your pages in ways that both search engines and people can easily appreciate.” The advice in that article applies equally to blogs and conventional websites. Unless you’re linking to ads, use only dofollow links.
  5. Link Internally - This can be huge. Linking internally increases a site’s circulation, and it increases the perceived relevance of both the linking page and the page linked to. Link to another page or article on your site when you have the opportunity. In a blog, you can even link to a tag, as I often do. A blog site map such as the once generated by the Wordpress plugin Really Simple Sitemap makes it easy for visitors to find a blog’s archived content. I use internal links on my blog nearly everywhere, even in places which aren’t obvious.
  6. Be Social - Adding a social dimension to your web presence makes you real and credible. Join all the major social networking sites, and let visitors know how they can connect with you. Google Friend Connect and Facebook NetworkedBlogs widgets add sociability to your site and enable readers to publicly endorse you. Bloggers can join blog networking sites as well such as Technorati, Entrecard, BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog.
  7. Make Subscription Simple - Make it as easy as possible for readers to subscribe to your blog or newsletter. Blogs should offer subscription by both email (using a service like Aweber) and RSS (using a service like Feedburner). I’m always amazed when I have to hunt for a way to subscribe to a site.
  8. Use Social Bookmarking - Make your content easier to find and, as is the case with some social bookmarking sites, create quality links into your blog or website. Some of the social bookmarking sites I use are Digg, Delicious, Propeller, Reddit, diigo, Jumptags, Google Bookmarks and iZeby.
  9. Encourage Comments - Not only do I generally ask readers to comment, but I comment back as well whenever it’s appropriate.
  10. Extend Your Domain - If your domain will expire with the next twelve months, you might be signaling to search engines and savvy visitors that your site is only temporary.

I’ve omitted other ways that you can improve your website, because they’re harder to implement, and because they’ll give me something to discuss in a subsequent article. ;-)

In any case, we have our work cut out for us. :-)

What do you think?

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!

Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner
Since Twitter Lists Beta Observations and Tips one month ago, Twitter completed the roll out of Twitter Lists to all its users.

Twitter members have been occupied with building and following lists, while the pundits have been occupied with observing and dissecting them (the lists of course, not the members). :-P

Twitter ListsThe reaction in the blogosphere has been somewhat mixed. 9 Reasons Why You Should Be In Love with Twitter Lists (RotorBlog) was very upbeat. Twitter Lists Are Not About Discovery (Regular Geek) was more skeptical.

A new social media site, Listorious, has surfaced to helps us discover Twitter lists for categories which are important to us. How splendid this is! I’ll explain why.

Realizing the Potential of Web 2.0

Twitter comes along and lets anybody who’s connected to the Net (even a bot) create a user account and add text messages (tweets) to the Twitter message stream. Simultaneously, Twitter lets users subscribe to messages in the Twitter stream.

Twitter is a good example of Web 2.0, i.e. people creating and sharing web content.

Twitter becomes popular. Millions of messages from millions of people start flowing downstream. The social media community asks, “How will all these messages be organized?”

Twitter responds, permitting users to create and share lists of Twitter users. These Twitter lists are another form of Web 2.0 content. The community wonders, “How will all these lists be organized?”

Listorious appears, and using the Twitter API,  provides a platform for users to create and share Twitter meta lists (lists of Twitter lists). These meta lists are yet more Web 2.0 content.

Suddenly, we’re realizing the potential of Web 2.0, the social web, on a large scale. We’re creating, sharing and organizing our own web of information.

How I Use Twitter Lists

I use Twitter Lists both to organize people I find on Twitter and to discover new people.

I have 20 Twitter lists of my own, some private, to which I assign people, and I explore Twitter and Listorious to find new lists of Twitter people.

For example, I like lists of public relations people and companies, because in many ways, my skills are a strong match for PR firms. I let Twitter lists help me locate and connect with organizations and people working in the PR and communications industry.

When I find a list I like, I follow it. I certainly don’t want to lose track of it. I assign many people in the list to my own lists too.

I also follow most of the people. I hope that they’ll check out my blog and decide to follow me back. Perhaps they’ll even subscribe while they’re here.

In Conclusion

The way Twitter Lists have greatly extended the functionality of Twitter is cool. So is the way that Twitter Lists fit nicely into Web 2.0 social media paradigm. Critics can say what they wish about Twitter lists but cannot diminish their usefulness to me (and to my readers).

Okay. We’ve reached the point in the post where you usually comment. ;-)

What do you like or dislike about Twitter Lists? How would you improve them if you were Twitter?  What are some of your favorite Twitter lists?

Follow @larrybrauner on Twitter. :-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner
What’s the big deal about WordPress?

In Website vs. Web Presence, I emphasize the role of social media in web marketing.

Darren Rouse, the author of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, shares in a video his blog-centric approach to web marketing in which social media sites (which aren’t under our complete control) serve as outposts for our blogs and web sites (which we do control).

For further discussion about the control issue and the trade-offs, read How to Start a Blog Made Easy and Creating a Home for Your Blog.

Choosing WordPress for Blogs

Blogs and Web Sites Which We Own and Can ControlWordPress is popular software for setting up and managing our own blogs and web sites which we are able to control.

Using popular software is like buying a popular car. It’s easy to locate parts and easy to locate mechanics. With WordPress it’s easy to customize using add-on modules and easy to locate technical help when we need it.

Bloggers who use WordPress appreciate the way its functionality can be expanded or customized using plugins, which are add-on software modules (that are easy to append from within a blog’s control panel and often about as easy to use).

Choosing Plugins for WordPress

WordPress PluginThe best way to choose plugins is through word of mouth recommendation. Most WordPress plugins are free. However, if we don’t choose the plugins that are correct for us, our blogs will not perform the way we wish.

I’m sharing my top dozen WordPress plugins. I use more than twelve, and I’ve tried many others. These are the twelve WordPress plugins which I find the most handy for social marketing:

  1. AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget - One of many widgets available which enables readers to easily share and bookmark blog content. There’s an option to register with AddThis and track the widget’s usage.
  2. Akismet - A must have! Without this SPAM filter, life can be quite unpleasant. :-(
  3. All in One SEO Pack - Has had competition, but apparently, this plugin has proven to be reliable and well maintained. It provides control over meta tags and other aspects of SEO.
  4. Easy Icon - Helps set and determine the blog’s icon so the visitor can see the logo on browser title bar. Really is easy!
  5. Google XML Sitemaps - Another must have. Helps Google find all the blog’s content. Works quietly behind the scenes.
  6. Link to Me Textbox - Not a must have at all, but this plugin makes it easier for readers to link-in from their own blog and gives them a not too subtle hint. Cough. Cough. ;-)
  7. Nofollow Case by Case - This is the plugin which I referenced in The Blogger’s Guide to Links and Comments. I love it, but not everybody wants a dofollow blog.
  8. Really Simple Sitemap - Strongly recommended! Helps create a site map like mine that’s helpful for both readers and search engines.
  9. Simple Tags - Has many features. My favorite is the auto-complete feature.
  10. Tag Managing Thing - Offers basic tag management. I like the combination of this plugin and the previous plugin.
  11. Ultimate Google Analytics - In my opinion, the easiest way to incorporate Google Analytics in one’s blog.
  12. WordPress Mobile Edition - Creates an interface enabling mobile users to access the blog. Why not?

Your choice of plugins depends upon your needs and objectives.

Be Careful About User Registration

I have a suggestion that has nothing to do with plugins but is important to mention. Disable blog registrations! Do not let blog visitors set up accounts. Letting in strangers creates an unnecessary security risk.

Instead, set up a subscription system that enables readers to subscribe by RSS feed or email. I’ve found that FeedBurner and Aweber work very well together.

What Are Your Favorite WordPress Plugins?

It’s your turn to share some of your favorite WordPress plugins. You can share as many as you like, but please, explain what each does.

Do not list any plugins which have already been listed. However, if you’ve had a bad experience with a plugin that has been listed, feel free to explain.

I’m especially interested in hearing from other social marketers.

Here ya go. Comment away! :-D

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , ,

Larry Brauner
No aspect of the Internet is more critical to understand than hyperlinks or simply links, as we call them. After all, what is the World Wide Web but countless documents which are interconnected by links?

A web page without links in to it can never be discovered by search engines, nor will people find the page unless directed to it. A page without links out of it is a virtual cul de sac, a dead end street from which visitors must back out in order to exit.

Woe to the web page that has neither inbound nor outbound links! :-(

Links Can Transfer Some of Their Authority

When a web page, especially an important one, links to your page, it serves as a recommendation and conveys, i.e. transfers, to your web page some amount of its authority both with search engines and with Internet users. The authority of your page increases, while the authority of the page linking in to you decreases.

When you link to others’ pages you transfer authority to their pages. Their authority of their pages increases, while the authority of yours decreases.

Links play an key role in search engine optimization. They help search engines to gauge the validity and the authority of each page or document on the web.

Why Relinquish Your Authority?

Why should you give away any of the authority that you’ve worked so hard to earn?

Authority isn’t all that matters. Relevance matters. Participation in the web and in your niche’s online community matter too. Generous use of outbound links enhances your pages in ways that both search engines and people can easily appreciate.

The Internet and search engines are mainly research tools, and outbound links help researchers to find and to verify the information they seek.

Linking Without Transferring Authority

There are two cases in which you need to link out but prefer not to give up any of your authority and don’t even want the search engines to follow your link to see where it leads.

When linking to something you’re advertising, it’s common practice to have search engines ignore your link. Why convey authority upon an ad?

There is another case which I discuss in the next section.

To request that a link be ignored by search engines, rel=nofollow is used in the HTML code. (Don’t worry if HTML is too technical for you.) Therefore this type of link is commonly referred to in SEO jargon as a nofollow link. A normal link is referred to as a dofollow link.

Comments on Blogs and Forums

Blogs and forums need comments to thrive. They help to build community and add valuable content which search engines like.

Comment often require links to be meaningful or to identify the commenter. Comments which are completely devoid of links have a sterile quality, so some degree of linking is necessary and desirable.

Unfortunately, links create an opportunity for SPAM.

As I explain in Anti-Social Media Marketing, spammers submit stupid or even obscene comments hoping to build inbound links to their sites.

Why transfer even one iota of your authority to a spammer?

Filtering out these comments is a pain, especially when they’re written to look plausible. For this reason, blogs and forums are programmed to use nofollow links in comments as a disincentive for spammers.

Dofollow Blogs and Forums

Just as nofollow is a disincentive for spammers, it’s a disincentive for real blog commenters and forum posters as well. I know that I prefer (and I’m not alone in my preference) to visit dofollow blogs and get a dofollow link back to my blog when I comment.

Many blogs and forums deal with potential SPAM without resorting to the use of nofollow links. Quite a few forums and some blogs subject their un-vetted commenters to moderation and other restrictions.

How I Make Dofollow Work for Me

Online Social Networking is a dofollow freestanding Wordpress blog. These are eight steps I take to make dofollow work for me:

  1. I use the Askimet plugin to pre-screen comments for SPAM.
  2. I moderate all comments and screen them for SPAM, (as well as inappropriate content, bad spelling and very bad grammar).
  3. I reject SPAM and undesirable comments. (I also correct spelling and grammar when necessary.)
  4. I use the Nofollow Case by Case plugin to override the Wordpress nofollow default.
  5. If a comment is borderline SPAM, I let the comment through, but I tell Nofollow Case by Case to make its links nofollow.
  6. If I want particular links in the body of a comment to be nofollow, I edit the HTML and insert rel=nofollow in the code.
  7. I let regular commenters (whom I like) get away completely with borderline SPAM (with or without a lecture), because I care a lot about their friendship and good will.
  8. I display a You Comment I Follow banner at the bottom of each post to let readers know that my blog is dofollow. Over time my blog has been added to a number of dofollow search engines.

Linking and Dofollow Takeaways

Linking is vital to the Internet. All websites ought to use ample links on their pages, just as I have in this article.

If you blog, consider a dofollow approach. Don’t be afraid to relinquish some of your authority to commenters, because in balance, you can expect to gain.

Now please, leave a great comment below and collect your dofollow link back to your blog or website. ;-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , ,

Larry BraunerWe discussed in Why Doesn’t My Website Generate Sales? four different aspects of poor website performance: too little website traffic, the wrong website traffic, insufficient stickiness and poor conversion.

Today we shall examine the all too common problem of too little website traffic and answer three important questions:

  1. Doesn’t my website deserve to get traffic?
  2. Why doesn’t my website get traffic?
  3. How can I create traffic to my website?

Doesn’t My Website Deserve to Get Traffic?

If your website offers useful information or creates value for visitors in some way, it deserves traffic.

It’s really that simple.

Why Doesn’t My Website Get Traffic?

Deserving web traffic is one thing, and getting it is another. I believe that most websites deserve traffic. They were put on the web to present information or create value for visitors in some other fashion. Nevertheless, most websites sit and collect dust to the disappointment of their owners.

Here are a few reasons for the lack of traffic to deserving websites:

  • Lacking web marketing savvy - Most website owners do not know how to market their websites and generate traffic to them. This is alright as long this shortcoming is adequately compensated for which is usually not the case.
  • Assuming that web developers know marketing - Many website owners hold the mistaken belief that web developers will optimize their websites to attract traffic from the search engines. When the site is finished, there is often a keyword expression such as the company’s name that shows up on the first page of the search engines, but that keyword expression is trivial and doesn’t bring much traffic if any. This mistake is pretty common and very sad. It’s a major cause of the following problem.
  • Negativity - Too many website owners don’t appreciate the great marketing potential of the web or don’t believe that the web’s suitable for their business. This is a good example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How Can I Create Traffic to My Website?

Here are four ways to generate website traffic:

  1. Buy advertising - Your best options are print, radio and Internet. You may need a copywriter to develop an effective ad for the media you choose. Before you spend much on advertising, satisfy yourself with an experiment that your ad works and that your site can convert visitors into buyers. If you don’t take this precaution, you may end up throwing away money on advertising that doesn’t produce results.
  2. Connect with your target audience on the web- Online social networking is a path to free website traffic. Building your audience and your brand online is the main focus of this blog. Find the time to explore my site map and read a whole bunch of my articles. Use comments to ask questions. Social networking sites can be very useful, or they can be a very big waste of time. Knowing how to use networking sites effectively makes all the difference.
  3. Learn search engine optimization - You can read some books and optimize your website by yourself, just as I have done. There is an SEO learning curve, but in my opinion, it’s not as steep as the social media learning curve. Good website content and good SEO can attract thousands of free search engine visitors to your website.
  4. Get marketing help - find a web marketing consultant to guide you or do everything for you. That person could be me, or it could be somebody else who’s knowledgeable.

This is your website traffic road map. It’s up to you to choose the route and destination that are best for you.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring! Use the handy SHARE widget.

Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Larry BraunerI have already written List Building Using Ning Social Networks and List Building Using Twitter. I will want to revisit Ning and Twitter in the future. However, in this article I discuss the use of Facebook for building your list.

As explained in List Building Paradigm Shift, list building in today’s social media world is the process of acquiring and nurturing a rich and heterogeneous following across diverse platforms which include Rolodex, autoresponders, social networking sites and RSS feeds.

On Facebook, friends, page fans and NetworkedBlogs followers, all belong to your list, and all receive communications from you in one form or another.

If Facebook would enable you to have an unlimited number of friends, you could probably get along without fans and NetworkedBlogs followers. However, Facebook models itself after the real world and therefore limits you to 5,000 friends, presumably the exact size of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Rolodex.

Facebook does enable you to have any number of fans and followers. List building  on Facebook consists of acquiring and nurturing friends, fans and NetworkedBlogs followers belonging to your target audience.

Acquiring Friends

I covered a technique for targeting and connecting with friends on Facebook in Targeting and Connecting on the Top Business Networking Sites.

You find members of groups, fans of Facebook pages, and blog followers on NetworkedBlogs, all of which you consider relevant to your target audience, and you invite those members people — in a congenial manner, of course — to connect with you.

The more friends you have, the more your content is displayed to their visitors helping you get even more friends and followers.

Acquiring Fans

These are a few of the many ways to acquire fans for your Facebook page:

  • Place a Fan Box widget on your website or blog, so that your visitors can become fans with one click.
  • Post a message on your website or blog requesting that your visitors become fans.
  • Ask your Facebook friends to become fans. There is a “Suggest to Friends” link on your Facebook page.
  • Place advertisements, but take care to adhere to the Facebook guidelines for advertising fan pages.
  • Post outstanding content on your Facebook page that will spread virally on Facebook and attract new fans.

Acquiring NetworkedBlogs Followers

NetworkedBlogs is a Facebook application to promote your blog and acquire Facebook followers and blog subscribers.

Here are some ways in which I acquire NetworkedBlogs followers for my Online Social Networking blog:

  • I have a NetworkedBlogs widget on my blog’s sidebar.
  • I ask people on my blog, Facebook and other social networking sites to follow me.
  • I try to write useful articles so that friends of my Facebook friends and followers will start following me.

A Special Request

Please subscribe to my blog and follow it on NetworkedBlogs. I’ll do my best to write useful articles that you’ll enjoy, and to reply to your comments promptly and helpfully. :-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , ,

Next Page →