Guest Blogging 101 Series – Purchasing Your URL

I suggest purchasing your URL.  If you use blogger you can use a free URL that contains blogspot.com however you do not own that URL until you purchase it.  It is very important to create a unique URL that is easy to remember and that is catchy.  If you chose a URL that no one knows what it means then you can create a tag line that explains your URL.  For example our URL is StockpilingMoms.com and our tag line is “A guide to frugal living”.

If you use blogger you can purchase your URL through blogger for $10.  This removes the blogspot.com out of your URL and changes it to a .com, .net or other choice available.  I suggest searching for available URL’s before you create your blog name.  You want your URL and blog name to match and you want to own the URL before you launch your site.  I also suggest purchasing variations of and mispellings of your name including a variety of .com, .net and other versions of the URL.  These can all be forwarded to your main URL.  You don’t want someone to purchase your URL and try to piggyback off of your success by pointing a variation of your URL to their site.

Melissa has been blogging since 2008. She taught Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) on the high school level for 11 years before becoming a mom. In June 2005 after her son came home from Guatemala, she made the decision to leave her career and become a SAHM. In order to achieve this goal and live on one income, her family had to make some drastic changes in their lifestyle.  In 2009 she saved $3600.00 through stockpiling. Her hope is through Stockpiling Moms, she will be able to help others join her on the journey to frugal living.

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Guest Blogging 101 Series – Reviews

The B2B blogger pool is RICH with incredible blogging talent. We are tapping into that talent for some educational posts here on the B2B blog. Over the next few weeks we will be featuring a series of posts about the basics of blogging from Stockpiling Moms – a Blogging 101 course.

The first topic Melissa is going to tackle here at B2B is something very near and dear to what happens here everyday – A Product Review.

If you are going to write Reviews on your blog it is important to keep in mind that PR folks are looking for authentic reviews.  Do not copy and paste a press release that they provide you.  If you are going to include facts and statistics it is sometimes necessary to use those word for word so that they are legitimate however you should not copy and past an entire press release as a review that you wrote.  In addition to product reviews there are also recipe reviews, book reviews, restaurant reviews.  The sky is the limit when it comes to what you CAN review on your blog.  We choose to limit our product reviews to family focuses and frugal by nature reviews.

Reviews need to be authentic.  You should share you opinion of the product. In order to properly review a product you must use it.  In my opinion you can not properly review a product from a picture.  Without using the product you are not truly able to write a thorough and detailed review.  Writing reviews take time and if you find that you are good at it you may find that you become overwhelmed with product review offers.  Make a decision of what direction you want your blog to go in because if you are not careful you may find that you writing product reviews all day long.  When we started our blog we did not plan to include product reviews.  We found that not only do we like doing them that it brings interesting content to our readers.  However, we do limit how many reviews that we will do monthly and have guidelines for our reviews.

Reviews should be limited to no more than 400 words.  You are being too “wordy” if you use more than 400 words to write a review.  Remember your audience when you write a review.  It needs to be clear and concise.  A review is an honest opinion piece.  Even though I am giving an honest opinion I am still careful in how I write a review of a product as to not “hurt” feelings.  I can do this and still be honest.

Be sure to include key content and any specific information when it comes to reviews.  This is going back to SEO.  You want to include as many keywords as possible.  Remember that writing a review is NOT consulting and should not be included as such in your Media Kit.

Melissa has been blogging since 2008. She taught Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) on the high school level for 11 years before becoming a mom. In June 2005 after her son came home from Guatemala, she made the decision to leave her career and become a SAHM. In order to achieve this goal and live on one income, her family had to make some drastic changes in their lifestyle.  In 2009 she saved $3600.00 through stockpiling. Her hope is through Stockpiling Moms, she will be able to help others join her on the journey to frugal living.

What advice would YOU give about doing reviews?

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Day 5 31DBBB – Interact with People who Comment

Today’s assignment on 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is to email a blog reader.

(Want to join me on this journey?  Here is the beginning.)

I am super excited about this assignment because it is something that I have fallen behind on at June Cleaver Nirvana

…and it shows.

A few years ago when I was hanging out in blogland commenting on everyone’s blogs, everyone was commenting on MY blog.

I LOVE comments!

I mean, who doesn’t?

It is so much fun to continue the conversation with all sorts of really interesting people.  I love those people.

I LOVE comments!

When I started another website it cut out my commenting time.  I still read quite a few blogs via reader, but since I wasn’t commenting it was like I dropped off the face of the earth.

I hate that.

As my online time got more and more directed toward tasks that needed to be completed, the FUN part of blogging, the interaction with other bloggers was the thing that suffered.

So, today and the rest of this month I am setting aside 10 minutes a day to email responses to comments.

Email responses or respond in your comments?  Check out this article for that discussion.

How do I get more comments? Check out this article for THAT discussion!

What do you do to keep the conversation with your readers going?

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Day 4 31DBBB – Analyze a Blog in Your Niche

Whew. Today it is NOT about me and my blog on the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog quest.

Oh!  Don’t forget that this is something YOU can do to.  Click here to get started.

Today’s assignment from ProBlogger is to Analyze a Blog in Your Niche.

Alrighty, I have already admitted to writing one of them, there Mommy Blogs so I am Analyzing Dooce.

You might notice that I don’t mess around.

  1. Take 15 minutes to look at what topics are being discussed/not discussed – Today Dooce is busy and has a guest blogger.  It is a very funny post about her favorite tweets with screenshots of those tweets.  I looked back further and saw the photo of the day, the photo of her dog of the day and the daily design.  In each post, photo or design tip there is humor.  Nothing that I looked through was very serious.
  2. What is the voice? It is light and silly with sarcasm.
  3. How often are they posting? Between all the daily things it comes out to 4 times a dayish.
  4. What kind of reader engagement is there? Tons.  It is Dooce.
  5. What is your impression of the design? Her photos are amazing.  I love that her header is small so the content and photos can be large.  I don’t understand the headers without her name in them, but she is Dooce.  I don’t think I could get by with that.  The headers are always unique and fun to look at.
  6. Is there monetization? Yep.  There is a Kodak ad, a Febreze ad and Google ad network ads showing.
  7. Traffic analysis – Dooce has an alexa ranking of 14, 240 so it appears she is doing pretty well…

He suggests that I subscribe to her RSS for awhile to get a better feel for the schedule and tone of the blog.  I already do that via email, but haven’t checked it in awhile so I will try to look at it more frequently.

The point of this exercise isn’t to COPY or BECOME someone in your niche, just to learn from it.

I am encouraged by looking at Dooce’s site more analytically.  I have been worried that I don’t really have a niche.  I write about life and take pictures and tell silly stories.  It appears that is her niche too…and she is doing OK.

Who do YOU learn from?

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Day 3 31DBBB – promote your article!

I am three days into the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Summer Challenge (I am doing the work over at my personal blog, June Cleaver Nirvana and reporting about it here at the B2B blog) which you can still join – click here for information.

A quick recap –

Today’s assignment was to promote a post that you have already written through several channels.  Here were some of the suggested channels:

  1. Enlist the help of other bloggers – I loved this article about link building and think it brings up several really good points.  I receive requests daily to talk about this or link to that, but rarely is there a relationship in place that makes that type of request something I would consider.  BUT I have several blogger buddies that are SUPER helpful when I need help promoting something.  One of those people is Cammie.  She has helped me numerous times and I am always glad to help her if needed because I know whatever she is wanting to promote is of a quality that is easy to “sell”.
  2. Tweetin’ and Facebookin’ – Leveraging the audience that already follows you can ONLY be helpful.
  3. Social Bookmarking – Sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can create HUGE waves of traffic if you are promoting the right thing to the right audience at the right time.  I have been on StumbleUpon for several years and benefit from it every month.  Even things that I wrote that were Stumbled awhile ago every once in awhile will have a Stumble rebirth and get traffic.  Not everything is a good match for these sites, but when you write something that hits it big it can be worth all the time and effort you have to put into these sites.  Having friends that can also Stumble or Digg is a GOOD THING.
  4. Internal links – Don’t just rely on other people to link to you…link to yourself!  If you don’t promote yourself, who will?  One of the most amazing inventions EVER is the What Would Seth Godin Do? WordPress Plugin.  The WWSGD plugin displays a message on your blog to visitors of your choosing.  I started using it several months ago and set it up to promote my favorite blog post the first 3 times you visit my site.  Since installing this message, my favorite post has received 100s of visitors that would have just LEFT my site.  And because I can’t help myself, here is the link to my favorite post…Here in These Parts, Holly is Known as Fierce Trappersee how I just promoted a post in this post about promoting a post?
  5. Newsletters – This is such a great idea if you have email addresses.  Which I wasn’t smart enough to collect…moving on
  6. Other Blogs and Forums – There has been a big discussion on the B2B blog whether linking within a comment is good blog manners.  I believe that if it is really, really relevant than it is a great idea.  If you are linking to something that isn’t really, really relevant, than I think you will have some online karma backlash.  Forums like The Blog Frog and SITs Girls who are hosting this summer challenge is the PERFECT place to drop a link and visit the links that others are promoting.
  7. Email Signatures – I have most of my blogs mentioned in my email signature, but I NEVER thought about promoting a particular post there.  What a great idea!
  8. Follow-up posts – Follow up posts increase your internal linking ability and continue the story.  It is a win-win situation.  An example of this would be this 31DBBB series where I have been obsessively linking back to what has already been written…in the future I may go through and add forward links to make it easier to follow the entire story.
  9. Advertise your post – Hey, you could use B2B for that!  You could go the traditional advertising route, or enlist the help of other B2B member bloggers by submitting a request.  Genius.
  10. Pitch to Mainstream Media – ProBlogger suggests pitching an interesting story to the traditional media.  I have been approached on several occasions by the mainstream media due to something I have written.  I hadn’t thought of going to my contacts with stories that they might find interesting.  Watch the Wall Street Journal tomorrow for my interview due to my purchase of the Booty Pop! (I will link to that tomorrow when it is on their website).
  11. Pitch to other online sources – this could be as simple as asking to guest post.  You could modify your content a bit so it isn’t exactly the same as your original article or expand on your original thought and link back to your post.

OK.  The mission today is to choose 2-3 ways to promote an article and DO IT.

I have chosen to promote a recent story I wrote about a marital conflict – Tossing Memories because I think it is something people can relate to.  I am going to:

  • RT and RFB the link – retweet and re-facebook since I did that the first time around.
  • Stumble the post myself.
  • Post the link on BlogFrog forum.
  • I am going to think about ways I could run a B2B campaign that could help me build links and use blogs to advertise.

Since I wrote about it here and linked to it, that should be extra credit…don’t ya think?

What methods have you used to promote your posts successfully?

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