Blogosphere Roundup, 4/1

Has anyone punk’d you yet for April Fool’s Day? Well this roundup ain’t no joke. I’ve got some seriously good stuff for you.

Blogging Tips

SEO 101. This is an awesome introductory guide to the very beginner basics of SEO. I am a SEO novice so I found this really helpful!  From Live Your Love.

Do You Need A Niche? Famous Bloggers asks the question you probably ask yourself. I asked it of myself, and answered No on my personal blog this week.

Big Panda. Google’s updated search algorithm has impacts on article writers and bloggers. Read how from Famous Bloggers.

Choosing A Domain Name. Daily Blog Tips talks about why your domain choice shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Browser Addons for Bloggers. The Link Medic, as you know, is one of my favorite how-to sites for bloggers. This article is superb as it suggests little apps you can add to your browser to make your life easier.

Social Media

Facebook Questions. We started using Facebook Questions this week. Here’s how you can get started with it for your Facebook fan page or personal account, from Jaypee Online.

Measuring Your Social Media Influence. There’s been a lot of talk about PostRank lately. This from the Work At Home Wife fleshes it out for you.

7 Types of Content Social Media Loves. VERY informative post from Shout Me Loud on what type of posts seem to do well in social media.

5 Tips to Increase Traffic with Twitter. This piece from WebTrafficROI has some good suggestions.

Mom Blogging News

Bloglovin, Not Blogscrapin‘. I took a look over at ShePosts at a new type of feed reader that turns Google Reader’s features on its side (and is a lot easier on the eyes). And, contrary to what you might think when you first look at it, it’s not blogscraping.

Be Honest About Your Numbers. This is a piece on why you shouldn’t try to inflate your blog numbers from Mom Blog Magazine.

Lucky Magazine Seeks Fashion/Beauty Bloggers. Lucky Magazine is looking for fashion and beauty bloggers for a new ad and content network. Check out the deets at ShePosts!

I have soooo much more to share this week but there’s no room here. I’ll try to stream some more articles in on our B2B Facebook fan page this weekend…keep your eyes out for that AND our 1st featured blogger tomorrow!

Happy weekend, everyone.

The Puzzle of Promoting Your Posts

You have just written the One Post To Rule Them All. It took you hours. It is seriously killer.

Now what?

There are a dizzying number of ways and places that we can promote our blog posts – so much so that it can be a full-time job trying to do so.

When I first started blogging, I relied primarily on commenting on other blogs and blog networks to promote my own posts. I dabbled in Facebook a little bit, and finally succumbed to Twitter. And then, the whole world exploded: Kirtsy and StumbleUpon and Digg and retweets and….sigh. It’s enough to make a blogger quit before you ever start.

It’s a very elegant puzzle to be solved – the right (or wrong) combination of promotion sources can make or break your traffic – and the incredible thing is that no two bloggers will solve it the exact same way.

Statistics can be really helpful in determining where you are having success and where you might need to work a little harder (I’ll be doing some posts on stats soon). But they only tell part of the story.

Statistics don’t cover what you aren’t doing – obviously – and can’t tell you whether those uncharted territories are worth exploring. If you’ve never used Digg, how much time should you invest in finding out if it’s a piece of your puzzle?

I think a successful blog promotion strategy has to combine statistics with experimentation. I know from my stats that Twitter is one of my biggest traffic sources, so I continue to invest my limited time and resources in growing that area.

I also know that Facebook is the ugly stepchild of my blogging, and I don’t pay it nearly enough attention.

I’m currently running an experiment to leverage my Facebook page, and the Facebook pages of other bloggers, to grow my Facebook readership. It remains to be seen whether my efforts will be fruitful or not.

What I do know is that I’ve gained about 50 new Facebook fans since starting it two weeks ago, so that’s a plus. These aren’t new-to-me readers, but it does fatten up my Facebook stats. I still need to work harder at actually engaging with people on my Facebook page.

One area that has been an unexpected surprise for me is StumbleUpon. I host a weekly StumbleUpon group on my BlogFrog community that works to help bloggers promote one post per week via the StumbleUpon channel.  It’s very hit and miss, but one post that my group helped me Stumble garnered over 5000 page views in a month (it was about wine. Surprised?).

You’re all invited to join me, if you’ve never tried StumbleUpon out. It might be worth giving it a shot. My BlogFrog community starts off a new round of stumbling every Wednesday, so it’s a great day to join up and get started. Look for Week 28 – it should be posted sometime Wednesday the 30th (tomorrow if you’re reading Tuesday night; today if you’re reading…today).

I’m still trying to fit all of my puzzle pieces together in the right way. Just when I think I have it figured out, I discover another extra piece laying on the floor. It’s one of the things that makes blogging so exciting, and so frustrating, all at the same time.

How do you determine how you’re going to promote your posts? Do you have a tried-and-true method? What methods of promotion are on your “I gotta try” list?

Hosting A Blog Series – Quick Tip Monday

Hosting a blog series can be a great way to encourage loyalty in your readers and boost your traffic.

When I say a “series,” I’m talking about a sequence of regularly-scheduled posts that all relate to the same general topic.

Today, I’d like to give a few tips to think about if you’d like to run a series on your blog.

1. Make sure you can commit. Have you ever had a great idea for your blog, that you’ve kicked off with a ton of gusto, only to find you don’t have the energy, time or creativity to continue it…and it fizzles? I have. Make sure you can commit to the series and see it through to completion.

2. Have a plan. Don’t start a series by just writing the first post and figuring out the rest as you go along. Take time to plan ahead. Map out how many posts you’ll have in the series, what day you’ll post them, what each post will cover specifically, and how you plan to market the series.

3. Think tiny servings, not heaping portions. I ran a 6-week blogging challenge last fall on my personal blog, where I wrote multiple posts every day on blogging for the entire 6 weeks. If I could change one thing about how I built out my series, it would be to break the posts into much smaller servings. I heaped too much information into each post, trying to cover it all. It was too much for my readers to digest every day.

Keep each post in the series TIGHTLY focused on one narrow topic and don’t stray from that. If you find your post expanding…try to break the post into two parts and make your SERIES longer…not the post!

4. Know your subject matter. Don’t do a series on something you don’t know much about and that requires tons of research. Write on something that you’re already good at, passionate about or that people recognize you for. Your knowledge and excitement for a topic will shine through and make the series much more readable.

5. Market your series. Think of creative ways to market your series. Create a twitter hashtag for the series and when you tweet out your posts, use the hashtag. Ask friends to share the posts on their Facebook fan pages. Ask someone to guest post for one post in the series to bring their traffic to you.

6. Look back and reassess. When your blog series is done, it’s worthwhile to take a look back. Reassess what you did and figure out what could have been done better or differently. Keep those in mind when you do another series.

That’s it! Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to writing a great series on your blog. And if you do a fun series that would be of interest to our readers, let us know – we can feature it on the B2B Facebook page!

Have a great blogging week.

Announcing Our Newest Feature

We love our blogger members here at B2B, and many of you requested that we start introducing you to each other.

You ask, I deliver. A few weeks ago in a blogger email, we included an opportunity to submit your blog to be considered for our weekly blog feature.

Wow! Over 350 of you showed interest! That’ll keep me busy for 6 years.

I’ll be selecting bloggers from the list at random – because that seems to be fairest. We’ll be starting the new feature at the beginning of April:

April 2nd will feature our very first Saturday Spotlight blogger. Who will it be? You’ll have to read the blog to find out. Maybe it’ll be you. ‘Cause…I haven’t selected the first random blogger yet. Keep your fingers crossed!

Blogosphere Roundup, 3/24

I gotta say, it’s been an awesome week. Beautiful weather here in Austin, my kids were in a talent show and some fun bloggy things happened, too. I also found another great set of content for this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

Blogging Tips

Get Your Blog Ready For The Big Time. Blog Engage gives some excellent tips on how to be ready for that moment when your blog gets noticed!

Facebook Tutorial for Social RSS. Cindi from Moomette’s Magnificents walks through a cool application called Social RSS that can help you get more visibility for your Facebook page.

Using Google Analytics to Improve Your SEO. This? Is brilliant. Such a simple tip. Use the data you already have to take old posts and make their SEO better. Love this from Shout Me Loud!

What’s Holding Your Blog Back? Is your blog not where you want it to be? AngelaPaige gives you some reasons as to why.

5 Principles of Blogging. 5 essentials to a good blog: and Pushing Social tells you what they are. I love this – it’s spot on.

Social Media News

Encouraging More Interaction on Facebook. I struggle so hard with my personal blog Facebook page and getting people engaged. It’s even harder now that Facebook has changed how it displays news in people’s feeds. This from Viral Blog will explain how you can kickstart your lagging fan page.

Writing Twitter Headlines. Copyblogger always makes it seem so easy.

6 Useful Social Media Monitoring Tools. Some great apps from Shout Me Loud to make social media easier. I use several already!

2011 Social Media Trends. We Blog Better shares what might be on the horizon.

Mom Blogging News

How PR Companies Choose Bloggers. Ever wonder how they do it? This article from ShePosts gives some insight.

Don’t Mess With Mom Bloggers. Learn what happened to one company that didn’t prepare for the power of mom bloggers…in more ways than one.

What Will You Use Your Voice For? A thoughtful article from Mom Blog Magazine about what you say as a blogger and how it can be used, interpreted and affect your future.

That’s it! Whew! I had to eliminate about 20 more articles from this list because it was a jam-packed week! Hope you have a fabulous first full weekend of Spring!

The Social Media Tango

A few weeks back, I read this excellent article on Entrepreneur.com about the 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing.

The article was written primarily for businesses and how they can be more successful by doing social media the right way, but it’s just as applicable for bloggers who run their sites as businesses and/or who hope to monetize their blogs.

We’ve talked together before about what makes a successful tweeter.  Some of the topics covered there are covered in the Entrepreneur article, too.

There’s an overarching theme in all of this stuff.

What differentiates social media from so many other traditional methods of marketing is that it’s not a one-way street. As a blogger running a business, you can’t get away with locking yourself up in your home office and setting up automatic posts to your blog, Facebook and Twitter…then expect that people will be loyal fans.

Social media is not a solo performance where you are the star in the spotlight.

Social media is more like a tango.

It takes two – you, and your readership.

There is some pushing that goes on – you proactively driving how and where your content is read. You post to Twitter or Facebook, you find forums to participate in, you have subscription icons on your blog. All of that work is a push effort. But pushing and pushing and pushing, as anyone who’s hung up on a telemarketer knows, only goes so far.

There has to be a pull effort, too. Pulling is harder. It requires more finesse. It requires interaction, back-and-forth, dialogue and reciprocity. It’s what the author of article above is getting at when she talks about the laws of listening, acknowledgement and accessibility. As relationships are established with your readers in various social media outlets, you build trust, buzz and interest.

If you think about a relationship with your readers as a dance partnership, it makes sense why some bloggers are so successful. They give as much TO their readers as their readers give back in loyalty.

So the next time you are all ready to get up and do the blogger’s equivalent of Swan Lake, think about how you can turn that solo performance into a tango.

What do you think? Can a blogger be successful without following the laws of social media that require listening, accessibility and acknowledgement?

How To Send Out An Email Newsletter: Quick Tip Monday

Today’s Quick Tip is going to teach you how to use Google Friend Connect to send your followers an email newsletter.

I’ll bet some of you didn’t know you could do this! It’s not fancy, but it’s quick and easy. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Go to the Google Friend Connect main page and login with your Google account. The main screen looks like this:

2. You’ll be taken to the GFC dashboard. You’ll see all of the things you can do in GFC in a list with icons. Click on Send A Newsletter.

3. Now you’ll be at the newsletter administration screen. The screen defaults to the “Compose Newsletter” tab. Here’s where you – surprise! – compose the newsletter. Pick your subject line, your “from” name, and then write up the newsletter. You can change fonts, add pictures, change the HTML, etc.

4. After you write the text of your newsletter, you can choose an option where GFC will auto-include a welcome to your recent followers or other activities from your blog right within the email. If you don’t want to, unselect the checkbox. Save draft if you want to come back later.

5. Next you Choose Recipients (I always select all who have opted-in) and then click Preview and Send. You’ll get to take a look at the newsletter before sending.

6. A pop-up screen will appear that shows your newsletter in preview. Close it to keep editing, or click Send to, well, send!

Now, a couple of other things I should mention about this tool:

* It won’t reach everyone. If you have an RSS subscription link on your blog, and someone is using RSS to follow you and not GFC, they will not get your newsletter.

* Don’t abuse it. I’ve sent out two newsletter in 11 months to my subscribers. I save it only for really BIG announcements. Avoid spamming!

I hope you liked today’s tutorial! Have a great week.

Blogosphere Roundup, 3/18


Hi, everybody!

Spring Break is almost over in our house and it’s been a fun week. I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine next week, though. Before I do, I’ve got to share my reads for the week!

Blogging Tips

10 Useful Blogging Communities. The Link Medic shares some communities that can help you promote your blog. They’re not mom blogger-specific, but still worth a look.

Don’t Hit Publish Yet. Think Traffic shares what you should do before you publish a post. Stop and answer his questions.

Make Your Sidebar Beautiful. Britanny from MommyWords gives the lowdown on how to make your sidebar a place of beauty…not the town dump.

Social Media

Avoid Social Media Burnout. Mom Blog Magazine talks about how to not let social media suck you dry.

10 Fun Twitter Apps. Bonsai Interactive shares some fun Twitter apps you may not know about.

Facebook’s New Analytics. Viral Blog walks you through Facebook’s new analytics tools.

Improving Facebook Interactions. Viral Blog talks about how to make your fan page a little more interactive. I so need to study this!

Blogging News

Changes for Blogger in 2011. A lot of you are on Blogger, so this is an important read on what changes Google has planned for its platform from Web Log Tools Collection

How Brands Can Appeal To Moms. This is an interesting read. It’s directed at companies and how they can market to moms more successfully. If you’re a mom, it’s worth knowing what brands are trying to do.

Okay, peeps! I’m out for the weekend! We’ve got a blog announcement coming next week…stay tuned.

To Blogroll or Not To Blogroll…

that is the question for today.

I feel good when someone puts me on their blogroll. It’s like I can check another box on my bloggy to-do list: Yeah! So-and-so likes me enough to refer me to their readers!

I’ve found fantastic bloggers through other people’s blogrolls. Granted, the busier I get, the less I look at them. But when I was a newer blogger, I used blogrolls as a source to find quality blogs and really get out there and network.

I take a lot of pride in my personal blog’s blogroll. I call it “People I Love” for a reason. They are handpicked and I list people for whom I have a real respect and affinity.

While scouring some articles for the Blogosphere Roundup, I came across an article by Chris Garrett called Another Good Reason to NOT Have A Blogroll. In it, he talks, among other things, about how blogrolls nearly always make somebody feel bad.

And then I read this article called Why You Should Avoid Sidebar Blogrolls by Rose DesRochers. She discusses the concept of link juice leakage and how, while trying to spread the link love to your fave bloggers, you could be hurting yourself  with Google with too many outgoing links.

But Mrs. Biz Whiz? She loves blogrolls, as she wrote recently in What Exactly Is It About Blogrolls?

Wow. This is really a dilemma.

Sure, I gave some thought to the fact that some bloggers who read me might be hurt that I haven’t put them on my blogroll. I have been in those shoes myself. But I’ve always felt like I SHOULD have a blogroll.

I had no idea about the leak juice linkage – and it adds a bigger dimension to the dilemma.

I could use extra space in my sidebar.

But I like calling attention to bloggers I love. I like getting attention from bloggers I love.

The time has come in my bloggy career to really give this further thought.

To blogroll, or not to blogroll?

So tell me what you are doing with blogrolls: Do you have one? Is it in your sidebar or on a separate page? How do you handle the selection of the blogs that go on your blogroll?

Are they a necessary evil or has their time come and gone?

What do you think?

A Basic Intro To Feeds – Quick Tip Monday

One of the things that’s become quite clear from our readers is that feeds confuse, intimidate and generally baffle people.

Feedreaders and subscriptions and Atom, oh my!

So today, I’m going to give you a quick and dirty on feeds.

What are feeds?

Feed technology allows website owners and bloggers to extend their content’s reach.

Why do I need a feed?

Feeds are a good thing for your blog. Without a feed, you have to rely on people proactively coming to your blog to read your stuff. With a feed, you can be proactive in pushing your content to the people who want to read it.

How do feeds work?

Feed technology packages up your blog content in different ways and delivers it to the people who want it, when they want it, how they want it. Feed technology sends your content to people via mobile phone, email, feed readers and more.

How do I have a feed? I never did anything to get one?

All of the popular blogging platforms create a feed for you automatically when you start your blog.

How do feeds get read?

There are lots of ways that people can read your stuff via feeds.

* Feed readers. There are both desktop-based and online feed reader services where people can read all of the feeds they’ve subscribed to in one place. Google Reader is the most popular in women’s blogging because so many of us use the Google Friend Connect widget, which hooks directly in to Google Reader. But there are many services like Google Reader.

* Email subscriptions. Many blogs have the “get this blog in your inbox” widgets in their sidebar. Those email deliveries are usually handled using your feed.

* Widgets and gadgets. Feed technology packages your blog content into widgets and gadgets that let people read your content on mobile phones, on other people’s websites, and more.

What is RSS and Atom?

RSS and Atom are two different ways of displaying feed content, kind of like WordPress and Blogger are two ways of maintaining your blog. You don’t really  need to worry too much about it. When people say, “I subscribe to your blog via RSS” it usually means they’ve subscribed to your blog with your RSS icon and not using Google Friend Connect.

What is the difference between a feed reader and Feedburner?

 A feed reader collects all of the feeds a person subscribes to in one place. Feedburner is a feed MANAGEMENT service. It provides a blog owner tools and resources to do all sorts of cool things with a feed. You can offer email subscriptions, generate reports, auto-post your feed content to Twitter and a whole lot more.

That’s all I’m going to cover today. I didn’t want to go into too much detail to start out, but I’ll plan to cover more specific topics on how to use Feedburner on other Mondays.

Have a great blogging week!