What’s the Point of Your Blog?

More, please.What does successful blogging mean to you?

If you have a blog, chances are there are many reasons that motivate you. Whether you like to provide helpful information, bring more visitors to your website or just like blogging as a creative outlet, there are many ways that you can improve your blog.

One thing’s for sure, you need to approach it as if it’s more than just content for search engines. Here are some things that I try to keep in mind:

  1. Expand on what you know best. Have you ever wondered why how-to and troubleshooting articles are so popular? People link and share these posts because they appreciate specific details and even narratives.
  2. Link to your content and other blog posts. Don’t treat a blog post as if it’s just a single entity. Your posts should be interconnected and relevant. This will also be helpful for readers looking for more information and help increase the amount of time they spend on your site or blog.
  3. Practice makes perfect, so be persistent. Blogging isn’t just a one shot deal. The work doesn’t after your fingers leave the keyboard. If you feel like you haven’t quite reached the  sweet spot as a blogger, it never hurts to try again. In fact, more helpful content can only help your business.
  4. What’s the point or call to action? At the end of the day, you want to leave a lasting message whether it’s getting the reader to call, continue reading, share the post with others or just comment. Like a story, an effective blog posts needs a beginning, middle and end that brings everything together.

Blogging and even micro-blogging are becoming more important to your business and online presence. What’s the point of your blog and what do you think you need to work on?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You the Tortoise or the Hare in the SEO Game?

SEO and speedMany people don’t understand the power of organic SEO. Like the tortoise and the hare, you can look at SEO in two different ways:

  1. Hare: Going fast all at once
  2. Tortoise: Taking it slow and steady

If you’re looking for a quick gain with SEO, you could be tempted to churn out pages of content with keywords strewn throughout. This might give you an initial boost but competitors with a more steady approach can creep up on you.
You’ll probably also be skimping out on the quality of the content that you put out. Instead, you can use your speed with a more focused approach: after you jot down your ideas for content, have someone else edit it and schedule the content to be released throughout the month. If you expend all your energy in a short amount of time, you’ll run the risk of burning out and wasting your efforts.

If you believe in taking the slow route, you’re on your way to building a strong foundation for SEO content down the road. By doing keyword research and writing about interesting topics, you’ll attract more clicks and readers. However, it is easy for the process to get too drawn out. At first, you might set a goal of blogging once a week and that slows down to every other week and maybe, once a month if you’re lucky. Being too slow could also mean that you’re missing out blogging about recent news topics/stories that are related to your field.

Unlike Aesop’s famed fable, there really is no “right” or “wrong” speed to adapt when it comes to SEO – but more of a mentality. Consistency and quality are important for SEO content and when you keep those two things in mind, you’ll go farther than just relying on a time frame to reach your destination.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Why Choose Tumblr?

What does Nic Cage as Everyone, Newsweek, and Scanwiches have in common? They’re all Tumblr blogs!

We’ve talked about simple blogging platforms with Posterous (see our previous post) but many bloggers are choosing Tumblr. Just take a look at their home page and you can see it’s as easy to sign up and make your first post:

Tumblr

Whereas WordPress is better suited for content and search engine visibility (with all the plugins and bells and whistles), Tumblr is for a *new* breed of blogger. That is, bloggers who rely on unique posts AND pictures to engage their visitors. An interesting thing you’ll notice is that most Tumblr blogs consist of picture posts.

What was commonly thought as being not SEO friendly has become the high point for Tumblr, as you can easily upload any type of media multimedia to your blog. Team Tumblr themselves has described this process as being “effortless”.

If you’re still confused about where Tumblr lies in the blogosphere, I like to think of it as a microblogging platform with highly customizable capabilities (Google Analytics and third party applications) PLUS a very social side. You can invite other users to make contributions on your blog, follow other users to see their updates (ala Facebook and Twitter) and even make updates via AIM.

As a blogger, it’s important to stay focused on your craft of writing and posting regularly. Tumblr’s main benefit is that it’s user and social media-friendly. It’s simplicity, especially for the socially-savvy will help take away the distractions that may arise with WordPress so that you can get more work done, so to speak.
If you blog, what’s your favorite or least favorite platform and why?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Content

content creation

After all your hard work , you want to make sure that your efforts don’t get lost in the sea of online content. From your regular blog posts to  Tweets, here are some ways you can make sure that you’re making the most out of your social media content:

  • Blog – Writing a post-worthy blog isn’t enough to get your content found. Make sure to fill out the Title, meta description, anchor text, tags with meaningful and relevant keywords before you post. You can also edit the URL of your post to make it shorter and more concise (see: the url of this post vs the title)
  • Images – When you add pictures to your blog or website, always remember to add a title or description. Even if it’s just your brand name or a broad description, these words will go a long way!  My pet hamster made it to the first page of Google Images because I optimized a Flickr photo his name in the title, tags and description.
  • Video– It’s easy to optimize YouTube videos. Properly optimized videos are powerful assets that will benefit your brand in the long run because they have a strong staying power (especially if you get them to rank for a specific location/niche.)
  • Twitter– Keep your messages short and sweet and don’t be afraid to include target keywords and other terms you want to be associated with. A fun part of Twitter is that your responses to other users and retweets also count as content.
  • Facebook– This isn’t the place to blast the same messages over again. Neither is it a place to overtly self-promote. With New Facebook Pages rolling out, you can make your fans keep them engaged and make them feel like they’re part of something exclusive by creating unique, well-timed messages.

What are some other ways you properly optimize your social media content?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

5 SEO Plugins for WordPress

Before you start blogging, you might want to consider some of these SEO plugins. They’ll help search engines find and crawl your content:

1) All-In-One SEO Pack – No blog should be complete without this tool. It’s a quick and simple way to enter all your keywords, tags, meta information, categories and more.

2) Google XML Sitemaps – This useful plugin will notify search engines every time a post is updated. This is the most efficient way for search engines to find and index all your blog content.

3) SEO Slugs – This plugin improves SEO visibility by automatically renaming the post’s file name . It will remove words that aren’t necessary in the eyes of search engines – words like “a”, “in”, and “if”. Optimized titles will help your blog get crawled more efficiently.

4) SEO Smart Links – If there’s one thing search engines like, it’s interlinking or self-linking within your own blog posts. This shows that your content is relevant and connected. This plugin automatically links keywords in your posts with other corresponding posts.

5) Simple Tags –  Simple Tags allows you to mass edit tags, suggest related tags, create tag clouds and more. It’s an easy tool to manage all your tags from one place.

What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media and SEO: The Perfect Pair

Emarketed social media advertising and SEOEver have a client (or someone else) ask you what the point of social media is? They may tell you, I already have a new website and I do SEO and PPC – why would I need social media?

Let’s now take a look at some ways that social media and search engine optimization go hand in hand:

Boosting Organic Search Results

Believe it or not, participation on social sites counts as content. Search engines are constantly changing to adapt to this when displaying results. You’ll be surprised at how you’ll benefit with consistent participation. I’ve Googled my name a couple times and see my comments or “Likes” on Facebook Pages in the results. Just as you blog and optimize videos with advertising keywords, you can also incorporate this strategy when making updates.

Staying Visible in Real-Time

Using social networks increases the immediate visibility of your brand. We currently have a client whose site doesn’t show up in a search of one of their common aliases but their Twitter account does. This will help them while SEO is in the works. There are also real time search engines like Twitter Search and 48ers where users can look up any word. You can think of social media advertising just like another form of offsite promotion or in a way, linkbuilding.

Getting Back to Your Goal

In the end, social media makes sense when it comes back to your goal – bringing relevant traffic to your site. Social media sites make it so simple to share. More sharing = more clicks = more conversions. With that being said, social media cannot replace your traditional marketing efforts. It’s a flexible tool that complements your other strategies and site assets. Just think of it as another useful tool in your tool belt!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You Feeling the Pain of Social Media Promotion?

Nowadays, a blog here and there just isn’t enough to get your content out there. It can be hard to go that extra step but the effort is worth it. Promotion with social media doesn’t have to be a painful process for writers and bloggers. Many people see social media as a medium for personal relationships, so why can’t you apply that concept to engage your readers?

Add a Personal Touch
It’s easier than it seems but fans will appreciate it when you add a personal touch to your social media efforts. Instead of just linking a news story or site, give them a good reason to read and click. People aren’t just interested if you’re throwing a URL out at them. Give your opinion or a different spin on the subject. Here are some examples:

  • Have a sense of humor. Being genuine and funny is one of the best ways to get a response or RT on Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Give people shout outs. On Twitter and Facebook, you can use the @ tag to show your fans and followers appreciation.
  • Retweet others and comment. The best way to engage is to start with outreaching others. Remember, it’s not all about pushing your URL.

Simple is Always Best
It helps to stay simple and you can start with your content. Unless you’re focusing on a niche topic or doing some technical writing, more people will be able to connect with a simple subject. Reading other blogs and articles can help give you ideas and also improve your writing. These are simple steps you can take for inspiration and learning more about your area of expertise. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy and it takes practice. Just think about it, what’s more difficult: writing a concise one sentence summary or writing a summary paragraph?

Bloggers often focus on consistently coming up with new ideas and writing the content. After the writing process, it can be tedious to promote your work on different social media channels. Try to force yourself to do so by following a few of these tips. Remember that in the end, you get what you put in but you can always work to change the outcome. No pain = no gain!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Taking the 7 Link Challenge

It’s time to take the 7 Link Challenge with Darren Rowse of Problogger:

Your first post
I remember this took a lot of time and editing for two measly paragraphs. I haven’t really looked back on it but it’s cool to see that it has gotten 21 retweets! Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

A post you enjoyed writing the most

I was suffering from a case of writer’s block and didn’t really know what to write about. Sometimes, it’s good just to force yourself to write and you’ll find a topic that is inspiring. Add Pieces of Flair

A post which had a great discussion

A recent guest blog post that got a lot of comments for and against the EZineArticles WordPress plugin. 3 Social Media Tools That Help Bloggers Interact with Readers

A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written

I wish I wrote a valuable resource that other bloggers bookmarked and referred to. For me, it’s Chris Brogan’s 100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write.

Your most helpful post

It was helpful for me to write this post because I was researching link building resources. Hopefully, readers learned about different types of links. What’s Your Link Building Focus?

A post with a title that you are proud of

A fun topic to think and write about. I think the title sums the post up nicely. Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

A post that you wish more people had read

It would be nice to get more input about this topic and see what other people think about the topic. Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Thoughts from Prince & Kenny G: Is the Internet Dead?

Prince Slams the Interwebz
In a recent interview, Prince talks about how he has turned his back on using the internet and iTunes to promote his music. Instead, Prince is opting to give the UK’s Daily Mirror readers FREE copies of his new album. The interview also shows that Prince has shut down his own official website. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, coming from a man who shut down his biggest fan site a couple years back. But what exactly is his logic behind this? This is what he has to say:

“The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else.”
“The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.”
“Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Kenny G Loves the Internet
Don’t worry, Kenny G is ready to stand up for the internet. Like Prince, he’s also promoting a new album but admits that he isn’t too “Internet and download savvy”. In a short interview with the sax master, Kenny states:

if the Internet is dead “then I must be dead, too, ’cause I use it all the time.”

So, whose side are you own? I don’t really get why Prince is alienating what’s left of his fan base… You can’t just completely blast the entire internet and say that it’s no good. That’s like people who claim that they don’t watch TV or read books. Really? With all the choices out there? I doubt that Prince will do any backpedaling now but we’ll see how his new album does.

PS) Did you know that Kenny G was one of the original investors of Starbucks?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Social Media Challenges Do You Face?

Feeling Lost
Many companies who take the big dive into social media can be left feeling a little lost. This is understandable as it can be confusing to organize what to do and who to listen to. If you’re feeling confused, it’s time to do something about it! Many companies and social media resources offer free webinars or white papers for educational use. For example, SEOmoz has resources ranked by difficulty so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed if you’re a beginner. Once you have a better understanding of what you want to accomplish, you can begin looking into social media tactics that can help you pursue this plan. Remember, social media is just another channel where you can extend your reach in the areas of marketing, customer service, partnerships, leads and even hiring.

Spending Too Much/Little Time?

Do you feel like social media helps your brand or hinders it? It depends on how you look at it of course. If you don’t have a plan, things can get messy and you can find yourself spending way too much time on Twitter. Depending on your schedule, you may want to assign yourself a couple minutes (I like 5-10 minute bursts) of time to check your social media profiles. If it gets too overwhelming, ask for help. A big mistake you can make is trying to manage everything on your own, especially if you don’t have the time or understanding. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a Twitter whiz or Facebook specialist.If you don’t know where to look, an internet marketing firm is a great place to start.

Problems with Consistency
Many companies need help and motivation in keeping consistent with participation on social media sites. Think of this task like a project for a client or a personal goal. You need to establish time lines and can start realistically. It might be a long shot to aim to write 10 blogs a week, so why not start with every third day? You can always build yourself up without any pressure. Just like all the good things in life, social media success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication. The misconception is that people get frustrated with their progress because the services are “free”. But remember, you get out what you put in, so plan accordingly. Set aside some time to set targets for your blog, tweets, Facebook Page updates and you’ll be glad you did!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.