Posts Tagged Blogging

Book Review: Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche

Posted by on Thursday, 13 November, 2014

Standing-Out-In-A-Popular-Blogging-NicheI first heard Kimberly Gauthier speak at WordCamp Seattle this year. Unfortunately I was the photographer for the day, so couldn’t stay for all her presentation. Thus, I was eager to read her book, Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche. I wasn’t disappointed.

While knowledgeable on the  technical side of WordPress, this book is more strategy and promotion. Kimberly uses her own experiences with Keep the Tail Wagging – her own blog – to take the reader through building their own successful blog. I love that she includes goal setting straight out, and also finding your blog’s voice. Very useful things and ones often overlooked. as I mentioned, Kimberly uses her own experiences and shares her learnings. To show there is no magic number of posts per week, she shares how she started with 5-6, but has dropped it back this year to concentrate on other aspects of the blog. To discuss time management (another overlooked aspect of blogging), she lists her responsibilities.

I think my favorite chapter is the monetization discussion. Let’s be honest, blogs cost time and a little bit of money. And we always feel special when brands send us product. Read this for a reminder to stay true to your brand’s voice and honor your audience. She also gives a detailed account of disclosure requirements to avoid getting a nasty call from the FTC. Oh, and the dealing with conflict discussion is a must-read.

Technical tactics haven’t been totally left out. I’ve just added Tweet Old Posts (not called Revive Old Posts) plug-in to Tap Dancing Spiders, on Kimberly’s inclusion. Check out the bonus tips at the end.

The formatting is a little messy in parts. Most of my Kindle books are eARCs, so I’m not sure if it’s a Kindle thing. It’s just a little off-putting.

Who is Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche for?

This book is for anyone starting a blog, or already running one. TDS is now seven years old and I’ve learned from Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche. I’ve moved through three different voices, and this book would have helped me focus all those years ago.

Kimberly Gauthier is speaking at our #HootupSEA event next week for Hootsuite. If you’re in Seattle’s U District on Wednesday evening, we’d love to see you at the free event, So you want to be a Blogger.

Book Review: The Year Without Pants

Posted by on Saturday, 8 February, 2014

year-without-pantsI’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse to read The Year Without Pants reviews on GoodReads while mid-read. The reviews are mixed. Many hate the book. Some love it. I’m not sure how many get it.

The Year Without Pants isn’t your typical business book. Author Scott Burkun wondered if he could walk the talk. It was several years and four books since he left a management role with Microsoft. So, he took a job with WordPress and wrote this book on leadership, productivity and work. It’s part memoir, part business book. Scott describes it as participatory journalism.

If you’re not aware, Automattic, the company behind WordPress operates with a 100% remote workforce. Not only that, they’re successful enough to run 21.4% of the world’s websites. I’ve been running sites on WordPress for many years and heard Scott speak at WordCamp 2013. This little fan girl was excited to read this book, and annoyed that life got in the way from a quick read.

Was I disappointed? Not a chance. I loved the inside stories of the product I was using. So many moments of “ooh, I love that plug-in” and “awww, baby-sized JetPack”. I actually had to drop half my post-its from this review because they were pointing out great examples of teamwork and process I want to implement, not if this is a good business book or not.

So Is It a Good Business Book?

Yes. It is. It’s not as straight forward as something by Philip Kotler, but it’s more entertaining and useful. And contains more drinking stories. The hits and hindrances of leading a much-younger team, whom you only see face-to-face a couple of times a year will help many as this becomes our norm. There are also great quotes like, “safeguards don’t make you safe, they make you lazy”, and “morale isn’t an event, it’s the accumulated goodwill people build through work together”.

Overall, The Year Without Pants is an honest and open look at leadership tactics being put into practice, thorns and all. Just remember while you’re reading this, it’s Scott’s story, not an instruction manual. Learn from his experiences, not his examples.

How to find keywords now that Google won’t share

Posted by on Monday, 30 September, 2013

google-analyticsI was part-way through writing instructions for how to find keywords on Google’s Webmaster tools. It was to be posted on Wednesday.

Then, this afternoon I found this great article by Search Engine Watch. Not only does it give you ten ways to find keywords, it explains Google’s decision to suppress ALL of them. I decided to just link to the article because it describes the situation and solutions better than I can.

A client call got in the way. Then a friend was in my neighborhood and invited me to happy hour.

By the time I got back to my computer there was a new announcement: Google has removed all keyword data from Google Webmaster Tools. I swore.

It may be a bug. Google’s not saying anything, but that means nothing.

So making a plan C out of a plan B, the Search Engine Watch article is still a great article. Just with an extra keyword source.

The ones to use are:

  1. Learn from Avinash Kaushik
  2. Look at Non-Google Keywords
  3. Analyze On-Site Searches
  4. Use Google AdWords
  5. Use Search Volume Tools
  6. Look at Historical Data
  7. Use Google Trends

For more detail on each of these, here’s another link to the Search Engine Watch article.

PS, anyone want a half-written, now potentially useless, post on how to find keywords using Google’s Webmaster Tools?

 

My Newest Project: Jingle to 5k

Posted by on Wednesday, 25 September, 2013

jingle-bell-runI’ve been quiet here recently and for good reason. Previously you’ve heard about my entry in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for this year and to run the 5k (link to that post is here). I’m now blogging my progress on the new site Jingle to 5k.

A friend from Melbourne Natalie Roche is coaching me and writing the training program so I won’t end up with injuries. She also sends me messages such as, “Bianca, it’s Wednesday. Have you done your pilates yet?”. It’s needed; running is more fun than pilates.

Both Natalie and I will be posting and my training plan is online.

Comment, like, love on the Jingle to 5k site. Join me for the run if you’re in Seattle (you can walk or even snooze). Or sponsor me and help the Arthritis Foundation.

Google KeyWord Finder – One of my favorite tools

Posted by on Thursday, 27 June, 2013

most-common-crossword-wordsUnless you play in the search engine marketing arena, you may not be aware of Google’s KeyWord Finder tool and the extent of its awesomeness.

In SEM, it’s used for finding the low cost, high traffic keywords to target. It is based on actual searches – spelling errors and weirdness and all.

As well as SEM, it’s great to work out how to position your copy. What are the words your audience are using? You may use jargon, but if your audience doesn’t use the same terms you won’t be found via search engines. And we all want to be found.

Looking at the related keywords can also give you topic ideas to write about. Or, you can do what I used to get distracted by when keywording SEM campaigns: see what people actually search. Be warned though, it’s often NSFW and will have you thinking WTF?!?