Monday, December 31, 2007

Blog Tip #21: Holiday Blogging Marathon

This comes from the department of unconventional wisdom, and there's no guarantee this will be successful. But think about it. When everyone takes off for the holiday (New Years, Christmas, Thanksgiving), the web continues to function. Google Search still needs to be fed with new content.

Granted the number of readers is much lower on holidays, but you can generate some attention around your blog if you are the only one posting - both in terms of machines (search engines, advertising, etc) and in human terms (readers).

If you do plan to have a Holiday Blogging Marathon, it helps if you plan ahead of what you are going to write and when to publish it. Also because not as many people will be reading it, be sure to write posts that can be re-used and re-published later on. This is good for tutorial, how-to, and resource type of posts that won't lose their value a month or a year later.

Again this is an unconventional idea and goes contrary to conventional wisdom, but sometimes you have to try being "outside the box".

Blog Tip #20: Be careful where you use in-line ads!

In-line ads are the new rage in advertising. They are the ads that pop-under select (or random) keywords in the actual text of the blog post. While these ads may be doing well in terms of click percentages, there might be a bigger price to pay for using them: utter user frustration!

Readers are already trained for ads in the sidebars and the headers and the footers, above, below and in-between posts, and at the end of a post. The last "safe place" for them is the actual text of the blog post. Putting in-line ads there can break the camel's back for your blog. This is especially the case if your blog post is an informational or how-to or tutorial type of a post. It is very frustrating when you are trying to concentrate and read and you see random words highlighted and things that may have very little to do with the content pop-under.

Now if your blog post is of a product or shopping or bargain hunting nature, then you can "get away" with all the pop-under ads. But if your post or blog wants to be taken seriously for its article content expertise, be very very very careful with in-line ads.

Here are two examples of this:

Utter frustration: You are writing a long tutorial on how to improve ruined pictures in Photoshop. Your pop-under inline ads randomly pick words that pop while the reader is trying to concentrate, understand your technique and follow your steps. The result? Frustration!

You can get away with it: You are writing a post on where to find the best deals for Photoshop. You talk about this retailer and that retailer, and which coupons or rebates to use, whether to buy online or in-store. The reader is already in a shopping, bargain hunting and product-based mentality, so they are less likely to scream when they see pop-unders.

Blog Tip #19: Add some life to your blog, use a Flickr Photo Pool

If your blog has too many words and not enough picures, or if you are looking for ways to engage and reward your readers for their continued readership and participation in your blog, you can take it a step further by creating a Flickr Photo Pool for your blog and posting pictures from that pool on your blog.

All you need to get a free Flickr account is a Yahoo ID (Yahoo bought Flickr a few months ago). Then create a Flickr account, then a Flickr group for your blog, and then create a Flickr photo pool. Once the photo pool is created, announce this on your blog and invite your readers to submit their pictures to your photo pool (or add your own to get it started).

When there's at least one picture in the Photo Pool, you can create Flickr Badges and post them on your blog or website. These can be either HTML or Flash-based and can be customized using CSS for those who like to customize. You can let the computer randomly decide which pictures are loaded each time your page is loaded, or you can show the last few pictures added it. You can also choose how many pictures are shown, how big/small they are, and whether they go vertically or horizontally (eg if putting them in a post or a sidebar).

If you are not familiar with Flickr, you can figure things out quickly using their Help pages.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blog Tip #18: Keep your user name under 15 characters for sure

If you plan to create a user name and "brand" it across the internet, eg have the same username for your email address, Web 2.0 content, blog, web directories, social bookmarking sites and such, you will discover (the hard way perhaps) that some of them won't let you create user names that are longer than 15 characters. Also some of those services do not like user names that start with a number. They insist that the user name must start with a letter.

So if you are planning to have an across-the-board internet brand, be sure to stay under 15 characters - if you want to use exactly the same user name everywhere!

Recent posts