Archive for the ‘Business Blogging’ Category

How to Promote Blog Posts: 200+ Ideas from Eight Experts

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Company blogs have become virtually essential, and very powerful, component of digital marketing. In addition to their SEO benefits and role in maximizing web presence for brands, blogs produce sales and leads. According to recent research, more than half (52%) of consumers say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions; and 57% of marketers say they’ve acquired new customers with their blogs.

But creating and maintaining a successful blog takes more than just producing helpful and original content; as social media expert Heidi Cohen recently wrote, “The most epic content will FAIL without content distribution. If no one sees your content, what good is it?”

So, once you’ve created great content, how do you get it “out there”? Which content promotion tools are most useful? Which blog post promotion tactics are most effective? Is it still worthwhile to get listed in blog directories, and if so, which ones?

Find the answers to these questions and more here among hundreds of recommendations about tools, tactics and techniques to promote blog posts.

25 Easy Ways to Promote Your Blog by Kim Garst

Kim GarstKim Garst shares a list she’s compiled of “strategies that will help you promote your blog and drive traffic to your website,” such as promoting posts to your email list, commenting on other blogs, participating in industry forums, creating a Slideshare based on a post, and buying “cheap banner ads on niche sites.”

50 Experts Reveal How to Promote Your Blog with Just 3 Tools by clambr
***** 5 STARS

Richard MarriottRichard Marriott curates answers from 50 (actually 53) experts on which tools they would use to promote their blog content if they could only use three. Among the tools mentioned are Buffer, Triberr, Wistia, Facebook, and several others; but according to this group of experts, the three most helpful tools are…(read the post).

120 Marketing Tactics for Blogs [Infographic] by Customer Think
***** 5 STARS

Pam DyerPam Dyer outlines five steps for creating a successful blog—from understanding your goals to using marketing tactics to create visibility—then showcases an infographic illustrating 120 blog marketing tactics, from social networks to eBooks to PR to video, contests, “egobait” and forum posting.

How I promote my new blog posts by The Social Media Hat

Mike AltonMike Alton updates a detailed post about post promotion, helpfully advising readers not only how to promote their blog posts but also which tactics to avoid or drop, as they are no longer effective; for example, regarding social sharing sites, “The New MySpace no longer allows link sharing. And I have dropped Bebo and Diigo and Viadeo.”

25 Smart Ways to Promote Your Latest Blog Post by Rebekah Radice
***** 5 STARS

Rebekah RadicePinterest diva Rebekah Radice here outlines more than two dozen tactics for promoting posts, from social networks to blogger communities like Triberr, Social Buzz Club and Viral Content Buzz, to manual and automated social bookmarking sites.

25 Tactics to Promote Your Blog via Facebook and Twitter by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen serves up more than two dozen tips for promoting your blog through social media, among them: writing “regular features responding to your audience’s needs and interests;” including sidebar links that make it easy for readers to follow you on Facebook and Twitter (and other social networks, as applicable): and thanking people for sharing your posts.

50 Ways to Promote and Market your Blog Posts by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

Samuel PusteaGuest author Samuel Pustea suggests more than four dozen ways to promote blog posts, from the big social networks to newer tools like Pinterest, Triberr, Pligg and Scoop.it to RSS directory posting, infographics and guest blogging.

Active RSS and Blog Directories List by Buzzkeep

Arvid LindeAs Arvid Linde notes here, there were once hundreds of blog directories across the web—but most existed solely for “spam purposes.” This post provides a short list of 43 still-active, reasonably high-quality directories that can actually drive traffic, even if the links no longer have much SEO benefit.

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28 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2013

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Maintaining a company blog has numerous benefits for businesses of almost all shapes and sizes: blogging is an SEO best practice; it drives more website visitors lead conversions; it draws new visitors, expanding the reach of the company website; and it’s core element of a content marketing and online presence optimization strategy.

Best Business Blogging Guides of 2013So it’s not surprising that 76% of b2b companies and 72% of b2c enterprises now have corporate blogs.

Still—not every company that blogs realizes the medium’s full potential. And blogs require significant effort and resources, so even companies that have effective blogs want to assure they are maximizing results.

How can you attract more sales prospects to your blog? Get visitors to engage with your content? Become recognized as an industry thought leader? Optimize your blog for search? What common mistakes should you avoid? Which tools and plugins should you be using?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best business blogging guides of the past year.

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips

7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenTo make your blog a marketing machine rather than a me-me-me (or me-too) blog, Heidi Cohen advises focusing on your audience’s hot buttons, outlining a series of ongoing columns, branding your blog, and incorporating clear calls to action, among other tactics.

9 Ways To Get More Prospects To Discover Your B2B Blog by Business2Community

Douglas BurdettDouglas Burdett recommends “nine tactics (that) will get your blog discovered by more readers,” from looking for and capitalizing on trends in your blog analytics and publishing original data to being controversial by “taking a stand and backing it up with data.”

An Almost Effortless Way to “Get Your Name Out There” by The Un-Self-Help Blog

Stephan WiednerStephan Wiedner shares six reasons to write guest posts for other blogs, among them: “It builds relationships. If you write for someone else’s blog and their readers like what you share, they will be grateful, potentially ask you to write again, and who knows, maybe scratch your back in other ways some time in the future.” And despite some recent, widely misinterpreted comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, guest blogging is not dead.

30+ powerful adjectives and verbs for eye-catching headlines by Econsultancy

Chris LakeQuoting advertising legend David Ogilvy that “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” Chris Lake offers guidance on choosing compelling blog post topics then grabbing attention by using key adjectives and verbs in the headline. Based on research over millions of page impressions, these adjectives include “best,” “brilliant,” “kickass,” “mindblowing” and “ultimate” among others.

5 Ways to Create a Deliciously Irresistible Blog Post Title by SteamFeed

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice explains why post titles are so important, the four objectives a post title should achieve, and a handful of tips to help craft compelling titles, such as keeping them concise: “It has been found that titles with eight words or less perform best.”

6 Ways To Go From Anonymous Hermit To Thought Leader by Fast Company

Wendy MarxContending that “Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the smartest kid on the block. It does mean that you’re the most receptive and understanding of your customers’ needs,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers half a dozen tips for making the transition, including writing for trade publications and speaking at industry events.

How to Optimize Your Blog Content for Social Media by Maximize Social Business

Kristi HinesKristi Hines shares a handful of helpful tips for optimizing blog posts for social sharing, from adding social sharing buttons (a task done easily with tools like AddThis or ShareThis]) to including a social call to action (“let readers know that you want them to share your posts by adding a call to action at the end such as ‘If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends’”).

33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellAdam Connell compiles advice from nearly three dozen seasoned bloggers on increasing reader engagement, including tips from Seth Godin (“The only thing I do to increase reader engagement is to write things worth sharing”), frequent Webbiquity best-of contributor Neil Patel, Dino Dogan, Anita Campbell, Ted Rubin, Lisa Buben, Joel Comm and more.

7 company blogs that build community by Ragan.com

Emma SiemaskoEmma Siemasko looks at “seven company blogs that do it right, along with some practical tips for getting the same success with your blog,” among them 37Signals: “Signal vs. Noise, 37 Signals’ blog, does a lot more than promote the company…The blog provides thoughtful, inquisitive, and truth-seeking articles about working from home, whether an iPhone camera is enough of a camera, and more.”

How to Generate More Leads With Your Blog: 5 Tips by Social Media Examiner

Kristi Hines (again) supplies a handful of helpful tips for generating leads via a blog, like placing opt-in forms around your blog content with “calls to action such as free trials, free consultations or a simple mailing list opt-in form.”

How to Contribute to a Blog and be Seen by Geekless Tech

Steve HughesNoting that contributing to other blogs “helps with reach, and exposes you to an audience you just don’t have with your own blog,” Steven Hughes shares a handful of tips for constructively contributing such as following directions: “Some sites will spell out exactly what they’re looking for and what you need to do to be considered,” and creating solid, original content.

20 ideas for content that people love to share on social media by Firebrand Ideas Ignition

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas provides 20 tips to help bloggers create a steady stream of fresh content, including creating lists, republishing infographics, curating content (kind of like this post), reporting news, analyzing research results, and reviewing tools or applications.

How to Make Your WordPress Blog to Stand Out by Themefuse

Karol KrolKarol Król presents five ideas to make your blog stand out from the crowd, from picking a new publication schedule (“you won’t know which posting frequency is the best for your blog until you try at least a couple of them”) to launching a contest (“Create a genuine task, or ask a genuine question…Then gather the entries and pick the winner”).

Best Tips for Beginning Bloggers

7 Content Writing Secrets Every Blogger Should Know by Basic Blog Tips

Glen AndrewsGlen Andrews details basic but helpful strategies for writing compelling blog posts, from crafting an attention-grabbing headline and opening through “giving it a rest”–”Before you publish that post – give it a rest. Why? Because, no matter how good we think our post is today, tomorrow never lies…Our posts will be more powerful and professional if we ‘let it rest’ and review it tomorrow with fresh eyes.”

5 Steps To A Successful Blog – A First-Time Blogger’s Business Plan by Viral Mom

Bernard ZarifovicBernard Zarifovic diagrams a first-time blogger’s business plan, starting with selecting a topic or niche and writing the first set of posts and progressing through social sharing, social engagement, and guest blogging.

7 reasons why a blog is vital to your social media strategy by Memeburn

Megan BersteinWhile most of the points here will be familiar to experienced bloggers, Megan Bernstein offers some interesting insights for corporate blog strategy, such as understanding the competitive landscape: “Your competitors in the online space are not always the same as those in ‘real life’.”

Top 10 Strategies to Successful B2B Blogging by TopTenWholesale.com

Naomi Ruth GanhinhinNaomi Ruth Ganhinhin offers 10 tips for blogging success, from setting clear objectives (“A clear set of objectives makes it easier to organize the type of content you publish. It also dictates the tone you are going to use and determine the right people to write your blog posts”) to including calls to action.

Best Guides to Blogging Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are You Making These 20 Mistakes on Your Blog? by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas (again) steps through 20 “common  mistakes that a lot of ‘newbie’ and other bloggers slip into,” such as not providing additional reading sources with each post, writing posts that are too long or too short (he recommends aiming for 500-800 words), and not using post categories to help readers find posts of interest.

Still Using Google Images for Your Blog Posts? Stop It! by She Owns It

Shelley WebbWriting that she has “seen too many people served with unexpected ‘bills’ and/or lawsuits for using images that held copyrights,” guest author Shelley Webb explains what types of actions and sources can get bloggers into trouble, and lists alternative / free image sources like Stock.XCHNG.

Blogging: 34 Things You’re Doing Wrong by Social Media Today

Yvonne LyonsYvonne Lyons reveals “34 things that could be keeping your posts from getting traction and making the jump from good to remarkable,” such as errors / lack of editing, choosing a topic that’s been “done to death,” and having no links within the post to your own site—and how to fix each problem.

Why Your Company Blog is Striking Out by Marketo Blog

K'Lee BanksGuest blogger K’Lee Banks offers advice on what to do “if you are spending time writing posts, but no one is listening,” for example: use interesting images (not just stock photos), always include social sharing buttons; and “Invite other professionals in your industry to guest post and connect with their readers.”

Best Blog SEO Guides and Tips

How To Move Your Blog Post Up In Search Results by V3 Integrated Marketing

Ian ClearyGuest author Ian Cleary outlines a half-dozen tactics to improve a blog’s search rankings, including the strategic use of internal and external links: “You don’t want to include a ton of internal links, as that looks spammy. Instead, make sure you’re directing your readers to the resources that they need (internal or external).”

How to Optimize Your Business Blog [Checklist] by Unbounce
***** 5 STARS

Lindsey KirchoffIn this highly bookmark-worthy post, Lindsey Kirchoff lays out a simple four-quadrant checklist for optimizing all aspects of a business blog: structure (e.g., navigation, search, categories); SEO (attributes like keyword use, internal links and Google authorship); CTAs; and social elements.

15 SEO Experts Give Their Best Tips For Blogging by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) shares blog SEO trips from experts like Kipp Bodnar and Jeffery L. Cohen (“The single biggest factor in SEO success for bloggers comes down to consistent publishing. Those who publish regularly receive more search traffic”), Eric Enge, Ron Jones, Rebecca Lieb and Charlie White.

Best Business Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips and Plugins

4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools maven Ann Smarty reviews four browser plugins to help find free (creative commons) images for use in blog posts, including CC Search, a search plugin that provides “quick access to about 10 Creative Commons search engines (including flickr, spinxpress, wikimedia, fotopedia, etc). It’s a good search plugin when you need more options that just Flickr.”

How to Make WordPress Sites Load 72.7% Faster by CopyBlogger

Jerod MorrisIn an attempt to “cut the crap and turn down the hype” regarding how to create a faster WordPress site, Jerod Morris recommends staring by examining and optimizing the “core” of every WordPress site, which includes “hosting, theme, and plugins,” then offers a series of speed optimization tips. Not all are simple, but most bloggers should at least be able to find some helpful site speed-related takeaways here.

7 Emerging and Free WordPress Plugins of Fall 2013 by SteamFeed

Jesse AaronJesse Aaron reviews seven newer WordPress plugins, including WooSidebars (for creating custom sidebars by page), All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (self-explanatory) and his favorite: the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin, which makes it “insanely easy” to do things like “create an effective call to action button, direct the call to action to a landing page, and direct the landing page to a conversion form.”

Easily Move Your WordPress Website to a New Host by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThis is an instance where “easily” may be in the eyes of the reader, but nonetheless Debra Murphy does an exemplary job here of detailing the non-trivial process of moving an existing blog to a new web host as simple and understandable as possible.

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Guest Blogging is NOT Dead (And Matt Cutts Didn’t Say It Is)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The digital marketing blogs and media have lit up in the last couple of days with reports that “guest blogging is dead,” based on this post from Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team.

The post was widely misinterpreted to mean “stop doing guest blogging,” as even Matt acknowledged in a later addition to his original post:

Say no to spammy guest blogging outreach“I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. ..I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to ‘guest blogging’ as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

The point is pretty clear. Guest posting done with the interest of the community and readers in mind still have value. But attempts at getting guest posts published in a manipulative manner, purely or primarily for the SEO benefit of the backlinks, are no longer going to be effective (and by implication, may even lead to penalties or ranking degradation).

And the gray area isn’t even that large; it’s generally fairly easy to separate legitimate guest post requests from the spammy ones.

Sender: legitimate guest post requests will generally come from people you know, or have heard of, or who at least seem to have a reputable online presence and can tell you exactly why they want to write for your blog (beyond just “Hey, I love your blog!”).

Relevance: a legitimate request will generally focus on one specific post, suitable for your audience and relevant to your typical topics and style. For example, this post on fascinating social media facts and statistics was a great fit for Jeff Bullas’ blog, because it meshes well both topically and stylistically with the kinds of posts Jeff often writes. But this style would not have worked as well on a site like Social Media Examiner.

Spammy guest posters, on the other hand, are often miraculously able to write a post on any topic from household cleaning tips to space travel—or a custom topic if you prefer! Ugh.

Compensation: Matt calls this out specifically in his post, noting that “email offering money to get links that pass PageRank (are) a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.” A legitimate guest blogger offers a post that has value to your blog in and of itself, and so would not propose monetary compensation.

Backlinks: virtually all guest posts include backlinks. Nothing wrong with that alone. The difference here between a legitimate and a spammy request is 1) the purpose of the links: do they appear to be there to guide the reader to additional, relevant information—or are they trying to sell something, or link to a page with little or no relevance to the post? (or worse, to something sketchy like an online pharmacy site); and 2) the author’s approach to the links. If he or she is comfortable with you changing, deleting, or no-following the links, then the guest post is clearly not just a spammy attempt at link building.

Comfort level: this is a bit amorphous, and will vary among individuals, but essentially: based on what you know about the person proposing the guest post, would you be open to connecting with him or her on various social media platforms? Possibly even to—under the right circumstances—write your own guest post for that person’s blog?

For example, there’s been some cross-posting over the years between Webbiquity and the Blue Focus Marketing blog. The cross-posting is decidedly non-spammy because both blogs focus on b2b marketing and branding; Cheryl and Mark Burgess are excellent writers and authors; and they are awesome people. It would make sense even in the absence of any SEO benefit (though there likely is, still, some).

Motivation: as Matt notes in the addition to his original post quoted above, “There are still many good reasons to do guest blogging.” It increases brand awareness, provides the opportunity to connect with a new audience, and helps increase overall web presence for a brand or product.

And Matt’s post doesn’t specifically say that no type of guest blogging still provides some SEO benefit—only that guest-blogging is no longer effective as a large scale link-building strategy, and that he would “recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

While Google can’t look into a blogger’s heart to determine true motivation, it can and presumably will continue to look at characteristics like a site’s overall link profile (do guest post links make up an inordinate share of all backlinks?) and the quality of linking sites in determining rankings.

This latest development will also likely increase the importance of Google Authorship as a way to separate legitimate guest authors from spammers.

In short, guest blogging is not dead. Far from it. The only thing that has died is the practice of generating large numbers of backlinks through spammy email outreach for guest posts. And good riddance.

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15 Expert Guides to WordPress: Tips, Techniques, Plugins and More

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Powered by legions of fans and armies of developers, WordPress has evolved from a humble blogging platform to a flexible, robust and ubiquitous CMS.

Expert WordPress Tips and TechniquesWordPress now powers one out of every six sites on the web, and half of all sites built on a content management system (CMS)—more than 60 million websites, including 45 of the Technorati Top 100 sites. (See below for sources.)

Nevertheless, it’s not perfect. So if WordPress is your platform of choice,  how can you overcome or work around its shortcomings and quirks? Optimize the speed of your site? Extend it, socialize it,  keep it secure, back it up, SEO it, and measure your results?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 15 expert guides to WordPress tips, tricks and plugins.

WordPress Tips, Tactics and Facts

The Top 10 Most Infuriating Things about WordPress and How to Fix Them by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

A guest author on Jeff’s blog, the enigmatic “Jamil,” provides a remarkably helpful and even entertaining look at 10 top shortcomings of WordPress and how to avoid, overcome, or work around them. Even if some of the “fixes” aren’t particularly helpful (the recommended solution to plugin incompatibility is prayer, and the answer to the notoriously unhelpful default WordPress search functionality is “Get literally any other search bar”), you’ll lean a few new things here and enjoy doing it.

WordPress is the Emerging Monopoly in CMS #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserJust how popular is WordPress? According to Berrie Pelser, “Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power (their websites)…By March 2012, with about 72.4 million users for the content management system, the WordPress grew as the largest of its type on the planet. It provided hosting to more than 50% of the CMS users and more than 45% of the top 100 sites as rated by Technorati.” You’ll find those and many more such stats in this fascinating infographic.

How to Create Different Widgets on Different Pages Using a Plugin by SteamFeed

Rachael ButtsRachael Butts supplies a tutorial on how to use the Display Widgets plugin to “display different widgets on different pages, thus allowing you to have custom sidebars on your WordPress site.” She also offers tips for using the plugin, such as to customize the sidebar menu based on the page your visitor is viewing.

Custom Post Types – WordPress Evolves Closer to a Content Management System by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe engaging Debra Murphy explains what WordPress custom post types are and writes that “Theme developers can now use custom post types to create an array of content that can be edited through the visual editor and used anywhere on the site,” such as image galleries or product catalogs.

My Favorite Things to use with WordPress by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (again) reviews eight of her favorite “things” to enhance WordPress, including the Woo Themes framework, Simpicity theme, Gravity Forms plugin for creating and managing forms,  and MailChimp for email marketing.

How to Speed Up a WordPress Site

5 ways to speed up WordPress by Rainbow Fire

A handful of excellent tips for reducing your blog’s load time (and related user frustration), among them installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache (“using a caching plugin can prove a vital way to speed up WordPress by ensuring that only the first visitor to your page needs to go through the entire process. The plugin will save the data from this first visitor, and serve it directly to any subsequent visitors thus reducing the strain on your database and the user’s browser”).

4 Things to Speed Up Your WordPress Site by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (once more) offers four quick tips for increasing WordPress speed, such as using a content delivery network (“CDN’s load your website from a local server, say one in England, so your website for this user would be very fast because it is not pulling from a server in the States”). If your visit volume justifies this, starter plans are surprisingly affordable.

Top WordPress Plugins and Reviews

7 Must Have Plugins For Starting A Blog by Geekless Tech

Garen ArnoldGaren Arnold recommends plugins to cover basic functions from commenting and social sharing to SEO and, for security, Backup Buddy: “Backup Buddy is a fantastic plugin which will allow you to backup your mSQL databases automatically…There are a lot of similar plugins that do the same; this one is paid but well worth the money.”

37 Top WordPress Security and SEO Social Media Plug-ins 2013 by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (again) lists more than three dozen top security and SEO plugins for WordPress along with brief descriptions of each, including Digg Digg (“Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!”) and Simple Login Lockdown (“A simple way to prevent brute force login attemps on your WordPress installation”).

10 Time Saving WordPress Plugins by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonBrad Knutson serves up thoughtful reviews of “WordPress plugins that webmasters, developers and bloggers use to save time every day,” from the comment spam-squashing Akismet to Social by MailChimp, which very helpfully publishes “comments, retweets and replies as WordPress comments. When you share your post across multiple social media platforms, the conversation is often carried on in many different places. This plugin aggregates your conversations and keeps them in one place.”

30 Most Popular WordPress Plugins – infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (yet again) highlights a list of popular WordPress plugins, this time in infographic form. Among the recommendations here are the self-explanatory WP-DB-Backup and WP-Polls, as well as WPTouch, which “automatically transforms your WordPress website for mobile devices, complete with ajax loading articles and smooth effects.”

Starting a WordPress Blog? Make Sure Your Have these Plugins Installed by Techetron

Mushfiqur RahmanMushfiqur Rahman reviews his top 10 must-have plugins for a new blog. Beyond a few obvious choices (Akismnet, SEO Yoast, Google SML Sitemaps), he also includes Broken Link Checker for automatically finding broken links, WP Mobile Detector for automatically detecing device type and serving up the proper display of your blog, and Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin.

The 17 Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media, SEO, and Better Visitor Engagement in 2013 by Maximize Social Business

Neal SchafferNoting that “WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day,” Neal Schaffer explains the importance of minimizing page load time and some tactics for increasing your site’s speed, then reviews his favorite social media and SEO plugins including JetPack Publicize, Scribe SEO and Social Author Bio, which provides “fully integrated Google Plus Authorship.”

15 Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2012 by iMediaConnection

Noemi MadridNoemi Madrid reviews more than a dozen plugins for integrating your content with and sharing it on social platforms, including plugins specifically developed for interaction with Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest, Storify, YouTube, and even MySpace.

The Complete Set of Social Media Plugins for WordPress by Web Teacher

Tom ChuWhile this isn’t a “complete set,” guest author Tom Chu does serve up helpful reviews of half a dozen social media plugins ranging from Sociable and ShareThis for general social sharing to “deep integration” plugins like Social Metrics, which “displays your site’s social media performance statistics and gives them back to you in an intuitive way to help you to understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve.”

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30 Awesome Blogging Guides, Tips and Resources

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Despite the occasional “death of blogging” pronouncements (often made, ironically, in blog posts), blogs remain the core of a robust social media strategy. The proliferation of themes, tools and plugins have transformed blogs from mere online text collections to powerful interactive, rich-media sites that can attract, engage and educate your potential buyers.

Particularly with Google’s emphasis in its recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates on content that is fresh, compelling, unique, social, and naturally linked to, blogs have become even more essential to SEO strategies.

For those who still aren’t convinced of the value of business blogging (as well as those who need to convince others), the “why blog” posts below provide compelling evidence. Those getting started or already active in blogging will discover how to:

  • • grow blog traffic,
  • • make content more valuable to readers,
  • • increase blogging productivity,
  • • generate more comments and social shares,
  • • find royalty-free images,
  • • promote your blog, and

more here in 30 of the best business blogging guides and resources of the past year.

Why Blog

Why You Want To Be the Last Blog Standing by Outspoken Media

Lisa BaroneReporting that “the number of Inc. 500 companies maintaining corporate blogs has dropped for the first time since 2007. Did you hear that? IT DROPPED! According to Dartmouth’s research, just 37 percent of companies interviewed said they had a corporate blog, down from 50 percent in 2010,” frequent best-of honoree Lisa Barone advises readers to “let your blog be the last blog standing because while sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be effective and sexy all in their own right, they don’t hold a candle to the sexiness and superpowers possessed by your blog,” and backs it up with 10 reasons and tactics to beat your competition through blogging.

Yes, Your Company Needs a Blog – 13 Reasons Why by AboutUs

Kristina WeisKristina Weis provides a baker’s dozen reasons for creating a corporate blog, from demonstrating your expertise (“If [prospective customers] can easily find some articles written by you and/or your staff that show your company’s expertise, they’re going to feel a lot more confident about spending their time or money [or both] with you”) and increasing website traffic to helping with customer support and generating new product ideas.

Past, Present and Future of Blogging: 3 Infographics by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas shares a wealth of fascinating blogging facts and stats here, such as that 27 of the top 100 blogs are built on WordPress, with 16 on TypePad. 43% of U.S. companies now maintain blogs. And more than half of all social media-driven blog traffic comes from Facebook (28%) and Twitter (26%) combined.

7 Tips for Blogging – Maybe Your Most Important Social Media Activity for Business by SocialSteve’s Blog

Steve GoldnerContending that “Everyone always jumps onto Facebook and Twitter as one of their first social media activities. I recommend you think about blogging first. No other endeavor can be better to promote you or your brand as a subject matter expert,” Steve Goldner offers seven tips for blogging success,  such as utilizing your passion, speaking (writing) naturally, and posting on a consistent basis.

Dozens of reasons why corporate blogs still matter in B2B marketing by Content Marketing Experience

J-P DeClerckJ-P De Clerck makes a comprehensive case for corporate blogging—as long as it isn’t done the “wrong” way: “It’s traditional PR in a new package: corporate blogs as a way to shout how great they are.” Done right, blogs serve as the hub of a company’s social media strategy, a magnet for search traffic, and an opportunity to speak to prospective customers on a more informal, human level. He points out that 57% of companies with blogs have acquired at least one customer through blogging; that blogs make it easy to share multiple types of information; and that they make it easy (and even inviting) for customers and prospects to provide feedback.

Blogging Tips and Guides

33 Ways to Get Help For Your Blog (Without Breaking the Bank) by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenFrequent best-of author Heidi Cohen offers nearly three dozen ideas “to help you efficiently leverage resources in seven of the areas where many bloggers typically need support,” such as content block (one idea: “Answer customer questions…Collect the questions prospects and customers ask from sales and customer service; then answer them”), lack of creative resources, and disappointing blog traffic.

20 Ways to Improve Your Blog by TribalCafe

Gary FoxReporting that “28% of brands that (didn’t previously) publish a blog (planned) to do so in 2012—bringing the percentage of brands that publish a blog to 85%,” Gary Fox lists 20 ways to attract more readers and generate better business results from blogging, among them using strong visuals, varying blog topics, and making your content SEO-friendly (“focus on a keyword [phrase] for each blog post and try to not venture too far” from it).

5 Tips to Becoming a Top Blog in Your Industry by Social Media Examiner

Michael StelznerMichael Stelzner shares a handful of techniques he used to make Social Media Examiner a big success, such as surveying the interests of your audience (“When you know precisely what content your readers crave, it’s much easier to create posts that are widely read and shared on social channels”) and spinning a single hot topic into multiple posts from different perspectives (e.g., a beginner’s guide, biggest myths or misconceptions, case studies, etc.).

Five Tips to Make Company Blogs Worth Reading by Marketing Profs

Muhammad YasinMuhammad Yasin offers a handful of helpful recommendations for making your company blog a success, including focusing on expert tips: “If you are not an expert yourself in a particular field, find experts and learn from them. See what they are writing about, absorb their knowledge, and share their tips. Better yet, invite those experts to share their knowledge on your blog as guest bloggers. Allowing independent experts to write for your blog can provide a much needed fresh perspective and may result in their recommending your products or services.”

Fixing The Social Media Plateau by Soulati Media

Jayme SoulatiThe delightful Jayme Soulati identifies 10 signs that “may be an indication it’s time to step up your game, take it to the next level, and grow or remain complacent” in terms of your social media practices, such as “Learning new things becomes more rare; another 20 ways to use Pinterest blog post isn’t providing new insight over what you know now,” and tips to get un-stuck (e.g., “Reduce the time spent on the channels that don’t return much to you. That way, you’re not spread as thin”).

10 Valuable Ideas to Help You Find Time to Blog by MyBeak Social Media

Laura-Lee WalkerWriting that “Creating content and finding the time to do it are the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs and small business owners face when marketing their business,” Laura-Lee Walker presents helpful ideas for generating more content in less time, among them inviting guest bloggers, repurposing existing material,  and using mobile phone apps like Dragon Dictator: “You don’t have time to write down all your ideas or blog posts…simply use an application…that will translate your voice to text. (They are) not perfect but will give you a head start and reduce the time you spend on typing your blog articles.”

21 Business Blogging Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner

Cindy KingThe impeccably discerning Cindy King curates an outstanding collection of blogging tips from pros like Leo Widrich (“A product is only useful if you know others want it. Validate an idea for a blog post in the same way”), Heidi Cohen (“Understand prospects, customers and the public are on your blog to get answers to their questions and accomplish their goals, not yours”), and Stephanie Sammons (“Work to develop a blogging style that is unique to you. What’s your angle? What’s your view? How can you differentiate yourself from others who are blogging in your niche?”).

Guest Blogging: Seven Tips for Success by Spin Sucks

Gini DietrichPR expert and author Gini Dietrich offers several excellent tips for expanding your reach by publishing guest posts on other influential blogs. My favorite tip is her first, on how to gauge authority (and corresponding effort) of a blog: “Go to Open Site Explorer and type in the URL for the blog for which you’d like to submit content. I’ll do it for Wood Street…You’ll see the site authority is 48/100. If the authority is 40-70, it’s worth pursuing. If it’s higher than 70, you’ll have a tougher time getting your content on the site, so you’ll need to be extremely patient, but persistent. If it’s between 90 and 100, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get something placed there without the help of a communications professional.”

Starting a Blog in 2013? 16 Ideas to Avoid Complete & Utter Failure (Infographic) by Pinterest

Wendy MarxNoting that “the majority of blogs starting every year end up failing,” Wendy Marx offers 16 tips in this infographic to beating the odds, such as “Be consistent: Whether you keep an editorial calendar or not, it’s important to continue to publish content on your blog because that consistency brings in more traffic” (amen!) and (perhaps most importantly), “Have fun with it: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun with the process and enjoy every minute as your grow your audience and build your business.”

Guest post: 7 powerful headline techniques to skyrocket your blog traffic by Creative Ramblings

Lillian LeonReminding us all that “in the online world, your headline is the single most important part of your content…instead of reading every blog post, people scan for information. They look for headlines that capture their interest, and only click on the ones they feel are worthy of their time,” Lillian Leon details seven techniques for crafting headlines that grab attention, including “Fear: Identify the one thing your readers fear the most, and you’ll have yourself a headline that’s pretty much impossible to ignore.”

10 Additional Ideas to Generate Comments and Shares by Spin Sucks

Following up on an earlier post on the same topic, Gini Dietrich (again) offers 10 more ideas to increase engagement on your blog, from writing book reviews and rants to covering the latest trends and answering questions commonly heard by your sales force or customer service reps.

Content Development and Writing Tips

26 Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts by Social Media Examiner

Debbie HemleyIn her own unique and highly creative style, Debbie Hemley presents “26 tips, from A-Z, to help you create optimal blog posts every time you sit down to write,” beginning with A for Anatomically Correct: every blog post should contain the “six parts of the anatomy of a lead-generating blog post” such as an eye-catching title, calls to action, and social sharing buttons.

12 Most Useful Sources for Good Stuff to Post by 12 Most

Peg FitzpatrickPeg Fitzpatrick passes along content curation tips from Guy Kawasaki in this post showcasing the top dozen places to find shareworthy content, starting with your own network and including both popular sharing sites (like StumbleUpon and AllTop) and less obvious choices (e.g., Futurity, TED and NPR).

How to find photos you can legally use anywhere by CBS MoneyWatch

Dave JohnsonObserving that “No matter what you publish — a blog, updates to the company website, project reports, or even the venerable tri-fold — you no doubt need artwork to complement it,” but just haphazardly reusing artwork found online can lead to legal troubles, Dave Johnson recommends two easy methods for finding photos that are usable under the Creative Commons license.

29 Free Blog Images Sources: Where to Get Royalty Free Photos by Directory Journal
***** 5 STARS

Gail GardnerIn case Dave’s recommendations above don’t quite meet your needs, Gail Gardner provides a massive list of sites where you can find free or reasonably priced images, as well as resources for comparing prices across different image sites, selling your photos, identifying trademarked images, adding images to blog posts, and more.

5 of the Most Important Content & Social Media Tips For A Successful Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Lee OddenLee Odden writes that “If I were only to give 5 content marketing tips to a company that wanted to get the most for and from its customers through blogging, here are the tips I’d give.” Among his top five tips? Focus on the problems your audience faces—but don’t forget to tell them how you can solve those problems. Create an editorial plan. And measure results to support continual improvement.

How to Differentiate Your Content by Geoff Livingston’s Blog

Geoff LivingstonGeoff Livingston lays out four steps to becoming an “A-list” blogger in your niche subject area. Given Geoff’s success, I won’t argue with his methodology—though it’s not for everyone. But if you’ve got the time, intestinal fortitude and financial backing or wherewithal to pursue his program, go for it.

The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content by KISSmetrics

Zach BulygoContending that “In order to boost SEO rankings, gain traffic and/or leads, you need to have great content on your blog or website,” Zach Bulygo shares nine tips for producing stand-out content (such as making your content actionable: “The best content gives the user a sense of how to apply the information…Many times, just writing well about a topic will spark some ideas for readers,”) then follows up with half a dozen examples of sites that consistently provide remarkable content.

Blog Promotion Tips and Tactics

6 Tips For Building a High Quality Blog Following by Fearless Competitor

Shane SnowShane Snow channels Jeff Ogden and Brian Clark in this post, providing “six tips to attracting readers who stick around longer than the click of a StumbleUpon button,” such as speaking to a specific audience, guest blogging and publishing guest bloggers, and encouraging loyalty through consistency: “taking an editorial stand for what you believe in, rather than watering things down to avoid offending anyone. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try to be controversial. In this day and age, simply taking a position and standing behind it will bring people who agree, and people who don’t.”

Want Your Blog Noticed? (Hint: It’s Not Just Content!) by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) supplies 23 tips for growing awareness of your blog, such as integrating your blog’s brand into related content and activities (“As a media entity, your blog deserves its own brand. If it’s a corporate brand, it should be adapted for the blog”), referencing and linking to sources, and guest blogging.

Want to Increase Blog Traffic? Some Fab Tips for Success by Positively Peggy

The ebullient Peg Fitzpatrick (again) serves up five tips for growing blog traffic, such as sharing your content at optimal times: “Buffer App helps you not only share at the optimal times based on your followers being online but also evenly distributes your amazing content throughout the day so you don’t annoy your followers with a huge spurt of brilliance and then lose them with silence later.”

How Bloggers Can Grow Each Others Readership by The @Steveology Blog

Steve FarnsworthSteve Farnsworth recommends Triberr as a tool for increasing the reach of your blog posts, and explains in detail how Triberr works and how to get the most out of it (e.g., by starting your own tribe, joining other tribes, and “dating around”). While the tool is a great concept and has potential, its ongoing technical issues are frustrating.

How to Effectively Promote Your Blog Posts by MyBeak Social Media
***** 5 STARS

Beyond the big social networks and Triberr, Laura-Lee Walker (again) presents an infographic illustrating 30 ways to promote your blog content using social media, social bookmarking sites (does anyone still use Digg?), your contacts, other blogs, and 10 top syndication sites.

5 ways to promote your blog by commenting on others by Creative Ramblings

Cendrine MarrouatCendrine Marrouat explains why commenting on blogs is beneficial (chief among the rewards: “You get to connect and build relationships with other bloggers”) and how to do it well (e.g., add value to the conversation, share relevant links, and comment regularly on the same blogs).

30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts by Listly
***** 5 STARS

Ted RubinTed Rubin shares a bookmark-worthy list of tactics for sharing and promoting blog posts, including Facebook (“Add it on your personal & business pages, groups and through ads”), Pinterest (“Create a board specifically for all your blog posts and pin each post to it”) and through AllTop.com (“syndicates content in every category, from autos and food to business and sports”).

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