Be careful of those bloggers with advice

A case in point of not listening to others so literally

For the best part of my blog’s 1st year I followed the advice of someone who had built up quite a good blogging empire. I won’t name the person or bag their website mostly because I did learn a great deal of useful information from them and feel it would be unkind to punch them in the bracket. I don’t follow this site anymore or the author because they have launched some articles that have been questionable and they’ve very much got caught up in their sell.

They are an ego bound blogger, they claim they don’t have one but a lot of what they do is based on their opinion and far less on solution, they have evolved into this unpleasant sort of individual and I’ve noted a drop in their Alexa rank over the past couple of months so I’m wondering how many other people think the same. This individual also somewhat “screwed the pooch” by making their site a multi-author site but their minions aren’t as skilled as they are (they aren’t even in the same ballpark).

Be careful of those bloggers with advice

Be careful of those bloggers with advice

Image source: Wikipedia by Magnus Manske

I used to mention this particular individual quite regularly but I can’t anymore because I no longer trust the information as much as I used to. This is a cautionary note about really sticking with something that could actually be bad advice.

The issue first came to light when I was convinced that a certain issue (that I didn’t know a heck of a lot about) was potentially causing me a red mark against Google.

Many of you will have heard of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin if you are using a WordPress site and are hosted through a host like Bluehost or similar.

The plugin is essential in that it helps with a great amount of on-site SEO, specific to pages and posts. It uses a traffic light system to indicate how well you have optimised your post or page for search engine ranking. There are a number of other useful components bolted on to this plugin that also help with authorship and the XML site map. For free it is a bargain price and I recommend that any newcomer gets to grip with this plugin straight out of the box.

The particular individual cast some doubt over the linking capabilities and whether the system implemented them correctly. You may have heard of dofollow and nofollow if you get into the nitty gritty. The bold claim was the fact that the plugin wasn’t handling these elements correctly. At the time I wasn’t wise in this area but for me it would have made no difference anyway because I don’t do a heck of a lot with affiliates or sell pages.

I followed the advice to switch to another plugin and at the time noticed no discernible difference. Unfortunately after realising that this plugin did a worse job than the original I deactivated it and decided to return back to the Yoast plugin. Needless to say that I have a lot of cleaning up to do because the change has left a gulf of blank information in its wake. I have a number of old articles that don’t have very good SEO and need to go back to fix them before they shovel low quality viewers my way, denting my time on site stats, with each person that comes a knocking.

 

My advice

  • Do some research and check out a few points of view before committing.
  • Try and understand a bit more about what you are trying to adjust before you follow advice (it may not be appropriate advice for you after all said and done).
  • Ask a real human who has some experience. Editorial work can often be charged with certain bias and you shouldn’t always give something up just because someone said so, you just might be using it incorrectly.

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12 unusual personal observations about recent blogging

I had a mad moment on this very sunny Monday in England, the day that I was trapped in the office fighting a paper battle. These are the things that have me puzzled at the moment. Hopefully I can tackle some of these in year 2 of Blog Prefect.

12 unusual personal observations about recent blogging

12 unusual personal observations about recent blogging

Image source Pixabay by Chrispynutt

Weekends and how do I win on weekends?

I must admit that this is something I don’t know the answer to.

During the week I do a sterling job of getting some views but it is the weekend in particular that I face struggle. Often I have to second guess what I am creating on a Saturday or Sunday because the articles I’ve made just don’t work. I’ve even made really simple articles for a bit of digest because I really don’t know what is working well and what isn’t. It is equivalent to dancing in treacle.

 

Newsletter sign up and how to get the horses to drink without pointing a gun at their head.

Another area that completely foxes me at the moment is this one key area. In truth I wish I’d started out with a way of generating a list, maybe I might have retained some of those early adopters but overall my list currently has zero people in it. I don’t like the thought of taking out a cudgel to make people follow.

“Follow my blog or I’ll beat you to death. You may have this free ebook on how to avoid being beaten to death when you signup.”

 

Something to make money from because I need a wad of cash from my blogging.

Because because. I never started with the idea of handbagging people for cash but now I want to leap out of the computer screen, pick up the viewer and give them a good shake to see what comes out of their pockets. I actually want Blog Prefect to start earning its keep because I’ve spent many hours on it, many high quality hours of my short and precious life.

 

Starting out with a hub rather than a spoke.

I have made a key mistake in trying to build this authority site because I have no masterful success to build my hypothesis around. I should have started with a spoke rather than a hub but I don’t believe that all is lost because I tried to pull the cart without a horse attached and in Jackson style, I love the hard roads.

So now for the spoke….

 

Feeling like an imposter and the imposter syndrome (an idea suggested by Pat Flynn).

Owing to my past point there are a number of topics under which I get behind where I have no real knowledge (not that it stops me writing about the subjects and sounding convincing). I have had periods where I really haven’t believed the outcome but have either been pleasantly surprised at a roaring success or rather disappointed by being proved right in my initial somewhat negative outlook.

 

Knowing where to be effective with the right social media choices for the right niches.

I have not found the right marketing mix but a lot of that is more to do with not understanding what I’m trying to produce and what my key audience really look like. Because I am unsure of how and what my value should really look like, I’ve applied the shotgun approach in hope that if I punch enough holes in the audience wall, I’ll strike a water pipe to victory. That or get locked up trying!

 

How to know whether your SEO is working or not.

This is like trying to ask whether a tree makes noise when it falls in a wood. The answer should be yes but are we sure? SEO is magic, period. Harry Potter doesn’t know the half of it.

 

How to expand on roaring successes in your blogging.

Because I have had a few successes but I’ve not been able to replicate the ingredients to recreate them. I am unsure whether time was the factor or whether it was a one shot deal that I can’t rely on repeat performances for. Glowing success is short lived in the internet humdrum I’m used to.

 

How to recover from hideous failure in your blogging.

This is because this is where most of the learning happens and I seem to make numerous mistakes and the large collection of hideous failures with some of my experiments. I often look to blame my publication channels or my social media scope but at the end of the day my creations are the dough that makes the gluten intolerant come out scratching. Knowing how to “have at it” is the key.

Many claim that many failures are the path to success but avoiding the ultra-painful ones is advisable and craved.

 

How to remain true to your art direction.

Because I have a generalised art theme but I’ve not really stuck to it in any uniform fashion. I could probably hire a designer and make it all a more cohesive product but I’m a tightwad and don’t want somebody else to make stuff I can make given enough time.

The theme is supposed to be the preppy prefect. That love to hate figure who inspires fellow students. What it actually looks like is something that is almost there but needs a bit more something something.

 

How to develop your brand with basic techniques.

Because I work for an organisation who value Brand very highly and they use their goodwill to critical effect in the marketplace. Their brand is worth millions. I want my brand to be worth thousands at the very least. It is not there yet though. It is an evolution. That’s what I tell myself!

 

Being painfully honest and how nobody really gives two penny farthings.

I often share stuff about me, nobody gives two hoots or more specifically two penny farthings. Often people don’t give a monkeys about the cut of your gyb, whether you were making love to two gibbons the night before or keep a lion in your kitchen. Just the facts ma’am!

Jack Webb

Jack Webb, synonymous with the quote “Just the facts ma’am!”

 

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Ways to update an Old High Traffic Post

Many of you fellow bloggers may find that either in the early life of your blog or in some odd point along the way, you will have one post that does totally amazing. It kicks butt in a whole slew of ways because it is getting picked up by a search engine frequently and is driving much higher proportions of traffic than your other posts.

This article is the kind of article that has an after glow. People keep on coming back to it because it has value which has managed to last the test of time.

 

Ways to update an Old High Traffic Post

Ways to update an Old High Traffic Post

Image source Flickr by Joiseyshowaa

The problem is that this older post, may have been written several months or years ago. Whilst it is still performing well it doesn’t bear much resemblance to how you blog in the now.

Us bloggers develop better ways of blogging, we get into better habits. We build better structure, know how to “people please” more, and know how to extract the best out of our content.

What to do first?

Before you do anything, check your analytics.

Try and see the route referral where the core of this traffic is entering your site!

You can do a number of things:

  • If you know the source of the traffic, place a more personalised message indicating that you have a good idea where this visitor came from. This will help with the psychology.
  • Add more on the topic
  • Improve what has already been written
  • Add more visual content
  • Add some audio content
  • Add more calls to action

Add a targeted/personalised message

Entryway Salutations

Here are some Entry way salutations you can use because you know the audience has come here for this.

Adding more and improving what has been written

In this area you want to add more useful information if you’ve had a rethink since or if the tips you have given are no longer relevant (the loophole is now closed for example) or the links are dead.

 

Add more visual content

Say that you only started out with one or two images, try adding a handful. The image searches might further improve results.

You can also add videos because these will be highly informative. Turning your article into a rich media-fest is not a bad way to go.

 

Add some Audio content

For the same reason you might add more visual content. It just helps to improve the overall message.

 

Add more Calls to Action

Say that your post has a particular mission but is not very good at converting, say that your goal is to get people on your mailing list, or get them to try and buy an affiliate product. You may need to put your call to action in a few times. If it was already in there, consider making sure it appears in prominent places throughout the post. If the post is really short, make sure you get to the call to action sooner, rather than later (above the page fold).

What you shouldn’t do

  • Change headings
  • Change image tags that are providing traffic
  • Delete the entire article and re-write it
  • Try and distract newcomers by telling them that you have an updated article in the wings and put the link right at the top

 

Changing headings is bad form for your SEO

The H1, H2 and H3 tags should not be touched if they are assisting the SEO value of your content. The route of the traffic has ranked your article as attractive and might have used some of these criteria when determining how to categorise your article.

 

Changing Image Tags is equally bad form for your SEO

Images, just like posts, have a presence in SEO. Often Search engines will rank your images based on the content of the description and alt tags.

One of my images of Rachel Franklin, from the Sims team at Maxis, ranks very highly. Don’t get me started about that honey pot… Apologies ladies!

 

Deleting the whole article and re-writing is stupid

The reason it did well in the first place was down to the ingredients in that article. Google and other routes of traffic may penalise you for changing the core content so drastically.

 

Don’t supply links to re-written posts right at the top

Pat Flynn suggests that it is better to just make the post more up to date and of more value rather than redirect someone. Pat has some old content from many years ago that he has “massaged” to work better.

If you have re-written the article in a new post for newer audience members, by all means link it, just don’t do it at the top because you will devalue the old post if you give the passer by an option to bail out of what they are currently reading. Time on site statistics will plummet, especially if you give your audience more reason to leave, with a cause and effect on your traffic to your old post to boot.

 

And Finally

Try a few things out. Give it a week. Do some simple testing!

 

Flynn-Jack-1

Getting back to Twitter

I must admit that when I started using Twitter I was lost among the trees. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and I just didn’t get any of that magical traction. I went into great detail about how Social Media in general can be a bit of a struggle at times and I flapped my arms around a bit.

Now on getting back to Twitter…

Below is an excerpt from my post: Twitter Virgin: Face your Fear!

Getting Back to Twitter

 

It is only in recent times that I have been drawn back to it again. For a long period of time I just allowed the Publicize option in WordPress do all the hard work for me and Twitter simply followed orders. But I wasn’t getting much out of it that way…

It was when one of my favourite bloggers, Steven Wilson, started following me that I had a re-ignition of passion for the place.

I have recently enjoyed Twitter again because of the redesign. It looks a lot nicer now than it did before and because I have got more to grips with Google+, the various options in Twitter seem to make more sense to me now. I am also trying to make my best effort to share other people’s work where I can and talk with people.


 

Important notes

Something that I’ve discovered with Social Media as a general rule is that you have to participate on a regular basis or you get lost in the wash. This is because Social Media has a short attention span because you are battling against a deep sea of others.

  • By being more frequent in your interactions you stand to gain more in return.
  • Time away can often be more helpful than sinking in quicksand.

I have found this often with situations where I have encountered struggles. If you give a system some time and try other things that work, you might be able to go back stronger. Because Social Media is now so diverse you are given infinitely more possibilities of places and activities that do work. You can bring these lessons back and reapply them in similar or different ways to great effect. A key need in Social media is often to understand how to break into trend or at least become more visible through passing trends. Hash tags come in useful, especially for Twitter.

Don’t be afraid to Direct Message someone, or Retweet their content if you like it. Favouriting a tweet is also a good way of showing your approval. I’ve done this many times myself in a genuine approval because I think there is a lot of good content out there.

 

Word from the Headboy

If you are a Blogger, or anybody involved in digital content, digital marketing or just have a keen interest in being social, please follow me on Twitter. I’ll follow you back and if you are sharing some good insights I’ll be more than happy to share.

@blogprefect