Put Twitter to Work for You

Twitter heads reading your Twitter feed.Ever go to a social networking site and see a new “friend” who has literally thousands of connections? How about at Twitter how do people get this number of people to follow them and find this many people to follow? How can you get this kind of activity on Twitter?

If you’re new to Twitter, start first by searching for people in your field, search on a keyword phrase like Internet marketing, or even just search on your family name. Twitter will return a slew of people who match your category and then click in to just follow as many as possible. You can always delete someone later so initially you are after volume. You will be amazed at how many people in return will choose to follow you.

Then as someone follows you, visit their page to see who they follow and select the people that you want to follow too. It’s that easy. After a while you will find that there are some people who seem to post on Twitter every five minutes. You can select following from your own Twitter sidebar and just block them.

You’ll find that when people first start with Twitter they will write every little thing that they are doing and after a while will settle down. Those that don’t just block them unless you really want to know what they ate for lunch.

What I like about Twitter is the ability to watch literally hundreds of mini blogs in a moment. I pick up interesting tidbits, cool applications, and new blogs all the time. I use Twitter to promote my own blog and to watch what others think are important. I’ve even used Twitter Feed to add my blog posts automatically to Twitter and Twitter applications to bring my Twitter posts automatically to my own blog sidebar. Twitter is just a new version of social media and one that you can put to use for your website and business. The possibilities are endless. If your family and colleagues are on Twitter, you’ll have more the friend and social aspect and you can even make your posts private and available only to them. Twitter is just a cool new way to connect.

Some of the ways you could use Twitter for business are to post new products and links, if you’re a real estate agent post your new listings on Twitter, if you have an ebook you can offer tidbits and link to your purchase page, if you are monetizing your blog point to your blog. Think of what you could do with Twitter to put it to work for you pointing others to your content and online services.

My Twitter ID is McCordWeb, add me to your Twitter panel and I’ll follow you.


Use CSS for Print Friendly Pages

It used to be that if you wanted a print friendly page version of each page of your website you made one and blocked the search engines from indexing them as duplicate content by blocking them in your robots.txt file, but now you can get your printer friendly page with just a wee bit of CSS code and a print style sheet.

With all custom web sites that we design now, we include the CSS to create a printer friendly page, just by clicking print – no new URLs just smart coding. It’s a fairly simple thing to do and yet so very elegant and much appreciated by readers.

In our print friendly versions, we block out colors, navigation, and sometimes images. In our current site www.mccordweb.com and www.mccordwebdesign.com we do not use CSS print versions as these sites are older sites and we will be replacing them with new designs this year, but all new client websites have CSS print friendly pages.

If you have a website in design right now, make sure to ask your web designer will they be doing CSS print version pages for you as well.


Building Web Authority with Whitepapers

Helping HandsContent, style, tone, and message are king on the Web. If you have great content and market your website through a variety of channels you will build web authority as well as website traffic over time. Getting one way inbound links is just one great way to build web authority for your website, but this may take an investment of your own personal time.

Whitepapers are typically researched and documented unique content. Typically one that you or one of your employees has done based on the unique trends of your business or marketplace. It is very difficult for a professional writer to write a whitepaper for you. Whitepapers will usually document data that has been accumulated over months of observation and then savvy analysis that pulls it all together proving a conclusion point. A whitepaper is not a derivative work of data that is available on the web; it should be unique and created about a specific topic.

The time that you invest in researching and writing a whitepaper for your business can turn into a marketing goldmine. At my firm, I will typically write one in-depth whitepaper once a year. I tie a subscription to my monthly newsletter to the whitepaper, meaning that you will need to give me your email address in order to download my free whitepaper. In a short time I have added several hundred names to my e-newsletter subscription list effectively extending my reach. Some whitepapers I offer free and other websites and web authorities drive traffic to my own website just for this content. One in particular is a paper that I did on how to stop spoofing of your domain name. Internet service providers routinely link victims to my site for our research and commentary on what to do when you are spoofed.

I have found that not only creating whitepapers on topics that interest me that I would like to learn more about, but by archiving them I am providing very authoritative quality content that not only provides a service to readers, but educates them, is widely discussed on the Web, and adds to my own personal knowledge base. I have never sold access to my whitepapers but do use them as marketing vehicles and promote them on my website, blog, and e-newsletter.

If you don’t have the time to invest in research and writing of a whitepaper, don’t despair feature articles written by professional writers may be the alternative for you. Check out our post tomorrow for more information on how you can build web authority with this technique written by professional writers.


New Blogging Trends for Clients

Click my post title to read what Darren at ProBlogger feels are the five emerging blog trends from his point of view. His blog is a good read and one that I routinely follow, but his is a focus for professional bloggers. So here is my list of blogging trends for clients to consider (not professional bloggers).

Trends in site and design that you should consider implementing as you set up your own business blog:

  1. Slick magazine portal page style blogs are the rage right now versus the typical one or two column blog layout. Here’s an example of that style to consider: http://www.problogger.net/ Notice the use of multiple columns and blocks of content and advertising.
  2. Multiple writers on one blog. Routinely we have two writers on five day a week blogs, but now we’re seeing blogs that we work on have more guest bloggers or staff writers post occasionally on the blog and all are listed on the mast head as writers. You can take this approach too. We’ll help you get started.
  3. Multi-content blogs. Now on this point, I disagree with Darren at ProBlogger. All we do is focused on search engines. You will fragment your message, your search engine authority when you start blogging on many different topics on one blog. This may be fine for some “magazine” style blogsites, but for the typical client to stay on topic is very important. You do not want a pest control blog to be blogging about shoes or how to find coupons to buy a PDA! You need to stay on pest control and service topics. To do otherwise is to chase away your readers.
  4. Soft monetizing of sites. Yes, blogs are moving to include advertising, but for the typical client the only ads you should have on your blog are those pointing to your products and services. I do not know of many people who are really racking in the cash from monetizing their blog. Additionally ads can be distracting and can affect the “look” of the blog. What would work is small ads for your own products, white papers, and coupons for your services.
  5. Integration with other media. Yes, this is a new trend and one you can certainly leverage for your own blog. Introduce a Twitter feed, headlines, and other widgets in the sidebar of your blog site. Connect in new ways with your readers and provide ability for them to interact with you. Get signed up for Google’s Friend Connect as an easy way to implement these new widgets and features without programming skills.

The world of blogging IS changing but not all of ProBlogger’s recommendations are effective for business blog owners. If you need professional writing services for your business blog, consider us first.


Social Networking for the Busy Professional

Social networking for the busy professional does not have to be hard work.“What to do, what to do… update LinkedIn or Facebook? Yikes, I haven’t even looked at my MySpace site in a month.” The busy professional has a hard time finding time to keep social networking sites up-to-date and they really only work for you when you are actively “working the network”.

This is why I recommend selecting just one social networking site and then sticking with it. For my age group and profession the social networking site of choice is LinkedIn. Most of my clients are there and this is the site that I get the most requests from to add new friends.

College kids and the younger professionals are using Facebook a lot and nearly no one is using MySpace anymore, unless you are a band. The ebb and flow of the popularity of social networking sites makes it hard to choose one and stick with it.

The reason I like LinkedIn is that the set up time was quick and that I do not have to invest a lot of time in maintaining or updating the site. Social networking is not for everyone and some people will simply have more time than others to manage their sites. Others will see no benefit to investing even a millisecond on sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. For me, this is why I like Twitter so much. Twitter is part blog and part social network. Although there isn’t the friend interaction on Twitter, unless you have social friends there, the ability to see what is happening with others in your field in regards to sites they are watching, new information they feel is important, and the speed in which information is shared, is what makes this flavor of social networking popular for the busy professional. Who doesn’t have one nanosecond to write 140 words about what they are doing right now”?

You can follow me in Twitter from the Twitter Feed bar just to the right in my blog’s sidebar. My Twitter ID is McCordWeb. See you there!


Building Web Authority with Feature Articles or Linkbait Articles

If whitepapers are not for you as mentioned in our previous post then feature articles or linkbait articles may be the best option for you. With these types of articles, you can easily pay a good web content writer to create a 600 to 800 word article for you on topics that dovetail with the services you provide.

Once created, you can register the articles with a variety of article directories for syndication on other websites, in ezines, or on other blogs. The articles will provide a one-way inbound link back to your website and will appear in Google on the article directory site.

For some clients, we recommend the additional installation of an article directory back on their website as a repository for this created content. If your blogger has written these articles, the research and topics will provide additional content creation opportunities. Additionally these articles can be pointed to by links from within your own website and blog either at the article directory or in your online article repository.

By cross linking all you do with specially created content, you help to point search engines to the content that builds your own authority.

Personally I have found that Google does not really factor in the one way inbound links that you get from article directories to improve your organic position with this technique, but Yahoo and MSN will move you up on the search results page with feature articles registered at the various article directories.

Now the very pointed question, if doing articles, which can be costly, doesn’t help you with Google placement why do them, you should do them to create authority for your website. This is one reason why we recommend an article repository back on your own website; so you build credibility in your readers’ eyes as well as for search engines. We know that articles of this nature do not give you an important immediate organic boost, but much of what builds authority and organic placement is not about immediate results but long-term results for readers PLUS search engines.