Social Media Magazine

Social Media Lesson #2: Let’s Get Social with Blogs and Social Networks

Posted on the 08 September 2011 by Socialmediaevie @socialmediaevie

Image via Wikipedia

Now that you have established a WordPress Web Site it’s time to start blogging. Make a commitment to writing a blog because it takes time and effort. Stick to a rigorous blogging schedule. This type of personal discipline will not only improve your writing skills and keep you current; it will also make you smarter!

Blogging will force you to continuously search for new information and data. You will learn things that you never knew. You will present ideas in a clearer, more concise manner to engage your audience. Blogging allows you to share information and knowledge with your new “Social” audience. You are creating your “Digital Brand” by becoming a resource. Every blog post will be viewed as a new webpage by search engines.

I like to create a blog schedule of two posts per week. I generally stick with about 400 words for each post; “Be brilliant, be brief and be gone.” I like to incorporate pictures and videos if possible. I try to write thought-provoking headlines to grab the attention of my audience. The headline should contain a keyword or phrase that describes the content of my post, including the location of my post because I write a Travel Blog.

I will assign a general blog schedule. Feel free to blog more frequently if the spirit moves you. Since you are probably registered for additional coursework this semester that requires research, you have many opportunities to generate more blog posts with interesting content.

Another compelling reason to blog is to enhance your digital visibility and to increase the prominence of your webpage in the search results of a search engine. A blog that is associated with a specific website, converts a static website into a dynamic SEO opportunity. Making some keywords or phrases in your post bold can stress the importance of those words and phrases to search engines.

It is important to write content that is about frequently searched keywords or keyword phrases. I demonstrated this when I showed you my dashboard statistics. I blog about “Events” like the Chicago Gourmet of the Jazz Fest because I know that people are looking for information about specific events in Chicago. Make your blog post relevant to a lot of search queries using tags and categories.This will ultimately increase traffic to your site.

You must frequently update the content of your blog to keep search engines coming back. This will give your site more authority in the world of search engines. It is probably best to identify a niche that you want to dominate; all of the posts in this website will be related to Social Media. All of the posts on my Travel Blog are related to travel and events.Try to share information and become an authority on an issue that you are passionate about and you will draw an audience of “Kindred Spirits” to your site.

Cross linking strategies between the pages of the same website to create links may also improve your visibility. You should add relevant keywords and tags to your posts to improve the relevant search opportunities and increase traffic to your site. All of my posts will include the category and tag keyword “social media“.

Follow these steps to complete your next assignment:

1. You have already registered your Vanity URL at BlueHost and generated a WordPress web site. Create an email account using the vanity URL. Once you get started, have business cards created with the URL and email address. Include your Twitter user name and LinkedIn information on your business card. Now join some new LinkedIn Groups and look for local networking events that you can attend to distribute your business cards.

2. You have already given your Website an interesting title and installed Zemanta; now generate a compelling headline for every blog post. .

3. Modify your settings on the Dashboard to enable the editing features.This will force you to scrutinize each post.

4. You have selected a theme with a WordPress photo. You may want to change the picture at this juncture to reflect your “professional Identity”. I selected the picture of my students holding their published books. I love the “Learn WordPress” video tutorials @ http://www.facebook.com/learnwordpress. Some of the topics include: installing plugins and uploading images. I strongly encourage you to watch these videos.

5. If you load Google’s Picassa program into your computer, you can edit your photos using that program. You will also have an opportunity to tag the pictures using Picassa.

6. Write your post, carefully edit the contents and press “Preview” Button. If you are happy with the results, press the “publish” button. Allowing all the “Editing” options into the back-end of your Dashboard will help you become a better writer.

7. Customize your side bar with widgets. I like to display my Twitter Stream using a special widget. When you find the widget that you like, just copy and paste the code into the dashboard. It is easy to find appealing widgets by performing a Google search. I have also added the LinkedIn Profile Widget, you may want to add that to your site also.

8. Add Sharing Buttons for Stumble Upon, Digg, Facebook and LinkedIn to the bottom of each post and/or your sidebar using your dashboard. This will increase your referrals from social networks and boost traffic to your site.

9. Add an RSS Feed Button to your site. RSS feeds benefit bloggers by letting them syndicate content automatically by finding Subscribers. These feeds benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. Google Reader is a way for you to sign up for the RSS feed of other bloggers who are writing about your interests. I added the feed from my www.vinoconvistablog.wordpress.com. In the Social Media World you basically become a shameless self-promoter.

RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader“, “feed reader” or “aggregator. These feeds come in various forms: web-based, desktop-based or mobile-device-based. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed’s URL by clicking on the feed icon in a web browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.

10. Link your posts to your LinkedIn Account and to your Twitter Account to increase recognition and traffic to your post. Your Dashboard statistics will allow you to monitor where your referrals are coming from.

11. Encourage Comments and always respond to them.

12. Submit your blog to Technorati, Alltop and other directory listings. This will enhance your brand recognition and increase your audience.

13. Inbound links are also important for SEO. These “Backlinks” are incoming links to a website or web page.  The number and quality of backlinks that a website has is an important factor for determining that website’s search engine ranking. A link serves as a vote of popularity and importance in Google‘s PageRank system. A backlink is added to the site in the WordPress toolbar and sends the reader to another site. When you click on one of the links in this paragragh, you are going to the Wikipedia site. This is how the linking process works. You need to find bloggers who will link to you in the same way that I am linking to Wikipedia. I am sending Wikipedia a lot of “Traffic”.

For your first blog post follow these directions:

  • Using the EBSCO Library database, compare your company’s key strengths and weaknesses to your top two competitors. Type “Datamonitor” into the second line of your search on EBSCO
  • Give the post an interesting Headline like “Apple Crushes the Competiton” (Courtesy of one of my very creative students).
  • Create a table or figure to display some of the information; this will enhance the readability of the post.
  • Tag the post using the relevant Zemanta tags and in-text links.
  • Select a “Zemanta” stock photo or take your own picture and insert in using the photo tab that I showed you in class. If you insert a picture from your computer, tag it and add a description and a caption.
  • Carefully edit the post and preview it before you actually publish it.
  • Add related articles to the bottom of your blog post. I added a LinkedIn article for your to read and an article related to Google+.

I will show you at our next meeting how to create a ”shortlink” for Twitter.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com


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