Category Archives: social network

microblogging

Microblogging 101: How it Works and How to Succeed

While most people are familiar with the term “blogging,” a lesser-known term that’s slowly but surely gaining momentum is “microblogging.” From Tumblr to Twitter, many online platforms are now supporting this unique method of content creation. But what exactly is a microblog and how do they work?

The Basics of Microblogging

Many believe the term microblogging was coined by writer, cartoonist and computer program Jonathan Gillette (AKA why the lucky stiff) in 2005. “Blogging has mutated into simpler forms (specifically, link- and mob- and aud- and vid- variant), but I don’t think I’ve seen a blog like Chris Neukirchen’s Anarchaia, which fudges together a bunch of disparate forms of citation (links, quotes, flickrings) into a very long and narrow and distracted tumblelog,” wrote Gillette.

Microblogging lives up to its namesake in the sense that it contains shorter blog posts, while also reducing the aggregated file size. While traditional blog posts are often 400-1500 words in length, a microblog post may be just 100-200 words. One of the most popular examples of a microblogging platform is Tumblr, which encourages users to create short posts. Granted, you can still craft a lengthy 500+ word post on Tumblr, but the platform is optimized for shorter, micro-sized posts. Twitter can also be categorized as a microblogging platform, limiting users’ tweets to 140 characters or less.

Benefits of Microblogging

You might be wondering what benefits microblogging offers over traditional blogging. Well, for starters it’s easier and takes less time to craft a microblog post. Since they usually contain 200 or fewer words, a microblog post can be created in a fraction of the time of a standard blog post. This means you can fill your blog with more posts, which should in turn drive more traffic to it.

Microblogging is also optimized for mobile compatibility. When users access a website on their smartphone or tablet, they typically want to short, easy-to-digest content, which is where microblogging comes into play: you can deliver straight-to-the-point content to mobile users without all of the unnecessary fluff that’s found in standard blog posts.

Microblogging Tips

  • Choose your words carefully. With a finite amount of space available, you have to think extra hard about which words and sentences to use in your microblog posts.
  • Publish content surrounding trending topics to drive more traffic to your microblog. This same principle holds true for all blogs, but it’s particularly beneficial for microblogs.
  • If allowed by your respective microblogging platform, use #hashtags to help categorize your content.
  • Engage in discussions with your microblog’s readers and visitors.
  • Adding animated GIFs is an excellent way to make your microblog more appealing.
  • When you struggle to come up with new topic ideas for your microblog, embed a YouTube video while giving your own personal perspective on it.
  • Make your microblog personal. The entire purpose of a microblog is to create a strong following of loyal users. In order to achieve this goal, you must speak from the first-person perspective.

What are your thoughts on microblogging? Love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/respres

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Facebook Wants You to Blog

The world’s largest social media network has revamped its online services to cater towards the ever-growing demographic of bloggers. First spotted by app developer David Winer, Facebook Notes now functions like a typical blogging platform. All posts made on the network’s Notes have a prominent cover image, along with a wider content section, headlines and clean text.

If you want to see the new Facebook Notes in action, check out this page created by John Biesnecker. It’s a relatively short post in which Biesnecker describes his personal thoughts on traveling from Austin to San Fransisco. While I wouldn’t say the post is phenomenal by any means (as a blogger, I’m biased towards my own work), it clearly resembles a typical blog post. There are no distracting ads or navigation links; the title is fixed directly below a relevant image of the Bay Bridge; and the content is written in first-person, which is usually the preferred choice among seasoned bloggers.

Loving the look of this — hoping to get it soon so I can take it for a whirl for blogging stuff directly here,” commented one Facebook user.

“Can’t wait for the new Notes,” another user said.

While the vast majority of reviews and comments regarding the new Notes are positive, not everyone is thrilled with it. Some users have said that Facebook is a social media network and not a blogging platform, and therefore it doesn’t need to introduce a blogging platform.

So, why is Facebook pushing its Notes service as a blogging platform?

Well, the social media network has remained tight-lipped about the revamp, revealing very few details about its motives. In a response to Verge, a spokesperson for Facebook claimed the network was testing an update to make it easier for users to create and read longer stories. The spokesperson goes on to say that the test is only available to a small group of users, at least for the time being. It’s unclear when or even if the new blogging-style Notes will roll out to all Facebook users.

Each time a new post is created in the new blogging-style Notes, they are automatically presented on Facebook’s mobile app, much like Facebook’s Instant Articles. This move signals a growing trend for the social media network to establish itself as a leading source of original content. Granted, most of the content published on Notes isn’t created by Facebook, but rather Facebook users are creating it.

Why is content so important for Facebook? Being the #1 social media network means you have to stay on top of the latest trends, including content creation. Google has said time and time again that publishing high-quality content is the single most important thing a website can do. Without content, there’s really no reason for people to visit a site, including Facebook.

What do you think of Facebook’s new blogging tool? Let us know in the comments section below!

tool box

Helpful Resources for Bloggers

As a blogger, you should always be on the lookout for new tools to make your life easier. That’s why today we’re going to reveal some of the top resources and tools for blogging.

Google Trends

If you aren’t using Google Trends, you are missing out on one of the best ways to uncover trending topics for your blog. When a topic is “hot,” you want to capitalize on it by publishing a new blog post about it. Doing so can yield huge traffic gains while promoting higher search rankings in the process. The problem is that many bloggers simply don’t know which topics are trending and which ones aren’t. This is where Google Trends comes into play: using this resource, you can view trending stories/searches, as well as trend data for any keyword.

Topsy

Another resource that bloggers shouldn’t overlook is Topsy. Just head over to the site, enter a keyword that’s relevant to your blog’s niche, and it will reveal tweets containing the keyword. You can then browse through some of the tweets to discover new topics for your blog. You obviously shouldn’t copy others’ work, but there’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from tweets. Topsy will allow you to uncover new topics for your blog that you may have overlooked, so be sure to check out this resource!

FeedBurner

Originally launched by Dick Costolo, Eric Lunt, Steve Olechowski, and Matt Shobe, FeedBurner is an RSS management tool. While many websites use RSS to syndicate their content, tools like Feedburner are particularly useful for bloggers. Once you’ve added your blog’s RSS URL to FeedBurner, it will allow you to customize a wide variety of elements. So instead of forcing visitors to read a generic feed from your blog, you can optimize it so it’s more functional and/or appealing. FeedBurner is owned by Google, and it is completely free to use with no strings attached.

Facebook

Yes, even Facebook can be considered a “blogging resource.” Whether you’re brainstorming new topic ideas for your blog or promoting your new blog posts, the social media network can help. Keep in mind, however, that you should create a dedicated page — not a profile — for your blog. Many bloggers simply use their personal Facebook profile to promote their blog, limiting the effectiveness of this tool. To create a Facebook page, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/create and follow the on-screen instructions. It will walk you through the steps of creating a Facebook page for your blog.

Fiverr

There are dozens of websites on which you can purchase digital products and services, but one of my personal favorites is Fiverr. It lives up to its namesake by requiring most (not all) sales to be a flat $5. As a blogger, this means you can buy banners, logos, blog posts, marketing packages and more, all for $5 bucks a piece. Don’t assume the quality is sub-par, either. Some of my best designs have been acquired through Fiverr service providers.

What other resources do you use when blogging? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stitch/

Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

Can’t seem to gain any traction with your blog? Check out some of the promotional techniques listed below!

Add Images

Don’t underestimate the value of images within a blog post. Studies have shown that Internet users respond to content with images with a higher level of engagement when compared to text-only content. It will generate more comments, more Facebook “likes,” more tweets, etc.

But adding images to your blog posts has a second benefit that often goes unnoticed: the images will be indexed by Google Images and Bing Images. So the next time someone searches for a keyword related to the image in Google or Bing, they may discover your blog post. Just remember to follow the basics of image optimization, such as renaming the file name to something more relevant, using alt text, and using the appropriate file extension.

Leverage The Power of Social Media

When it comes to promoting blog posts, nothing holds more value than social media. Creating a Facebook update with a link pointing back to your new blog post can send tons of traffic to it, many of whom will share the link on their own accounts. When done correctly, this can create a viral effect in which one user shares it with another user, who then shares it with someone else — and the cycle repeats.

If you really want to take advantage of social media, add some basic sharing buttons to your blog. Granted, users can always like or share your blog post by logging into their Facebook account, but you can make it easier for them by adding these buttons to you blog. Rather than leaving your site to “like” a post, they can simply click the button. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Stay on Top of Trends

A third way to promote your blog is to publish content that’s currently trending. By definition, trends come and go, which is why it’s important to act fast when you notice a trend that’s relevant to your blog’s niche. Whether it’s a news story, current event, viral video, etc., give your perspective on the trend by writing up a short post. You can then share it on social media using the appropriate #hashtags.

There are dozens of ways to find trends, but one of my personal favorite tools is http://trends24.in/. This simple, free-to-use tool reveals trending Twitter #hashtags from the past 24 hours.

Quote Relevant People

How can quoting relevant people yield more traffic to your blog posts? It serves a few different purposes. For starters, there’s a chance the person you quote will notice your content, linking to it from their own website. Second,, search engines will notice that you are quoting an expert, possibly boosting your blog’s search ranking as a result. Third, your blog’s visitors will view your site as being a leading authority figure since it contains actual quotes.

What methods do you use to promote your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Organization Tips For Bloggers

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Poor organization is a common pitfall from which many bloggers suffer. When you’re trying to micromanage half a dozen or more blogs, each of which contains its own domain name, content management system, and niche, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So instead of publishing new posts to your blogs on a regular basis, you may begin to neglect them simply because you aren’t organized.

Start Small

The golden rule of blogging is to start small. When you try to get a dozen or more blogs up and running, there’s really no way you can monitor and adjust them as necessary. When you only work on a couple, though, you’ll have a better chance at turning them into profitable, long-term blogs with an established following of readers. There’s nothing wrong with launching a large network of blogs, but you should only expand after you’ve experienced success with your first couple of blogs.

Plan First

The golden rule of starting a blog (or any website for that matter) is to plan ahead. Ask yourself, what do I hope to accomplish with this blog? Some people blog for the simple joy of sharing their opinions with the world, while others blog because it’s their job. If you intend to turn a profit on your blog, you’ll need to choose some type of monetization system, such an affiliate network, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, direct sales, leads, etc.

Here are some of the things to consider when launching a blog:

  • What type of content management system (CMS) will it use?
  • Will you allow visitor comments?
  • What domain name will your blog use?
  • What web host will your blog use?
  • What type of content do you intend on publishing?
  • When do you intend to publish new posts?
  • Will you perform social bookmarking on your blog’s new posts?

Use OneTab

Ask any seasoned blogger and they’ll agree: it’s not uncommon to have 10, 20 or even 30+ tabs open in your web browser when researching post topics. So, how are you supposed to stay organized with such a massive amount of information sitting in your web browser? I recommend using a free Chrome/FireFox extension called OneTab. When you have too many tabs cluttering your web browser, you simply click the OneTab button and it will convert them into a simple, easy-to-use list. When you’re ready to access them again, click the button to place them back on your browser.

A side benefit of OneTab is its ability to speed up your web browser. Running dozens of tab simultaneously will inevitably slow down your web browser, but OneTab temporary disables them from using your system resources.

Going Viral as a Standard of Quality

Today’s Internet is highly social. Content is shared by individuals through their social media profiles in addition to their emails, instant messaging programs and forums. This means that many people are not discovering their websites through search engines today. Instead, they’re finding them through links left by other Internet users. Therefore, as a webmaster, it’s your duty to ensure that your site is optimized not just for search engines but also for sharing among users.

Basically, your goal with any piece of content that you create should be to make something people will want to share. To do this, you’ll need content that’s high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative. It will also need to offer something that cannot be found elsewhere.

Some types of content are more readily shared than others:

  • List-format articles that deliver information in bite-size chunks. Lists of facts and trivia are particularly valuable as people find them interesting and are more likely to remember them than if the information were delivered in another format.
  • Quizzes and other types of interactive content. Users like to share their results with friends and compare notes. Use this to your advantage when thinking of ways to design your content.
  • Tools that are useful to visitors. These might include guides and how-to content or tools that can be used in daily life.
  • Images, videos, sound files and other multimedia methods for conveying information quickly and in an entertaining manner.
  • Content that is controversial and thought-provoking will do better than content that takes a more neutral stance.

When you’re looking for content ideas for your website, look around at the social media profiles of your friends and family. This should give you a very good idea of what people are most likely to share or be interested in. You can also view the social media presence of your competitors within a niche. The most successful sites will have content that invites sharing and virality.