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Pack your Website with more Value

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Jennifer Pointer

As a local business, your readers are most likely to find your website when they Google you to get directions, find out more about the products and services you offer, and see if you have any "specials," that would apply to what they're needing that day.

 

If they manage to do this (preferably on their mobile devices), you're doing a good job with "SEO," which is "search engine optimization." Now, what you want to work on is reader retention - getting those readers to keep coming back.

 

They will keep coming back if you give them a reason to add you to their feeds, either in a feed reader or on one of the social networks like Facebook or Twitter (note that if you post your entire articles to the feeds, it is likely your readers will seldom actually click through to your blog, so you'll want to pay attention to the stats for those feeds and include them in your reader retention numbers).

 

With all of the other websites out there, what makes people want to include YOUR blog or website in their daily reads? Simply put, you need to pack your website with something of value to that reader.  Here are some common features that will make readers think, "Oh, I want to make sure I get the updates on this site!"

 

1) Humor.  Think of the site "ICanHasCheezburger."  According to conventional means, this isn't even a "good" website.  It has a stupid, hard to type name and URL. The design is...it actually doesn't even have a design.  The content is a mess - mostly user generated.  But they're one of the most popular websites out there.  I visit the site a couple of times a day. Why? There's always something there that makes me laugh.  It's good clean fun (safe for work, in case you get caught surfing at the office), and there's something for everyone.

 

2) Shareable content. If you provide content that is "quote worthy," relevant to your industry, in a timely fashion, it's likely you'll attract the attention of other bloggers who are blogging about your topic.  They'll add you to their feeds just to keep "tabs" on what you're wriitng about.

 

3) Freebies. This doesn't mean that you have to provide the products or services that you normally sell of profit for free. That's usually not a good idea.  But you might be able to provide inustry-related information, links to great deals online, or some other product or service of interest to your target demographic.  For example, a day spa might provide daily bits of wisdom on stress relief or maintaining healthy skin and hair.

 

4) Dicounts.  If you normally offer discount specials in your other advertising efforts (such as the phone book, newspaper, radio advertisements, etc.) be sure to include them on your website as posts that will show up in your feeds.  This will give people a good reason to click through to your site to check out and hopefully use the product or service you're advertising.

 

5) Event Calendar.  A community event calendar can be a great way to establish yourself in your local market niche, and network with other professionals in your industry (they won't want to be left off of your calendar).  Performing artists often include calendars of their own performance dates on their websites for easy access, as well.  If you use a calendar, be sure to put the updates in the form of a blog post or article that will show up in your feeds.

 

What other ideas do you have for packing your website with value for your readers?

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Twitter now Offering Threaded Feeds

Posted on November 9, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

Since its inception, Twitter's format has been basically that of a long stream of seemingly random one-liners made by users.  As the users found ways to interact with each other, Twitter began integrating their makeshift "system" into its own official one, such as the "retweet," and the "reply."  Also, as users found ways to shorten their URLs to leave more space in their 140-character limit tweets, Twitter eventually began shortening the links automatically.

 

Well, without fanfare, Twitter is this week rolling out its most dramatic feature to-date - threaded "activity" streams.  If this feature has been made available on your account, you'll see it when you sign in, both under a tab called "activity" at the top of your home page, and under the "mentions" tab, which is the one that looks like @YourUsername.  TechCrunch has an example, and more information HERE.

 

In the new activity stream, you can quickly peruse who is now following whom (so you can more easily search for mutual contacts) and who has been replying or retweeting what since your last login.  The "threads" are only one level deep, unfortunately, so they still don't have a full "discussion" capacity, which is a feature that has been missing on Twitter from the beginning.  However the avoidance of long discussions and a format that just allows for quick updates is exactly the attraction for many users - particularly those wanting quick updates on a developing story. 

 

Under the "mentions" tab are the threads that I find the most useful.  It is now much easier to see what people are replying to when they mention you in a tweet.  It's easy to see in one place exactly who has begun following you.  From that one page you can click on that new follower's icon; his or her profile will pop up in the right column, and you can follow back, block, or do nothing right from that one screen.  Very convenient.  Oh, and if you really don't want the threaded stream, and prefer to revert to the older view, you can simply check "show mentions only" at the upper right of the stream.

 

I really believe that these new screens will soon be monetized by Twitter, as the company does not run ads, and is still relying on venture capital to continue its operations - a funding strategy that has its limits.  These alternate screens provide the opportunity to offer additional services and/or targeted ad space that could help Twitter eventually become profitable.  It remains to be seen, however, if this is their plan and if so, how they will go about it, exactly.

 

How do you like the new format?  Do you think you'll use the threaded options more, or just rely on Twitter's traditional "timeline"?

 

 

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My Fav Five Tech Blogs (besides this one, of course)

Posted on February 17, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

For those of you who have been wondering what blogs I read for the inspiration to keep writing these posts five times a week...OK, well, technically, no one has actually asked me about this, but I sort of felt the inquiring vibes, so...the long wait is over.  Here are my current five favorite tech blogs (note: this list is subject to change without notice).

 

Facebook Blog:  How else would I know what Facebook is up to, so I can complain about it (or occasionally sing its praise)?  Like it or not, Facebook is the Google of social networking, and not at least knowing what it is up to is to be ignorant of what is happening on the web. 

 

TechDirt: While I don't always agree with the political views of the writers of this blog, their research is great, and their insights are very helpful in understanding what is going on in the world of technology, especially as current events and pending legislation is likely to affect it. 

 

TechCrunch: All of the updates in technology gadges is pretty overwhelming.  This blog does a great job of sorting through what's important, and posting on what everyone who is considering the purchase of a phone or computer or wireless device (and who isn't?) needs to know.

 

Mashable: This site is really awesome for keeping up with what is going on in social networking (top networks, start-ups, industry news).  The articles are written so that anyone (even a complete newbie) can understand them (I know this, because it was one of the first blogs I subscribed to - long before I understood the treasure I had found). 

 

Neowin: A lot of the stuff on this blog is a a little over my head, but it's a great resource for an alternative viewpoint on just about anything tech-related.  It covers gadgets, social networking, and industry news. 

 

So those are my favs.  What are yours?

 

Also see our "You might want to add these to your RSS Feed" from last year (five-part series).

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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How to control what your friends see in their newsfeeds on Facebook

Posted on January 18, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

Facebook Newsfeed Privacy

 

Yesterday, we talked about How to control your newsfeed on Facebook.  Today, let's talk about controlling what your friends see in their newsfeeds about you on Facebook. 

 

If you're like me, you have people from various parts of your life on Facebook - church, work, family, friends, previous marriages, hobby clubs, volunteerism, community involvement, political activities, etc..  These people may or may not know or like each other.  What's interesting to one group of friends might be borderline offensive to another group.  Some of the people I work with, for example, may or may not be interested in my political views on global warming (or whatever).  So, how do I post potentially controversial links and comments on my own Facebook wall, without alienating my other friends? 

 

There are two main ways to do this.  First, as shown in the example above, you can control who sees any specific post by choosing setting the security level of that post, BEFORE you hit "Share."  After you've posted it, you can see who is able to view it by clicking on the little "lock" icon for that post.  If you've made a mistake, and made it available to too many people, you'll have to delete it and try again.

 

The second method of controlling who sees what on your wall in their feeds is to set your defaults, in your Privacy Settings.  I covered this in generally in May, and in regard to location settings in August.   To specifically control what shows up in your friends' newsfeeds, however, you'll need to go to "Customize your Settings" (Click HERE, or click "Privacy" in the top-right of your screen, then, click "customize settings," from the drop-down menu).

 

On "Posts by Me" (example below) choose your privacy level.

 

Remember, what you share on your Facebook wall may be further limited by the Newsfeed settings your friends have selected.  If you have allowed your friends to see a particular post, but the friend has "hidden" that type of post, he still will not see it in his newsfeed.

 

Facebook Newsfeed Privacy


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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You might want to add these to your RSS Feed: Writing Tips and Resources

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Jennifer Pointer

 

 

Today, we're wrapping up a series on sites you might want to add to your RSS Feed, including educational resources, and job and career resources, as well as Web 2.0 resources, and networking site blogs.  Finally, because bloggers are often also writers, I'd like to share some of my favorite daily reads for writing tips.

 

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

 

Part of the "Quick and Dirty Tips," network, Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) is a great resource for refreshing our memories on those common spelling and grammar errors that we see (and perhaps make) so frequently.  The article feed is HERE, and the podcast feed is HERE.

 

Business Writing

 

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston's Business Writing blog is a great resource.  Her tips go beyond basic grammar and spelling to effective business communication.  Check it out, and subscribe to her feed, HERE.

 

 Daily Writing Tips

 

DailyWritingTips.com, aptly named, is a great daily read for anyone who writes as part of their business (which is most of us).  The tips are usually focused on basic vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, or grammar, and take about a minute to read - a minute well spent. HERE is the feed link.

 

The English Web

 

Another great business writing resource is theEnglishWeb.com ("Writing help and samples to help you write better personal and business letters & emails").  Updates to this blog are less frequent, but high quality.  The feed is HERE.

 

Wordful

 

Wordful is a blog for publishers (or aspiring publishers), including those hoping to turn their blogs into books, and copywriters.  This blog has great tips for how to not only write, but get read.  Click HERE to subscribe to the feed.

 

Wordnik Word of the Day

 

You can expand your vocabulary by learning a new word daily, on Wordnik's Word of the Day. Amaze (or confuse your friends by correctly using words like "gloomth" and "snarge" in a sentence (not necessarily the same sentence, though). This is great for Scrabble players. To join the fun, subscribe to the feed, HERE.

 

Daily Grammar

 

The Daily Grammar blog is a good resource for those wanting to enhance and advance their wriitng skills. It's also a great refresher for anyone who teaches English or business wriitng, and may not remember exactly what an adjective clause or an adverb infinitive is.  ;-)   The feed subscription link is HERE.

 

Writers - also be sure to check out Where to Find Writing Inspiration, on WebRev. Have a great weekend! 

 


 

Jennifer PointerJennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.

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You might want to add these to your RSS Feed: Networking Site Blogs Online

Posted on April 15, 2010 by Jennifer Pointer

 

 

This week, we're talking about RSS Feeds, and recommending sites which you may want to consider adding to your feed-reader lists.  During the last couple of days, we talked about educational resources, as well as job and career resources, Earlier in the week, we talked about great Web 2.0 resources, and now we're going to list the blogs of specific social networks that we can use to keep up with social networking news.Fac

 

Facebook

 

We've talked a lot about how to network effectively on Facebook.  Facebook is a great place for locating and communicating with business and personal contacts.  It is one of the most popular social networks, and ranks very highly on the SERPs (search engine results pages).  Some Facebook users are even using their Facebook Fan Pages in lieu of a blog.  Yeah, so Facebook is kind of a big deal.  To keep up with what is going on with Facebook, from the perspective of the folks who run the site, you can subscribe to the blog, HERE.

 

Twitter

 

We have also talked a lot here on WebRev about using Twitter as part of an online profile management, or social marketing strategy.  Twitter's search and #hashtags are an excellent way to locate people with similar interests and grow a network.  Twitter is far less personal that Facebook, and is more about information sharing.  It's also a bit of an anomaly in the world of Web 2.0, in that it was developed as a totally new concept - for use with mobile phones, and has become an indispensable real-time news source. Twitter ranks very highly in the SERPs by topic and keyword.  For an "insiders" view of what is happening on Twitter, subscribe to the blog, HERE.

 

LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is a fantastic network for soon-to-be college graduates, career professionals and job seekers.  LinkedIn also ranks very high on the social networks, and a LinkedIn profile helps greatly with online profile management. Click HERE to subscribe to the blog feed.

 

Ning

 

Ning.com has taken the "discussion forum" of the 20th century, and brought it into the world of Web 2.0, by allowing users to collaborate around a hobby, interest, or project.  A Ning profile is excellent for digital profile management, and a Ning "Network" (discussion forum) is fantastic for SEO.  Ning is growing and is becoming increasingly interactive with the other social networks.  To keep up with all fo the changes, subscribe to the feed, HERE.

 

Tomorrow, we finish this series with a list of great writing resources online.

 


 

Jennifer PointerJennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.

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