by Diane

4 Styles of Content – What are They?

February 17, 2011 in Blog Education by Diane

Like many people and being human I sometimes confuse the meanings of certain terms, such as duplicate content, syndicated content,plagiarized content and spun content.

So to help me keep all these terms straight and in the process helping you all understand these terms, Here is a short glossary of the different kinds of content there are and what the actually mean.

Duplicate Content

(I have to say this is one term that I keep misusing when talking about spun content or plagiarized content.)
I love how duplicate content is defined on Wikipedia Duplicate content is a term used to describe content that appears on more than one web page, within the same web site. When multiple pages within a web site contain essentially the same content, search engines such as Google can penalise/not display that site in any relevant search results.You can compare it to being on a crossroad, and road signs are pointing in 2 different directions for the same final destination: which road should you take? And now, to make it “worse” the final destination is different too, but only ever so slightly. As a reader, you don’t mind: you get the content you came for. But a search engine has to pick which one to show in the search results, as it doesn’t want to show the same content twice.

Syndicated Content or is that Content syndication?

Very simply when you write a blog post or article and you post said writing in many places, then you have syndicated your work. it will always have your name on the article, some kind of profile can be found and the name of your company,website or blog. A great example of syndicated content is a press release, which can be found in hundreds or even thousands of places. You are not “duplicating” content, you are reaching a greater audience.  The upside to using syndicated content on your blog or web site is if it is adding value to your blog, if it helps answer a question or proving a point within your post and IF IT IS DONE WITH PERMISSION, you will find that using good quality syndicated content can indeed help your site and not hinder it.

Plagiarized Content.

While I have written about plagiarism before, in the context of this post I have to say…people who plagiarize or steal content from another persons hard work needs to be taken out and shot with a wet noodle ( sorry I am a bit of a pacifist).  It is disgusting, it is wrong wrong wrong!  Just because you know how to copy and paste, does not give you the right to steal a blog post, an article or even an image and that is all I will say about this!

Spun Content

Number one what exactly is spun content? Basically you take an article that you like and you use an application or program and you change that article so that it looks new or unique.  In theory you can create 50 new articles (or more) from the original article and then it can be submitted to countless of article directories which is supposed to save you  time and help with your SEO.
The one time I had debate on content spinners, it ended up in a bit of a flaming war simply because I really do not like them in any way.  So I am going to be smart this time and say, there is a lot of information regarding these programs and if you are interested, then research this subject yourself and I wish you well.

Today’s resources are based on a person wanting to know if content has been copied or plagiarized.

Believe it or not the easiest way to find out if something you read is unique is by simply typing in the first few lines of an article and putting it into the Google works like a charm!

Ok I have two places for you to look, one is free and one is a paid service.

The paid service is called Copyscape and according to WikipediaCopyscape is an online plagiarism detection service that checks whether similar text content appears elsewhere on the web. It was launched in 2004 by Indigo Stream Technologies, Ltd.” I have to say it is worth checking into. It does have a free component which is nothing to sneeze at in its own right, but the paid aspect is way more powerful.

The free service is called ( suitably)  Plagiarisma.Net.  ”Plagiarism checker is a handy tool that helps to scan documents of any type for plagiarism, and you really owe it to yourself to run your documents through it before you submit them, if you’re a student, blogger, writer or grade them in case you’re a teacher. It also may benefit you as a business owner when you order content, and pay money for it, to make sure whether the content you ordered is 100% original” I have tried this service out for myself and it is easy to use and it will give you  a very thorough report!

by Diane

Why is it Important to Disclose your Affiliate Relationship?”

January 26, 2011 in Blog Education by Diane

Having a game plan as a blogger, also means knowing when to be able to adapt your plans for whatever reason.
The business of Ethics, Blogging Ethics
Case in point, I had intended to continue with the series Having a game plan today, but because of a question being asked on the Megatraffick.TK forum, I have decided to answer Dorothy Sander’s question here.  Dorothy by the way, is a very cool lady who owns the Blog Aging Abundantly.  she is a great writer which will either inspire you or will give you food for thought.   That by the way was my plug for Dorothy and my disclosure is ” I am not getting paid to say nice things about Aging Abundantly and my association with Dorothy and her blog comes from just liking her/it interesting topic that is being talked about by many people and most recently by Danny Brown on his blog.
Yesterday on MegaTraffic ( a ning forum that I like going to), I had posted about Danny Browns post titled “Why Affiliate Vendors Need to Start Taking the Rap“.  to me it was a very important post not just to bloggers but also the vendors who should be telling their affiliates to make sure they disclose what they are doing.
In that forum Dorothy wrote: “I have a question: Why is it important to disclose your an affiliate relationship?
It was such a good question that I decided to answer it here, rather than on the actual forum.
Funny enough back in 2008, On Success BlogNet I had written a post on the very topic of disclosures, which I then updated this last November (2010) The title was “Disclosure Policy – A Tool – A Necessity!” and while this post is an important read and to my way of thinking a necessity, it does not least not properly, Dorothy’s important question “why?
So here is my answer Dorothy ( long and drawn out – lol, but I got there).   To me it is important to disclose what you are doing because it gives you credibility, it gives you authenticity and it is showing that you are being transparent in all that you do in your blogging life.   In plain and simple language it is all about ethics and being professional.
From the standpoint of a blogger, here is a great explanation about what this all really means to you Dorothy and to everyone else who is blogging and was done by Whitney Hoffman on her blog Reading Whitney on Oct 6,2009.
This is a longish post by the way, but a MUST read to fully understand the scope and the meaning to understanding about endorsements and disclosure.
In part what she says is: no longer as bloggers can we go around saying this or that and get paid for doing it (or be given gifts) and NOT SAY ANYTHING  We need to be and act as  professionals just like any big time company.
“The whole point of having FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials is to try to ensure truth in advertising, so that if the typical consumer sees an ad on TV, in a magazine, or online, they are aware it is an ad, and that the information contained within it is reasonably truthful and reliable.”
When you become an affiliate in any way, then just  do the right thing, disclose, disclose….DISCLOSE!
Have I explained well enough… Do any of  you have any questions?

by Diane

Blogrolls – Yes or No?

January 25, 2011 in Blog Tools, Blog tips by Diane

While there are many blogs in the blogosphere, there are certain people that I follow on a daily basis.
There are those who give me my daily dose of inspiration, those that help me learn more about the craft of blogging and some who share my personal likes and shared interests.
Should I be putting every blog that I like on a blogroll?
To answer this question, you need to understand what a blogroll is and why you should have one ( or… maybe not have one )on your blog.
Lets go back a moment and define what a blogroll is.
According to Wiktionary a blogroll is  (Internet) A blogger’s list of hyperlinks that are recommendations to other blogs.”.  Well that was pretty dry but to the point!
I prefer this definition by Jade Blake which is:
A blogroll is an addition to a blog that benefits the blog’s owner, visitors and other blog owners. The main purpose of a blogroll is to refer readers to blogs containing similar content that they might enjoy. In time, other blogs might add your blog address to their blogrolls. This will bring more traffic to your website.
–oh and as the Wiktionary points out they are indeed links.
Is that it?  If that were the case my job here would be done and everyone could go on their way and create a blogroll of hundreds of links  um I mean blogs.
The fact is, that is exactly what many people do!  they create a blogroll without thought and many have blogrolls so long you have to wonder…wow does that person really read and like these blogs?
The fact is blogrolls can have great advantages.
For example:
  • If you have a blog on something like aging, then linking to other blogs that have similar interests  that will help your readers.  You are providing value, something your readers will appreciate.
  • when you align yourself with other bloggers and especially if they link back to you, then you have created more traffic to your is all about recipocity and that is nothing to sneeze at.
Like anything though Blogrolls also have a downside and you need to know that.
  • Blogrolls need to be kept up.  You need to keep checking to see if these people are still blogging or that they are still active with their blogs and staying with the same topic.
  • In terms of SEO, well it is like this, while you may have a persons blog on your site…are they returning the favor?  If they are not, you are passing traffic to others, but they are not passing it back to you.
  • If your blogroll is too big, then what is that saying? Speaking only for myself, when I see a huge blogroll list, I walk away from that blog as to me that blog is not showing any credibility and is just putting links in for the “link juice”.  Am I wrong?
Now that I have told you my vie
w on the good and bad points to blogrolls, I do have a few suggestions to hopefully guide you to creating a blogroll that will do your blog  justice.
1.How many of you use the word “blogroll” on your blogs?  Did you know that you are wasting your real estate value of your blog?  Think of a wording that would best suit your blogroll in a way that will convey interest to your readers. Think of keywords or a keyword phrase that people would be searching for on the net, that will lead them to your site.
2. How many of you just put in blog links, one after the other?  Your time would be better spent categorizing your links.There are a couple of reasons to my blogroll tip. a) when you use a keyword as a category, you stand a chance of being noticed by the Search engines and when you are providing good content to your blog, then it is not only your readers that will notice you.  - When you categorize your blogroll, your readers will be able to find what they are wanting and the blog authors will also thank you for taking the time to say what the topic of their blog is about which is great SEO for them and also for you.
3. Keep your blogroll relevent to your site.  Depending on your blog topic or niche, this can get a bit tricky especially if you have a blog on lets say aging and you are linking to a site about mechanics ( just an example).  Is there a way around this issue?   To me the answer is yes, you can do one of two things, keep your site pure to the topic in all aspects and not link to those style of blogs or you can make a personal catchall category – think of a good name and put in those blogs that you just really enjoy.
4. Not every blog that wants to link with you is going to be suitable.  Yes I know that sounds terrrible,but it is true. When someone wants to link to your blog (blogroll) or if you want to link to them, then you also need to know if it is a good blog.  Now everyone thinks of their blog as a “wow”, but the reality is that if a blog is not indexed ( page rank), then it is a useless link. Now you don’t have to ignore these authors and in fact I would say, especially if they have written a good article/post, then link to them within your post.
I guess in the end, you need to weigh the pros and cons when creating a blogroll.  While the internet is very impersonal, it is wise to remember that when one is being social and personal,  the rewards will come back to you ten fold.
Todays post is about blogrolls and to that end the free tools that I can suggest, will help you find those blogs that have a good page rank.
SEO for firefox
this tool will give you loads of information from Google PageRank, Page links,age and so much more. ( I personally use this tool and it is easy to use and gives a lot of good information)
This is a SEO tool for Google Chrome and a I have to say that the information that you will get is comprehensive to say the leart.  It also enhances tools such as the Google Wemaster tools with links anchor text and pagerank.  I have been trying this extension out for a while now and have to say I like it!
SeoQuake firefox extension
seoQuake is one very powerful tool for any or all of your SEO needs. Not only will you get the pagerank on any given page or blog you are on, but you will also find out about such things as back links, keywords, sources and the list goes on.
Have fun with these tools and let me know how you are getting on with your blogroll

by Diane

Twitter Art or the Art of Re-Tweeting

January 24, 2011 in Blog Thoughts, Blog tips by Diane

Twitter Art, what an amazing concept and yet it is being done by quite a few people.  My personal favorites are from @tw1tt3rart/ Mr. Mathew Haggart and here are just a few examples:

they are so cool and yet what do they have to do with retweeting or as I would say The Art of Retweeting?
To be honest very little and yet when retweeting, maybe we all should be looking at this from the point of view of an artist.
I noticed it today while watching the twitter stream, so many people ( and yes that included me) RT’ing everything that they thought interesting. On many communities, there is a handy “Tweet” button and you click on it a box opens and there it is a Retweet all ready for you.  You click on it and like magic it appears in your twitter stream. You give a sigh of relief that it worked then go on to the next thing you are reading.  This action is repeated by thousands of people every single day.
So…what is wrong with that?
Lets face it there are so many benefits to Re-Tweeting or RT’s:
  • -You can slowly build contacts, especially those who are interested in what you like
  • Its a great way to do passive marketing of YOU by helping others and increase visibility
So what is the problem?
To me it is simple. If you think of Twitter as a microblog then you need to think in terms of originality. Copying of a tweet and retweeting is not very original!
Add to that,While the idea of the RT is simple, there is a huge issue to my way of thinking and that is too many Rt’s are messy, they are confusing and after a while they grow so long that what ever it was you were wanting to pass on gets lost in the Rt’s.
There is one last but very important point and that is… can you guess? right = the limitation of the 140 characters which can up to I believe 12 characters or more when you retweet.   Does this make sense?
O.K. I believe I have made my point ( I hope), so what can a person do?
Here are are some ideas for you to think about when you want to retweet:
  • Remove the extra or duplicate words and hashtags from your post
  • Move the RT @ Username to the END of the post
  • Never ever modify the short link by the original user and check the link before you do any post.
  • Think in terms of others wanting to retweet you post, therefore set you post limit to 120 Characters.  Smart thinking if you want people to retweet you.
  • This may sound a bit silly, but take the time to look at your post before you actually retweet it.  It takes just a few seconds and will save you from embarrassement.
  • I know everyone wants to use hashtags (#), but don’t over do it. Use hashtags to really point out the important keywords
  • It does not matter what you are retweeting, add value to the tweet by adding your take, your thoughts, your opinion on the tweet in question.
  • Always say thank you to the person who has taken the time to retweet you.
Is there anything else?
there is one last point to make…Use the RT to identify the original poster.  Use “via” when you want to let others know that you found a post from someone else.
Considering the amount of blog tools that can help you with your tweeting or re-tweeting, it is a little hard to say..pick this one or pick that one.
I will say that HootSuite and TweetDeck are very very good applications and ones that may be of interest to you.
Like any software though, you should be aware ( at least to myknowledge) that any of the Desktop software add the “RT@username” at the beginning of a post, but that is easy to change.
I think that is it for the day….oh, there is a fellow Khaled over at KHALED’S BLOG who has gathered quite a collection of twitter applications that you might be interested in…it really is quite an incredible list and you may find twitter tools there that you never thought of using before.

by Diane

Categories are Part of the Game Plan

January 22, 2011 in Blog Education, Blog Tools by Diane

Part three of  You Need a Game Plan
Brainstorming to help your game plan
Over the last couple of days I have been sharing my thoughts on creating a game plan for your blogging career and on Thursday I had talked about mind maps or how to brainstorm where you want to go with your blog always remembering the best game plan starts with the end not the beginiing.
Moving forward….

When you did your brainstoring or created your mind map on the topic of your blog, then you should have noticed a progression of thoughts and ideas about where you wanted to go with your blog.  When you put these into a list form, what you have done is  create  a “draft” for your categories.  Of course there is a bit more to it than this, but this kind of thinking will give you the ideas of where to start.
I read an analogy on the thinking about categories and I love this thinking …Categories are like the DNA of your blog ( I have put my slant on the term DNA in the context of  blogging categories  by the way:-)  ) Simply put, categories help you define or create the frame of your blog.
** Most people think of categories in terms of readers and SEO  which is very important and maybe I will do my take on this another time under a different category…LOL***

For the purpose of your game plan, think of categories as a way to focus and plan your blog posts so that you will remain active, keep your blog interesting and to help you schedule your time.
While many people have their own ways of planning their posts using categories ( would love to hear yours ), what I find works for me is using a calander of some sort, where I can put in each category for every day of the week, with ideas of posts or articles per category.  By doing this, I find that I never run out of ideas and I can research or get everything organized ahead of time.
While there are many free online calanders on the net, my personal favorite is the Google Calander which I have also added Remember the Milk (to my Google Calander) to help me set up my blog posts tasks ( as well as any other tasks) for the upcoming week.
For those of you still unfamiliar with Google Calander, I have found it to be one of the more useful applications that Google developed. If You looking into the history of this application, Wikipedia has a great write up if you want to know more.
Remember the Milk is technically a task manager and online list maker, but boy it is  so much more and has been a life saver for me on more than one occassion.  Instead of me extolling the benefits of using Remember the Milk, I am going to refer you to one of my favorite blogs and their article “8 Easy Ways To Manage Tasks With Remember The Milk“.  If this does not “sell” you on this great application, I dont know what will.
I really hope that this series on “You need a Game Plan” is getting your juices flowing and giving you a practical way to creating success on your blog.