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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.
A-Blogroll
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 blog..it 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?
Nothing!
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

Plagiarism Revisited

January 18, 2011 in Blog Education, Blog tips by Diane

Back in 2008, I wrote a blog post on Plagiarism – More than Meets the Eye where I explained what plagiarism is and giving some ideas on how plagiarism could occur.
Well today I came across a fantastic article on Blogging Tips by Jonathon Bailey from Plagiarism Today where he talked about 5 ways to get sued as a blogger that is worth talking about.
Where at one time blogging was a straightforward way of expresssing ones thoughts and ideas and for many a way to create an income online…now it is something to look at as with any enterprise…as a professional even if you are just writing as a hobby.
The one point that I feel needs to be mentioned is the issue of images and that was something I had not mentioned in my orginial post…boy can you get into big time trouble! Please and I repeat… DO NOT use GOOGLE as a STOCK IMAGE SEARCH!
As Mr. Dailey pointed out”“Since copyright is affixed to most works upon creation, the vast majority of works on the Web are copyrighted. So using Google Image Search as a stock photo source is a very bad idea, especially considering that the stock photo industry has been on a massive litigation and legal threat campaign.”
I truly hope you will take the time to read this great article.  It is simply written and well worth reading all the comments you will find.
To Your Success

by Diane

21 Blog Interview Questions

March 8, 2009 in Blog tips by Diane

See full size image

While there are many ways to add content to your blog, today I want to talk about blog interviews.
Blog interviews are a fantastic way to create linking for yourself as well as to the person that you are interviewing.
While this may sound simple, many people hesitate to go this route, simply because they don’t know what to ask, how to ask it and where to find people to interview.

Where to Find people to do blog interviews:

1. Friends. In the different social communities or forums that you belong to, there are sure to be those people whose work that you admire. Ask them! People really do like talking about themselves as well as the work they are in.

2.Bloggers that you are following. I am sure that there are those blogs that you follow day after day for a variety of reasons including keeping up with topics in your niche. By interviewing these people, you have created a good resource for your niche, you have also created important linking for yourself as well as your fellow blogger.

21 Questions to ask in a blog Interview Read the rest of this entry →

by Diane

Blog Tip – Use the “Read More” Tag

July 26, 2008 in Blog tips by Diane

Illusion of Depth and Space (7/22) - Rotating Smiley / Wink with Multicolour Illumination and Shadowsphoto © 2009 Dominic Alves | more info (via: Wylio)

A successful blog tip is one that everyone can use, from those new to blogging to those who are more seasoned.

Here is a blog tip that will help your blog become a success.

How to display excerpts of a blog post? The Read More Tag! Read the rest of this entry →