Posts Tagged ‘writing’
Recent Web Social Marketing Strategies blog entries have summarized the meetings of Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM). This group of writers meets weekly in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to learn techniques that can build Internet presence and promote their works online.
This week’s meeting brought us very close to starting blogs. Our blogs will be the focal points of all our social marketing strategies. Our other online activities will invite the world to our blogs where we’ll demonstrate our craft and establish authority in our areas of interest.
We started, as usual, with a discussion about the importance of increasing activity on Twitter. Someone on my social network recently asked a bunch of people with similar concerns to join a Facebook group and share insights. In one day there had been a lot of interaction in that group (and it has continued since). My point of sharing this story was to emphasize how the contacts in your social network can become very important to you. Until you show your own chops and get your network established, you’re missing out on these opportunities.
We’ve had mixed experience doing keyword research with Market Samurai. A few of us have found key phrases with decent stats, but that aren’t necessarily easy to work into conversations. A blog built around a marginal key phrase can be awkward; you’ll know it when you read one: the sentences will be grammatically and stylistically hacked-together to include a phrase that really doesn’t fit.
So, we bounced phrases around to decide whether we could write them into conversations naturally.
We looked at the Market Samurai keyword competition matrices for a few key phrases, and I gave my interpretation of the statistics they provided. Again: some of the key phrases look very good.
Creating a Blog
I provided an overview of 2 options for starting a blog:
- Use a free services such as blogger or wordpress.com. The advantage is that the service is free. The disadvantages are that a URL that is part of some other domain may receive less Google love than one that you own outright. Also, free services are rather limited in the selection of themes (appearance) and plugins (added features beyond the blog) available.
- Buy a URL and host WordPress (free software) on a commercial service. The disadvantage of this is that you spend about $100 per year for the service and the URL. The advantages are many. For example, there are no restrictions for what you do on your own URL. You can commercialize your own URL, while you may not be able to commercialize a blog on a free service. Hundreds of free plugins are available to help you build Google love and otherwise customize your blog; many of these won’t work on a free blog service. You can expand a WordPress blog on your own URL by adding pages within WordPress, and by adding custom-built web pages outside of WordPress, if you so desire.
You can be successful with free blogging services and with your own URL, but I’m encouraging that you buy a URL and host it yourself because I’m confident we can get such blogs high in Google’s rankings very quickly; you’ll build your online presence more rapidly when you own your blog.
Find a Hosting Service
You can use any hosting service you prefer to hold your own WordPress blog, with one technical requirement: Make sure the hosting service comes with CPanel. CPanel is a dashboard for managing everything you do on your hosting service—uploading files, creating email accounts, installing new web sites, and dozens of things that will probably never matter to you. CPanel is important because software we’ll use to set up blogs relies on the CPanel services.
I recommended the hosting service Hostgator for two reasons:
- I know Hostgator and they are reliable and responsive on support issues
- Hostgator is relatively inexpensive. If you pay for 3 years and have only one URL, they charge $5 per month. I especially like their Baby Plan that lets you host unlimited web sites for a fixed price. Today it might be hard to imagine having even one web site, but some day you might add a second and third; with Hostgator the cost doesn’t increase when you add sites. Of course, if you start with the “Hatchling” plan for a single URL, you can probably upgrade should you later decide to add more URLs.
If you decide to go with Hostgator, please do me the favor of clicking over to their web site from my Web Social Marketing Strategies web site (or from the links in this post). I confess that I receive a referral fee when you do this, so you can see I have some “bought” bias toward Hostgator.
For Next Week
My hope is to start blogs next week. This will involve buying the URL, registering with a hosting service, pointing the URL to the service, and installing WordPress on the new site (we might be stymied on this last one; it can take a day or two for a new website to show up on the Internet in central Pennsylvania).
At class I asked everyone to do three things by next week:
- Find 4 or more key phrases that fit the criteria (see last week’s post) and that you feel comfortable about working into conversations. It’s OK to have one key phrase that fits, and several others that are pretty close.
- Decide on your level of financial commitment to your online presence: Either free services only, or about $100 per year to host your own.
- TWEET!!! Seriously: more chatter on Twitter, please!
If you have time and inclination, this would be a good time to write a blog post or two or three. Even 200 words is adequate, and generally try to keep your posts under 600 words. You don’t have to post a blog entry the moment you install your blog, but it’s kind of nice to be able to.
Work in whatever word processor makes you happy. For you 2-computer people, consider writing in a Google Docs word-processing file. If you remember your password at the meeting, you’ll have access from whatever computer you bring.
If you’re ready to start a blog on Wednesday AND you’re going to host your own, you’ll need a credit card to submit payment to the hosting service and/or the Domain registration service from which you buy your domain name.
PLEASE DON’T PANIC or feel pressure to jump in. If you’ve done decent keyword research, but you’re not ready to blog… or if you haven’t had time to find just the right key phrase, we’ll still be around. Once the blog is up, things can get pretty lively!
See you Wednesday!