Categories
Blogging

5 Guest Blogging Tips

I guess someone must have released a product on guest blogging recently because my inbox is full of requests.

Sadly, all the requests from prospective guest bloggers are about to be moved to the trash bin because they failed the basic criteria.

Guest Blogging Tips

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about requests for guest blog posts.  Here’s some tips for guest bloggers …

Tip 1  –  Find blogs that are relevant to your niche

First of all, you need to find blogs in your niche that are relevant to your topic and the message you want to convey.   Contacting blogs that are not relevant to your niche is both a waste of your time and the blog owners.     Really,  it’s just spray and pray, hoping that out of the mass of requests you send that you can get a reply.   A much better way to get the result that you want is to do the right research in the first place.  This way you are only contacting blog owners that are relevant to your message and ideally with a target audience that could cross over to your site.

guest blogging tips
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Start by creating a list of about 200 blogs that fit this criteria.    Set up a spreadsheet that sets out the relevant details such as the blog owner’s name (usually right there on the About page), Facebook/twitter and other social media, contact email, blog url and a sentence about the type of blog posts they are accepting and if they have any criteria for blog post submission

Sort your list.   Ideally the top 10 blogs that you would love to have your post  published on should be 1-10 on your sheet, then the next ideal group of 10 and so on.

In the perfect world, you would spend some time getting to know the top 10 on your list you prepared via social media.   This means really engaging with the blog owners by making useful and insightful comments on their posts and Facebook updates and replying and retweeting when appropriate on twitter.

Focus on the top 10 on your list and put in the hard yards via their blog and social media to build a long term relationship.  Guest blogging is a bit like dating.  If you ask for too much too soon you run the risk of the other party dumping you 🙂

Tip 2 – Plan your ideal result 

Are you writing a post because you want to a) increase your authority status in a niche? get more traffic? get some links? make some sales? If you don’t have a goal for your blog post you won’t be able to measure it, track it and know if you have succeeded.   Knowing your ideal result will also assist you when you are researching blogs to submit your guest post to.   Some blogs may be on your dream list because they are authorities in the niche.     This doesn’t mean though that their visitors are used to buying things.   Find blogs that resonate with your message and are more likely to give you the end result that you are looking for.     This will help save a lot of tears in the long run ….

Tip 3 –  Creating compelling content

A lot of time and thought needs to go into the content that you will submit.   Not only do you need to consider what the blog owner would think of the content and how it fits with their view of their blog but also it is the bait for the visitor. Put yourself in the blog owner’s position.

Is your content unique, relevant to the blog, well written, useful and informative?

Would you be proud to put that content on one of your own sites?

What would  your grandma think of it?

Is it shareable?  Would visitors find the article useful enough to share on social media?

Is a blog owner likely to find it useful enough to notify their list and promote it themselves?

A blog owner is generally looking to give their visitors new insights and information that will be helpful for that market. they do not want their readers to be confused, offended or feel that they have gone to the wrong site completely.  As a guest blogger you need to create content that not only satisfies the blog owner and their target audience but will also bring you the result that you are aiming for.

Tip 4 – Contacting the blog owner – the right way 

Once you have created a compelling  piece of content it’s time to bite the bullet and  submit that article.   First of all do a quick check:

  • Have you got a copy of the article in .txt and .docx format to submit?
  • have you sourced and paid for images to incorporate with your article?
  • do you have a video on You Tube or other video site to link to in your blog, if relevant?
  • have you included a bio about yourself with a compelling call to action to click through to your blog?
  • has your blog or main website been updated and refreshed if necessary?
  • have you included links to your social media profiles where visitors can also interact with you?
  • do you have any links to other blogs where your articles have been featured?

Your email to the blog owner should:

  • address them by name,
  • remind them of some engagement that you have had with them directly (either social media or via their blog comments)
  • mention that you are aware of who their target audience is and with that in mind you have crafted a draft article for consideration
  • enclose your article that is free of spelling and grammatical errors and fact checked

The advantage of doing this is that you are not wasting time toing and froing with the blog owner.

If you have examples of your work elsewhere on the internet, like your own website or other guest blog posts that you have done you should provide the links to that content so the blog owner can view it.

All in all you should make it as easy as possible for the blog owner to say yes to your guest blog post.

Now sit back and wait ….

Sometimes, you may find that you don’t hear from the blog owner for a week or 10 days. If that’s the case then you can just send a polite follow up (ensure that you have checked the email address).

Often blog owners will reply and while they may like some parts of your article they may require some of it to be re-written. Don’t take it to heart. Often it means that you didn’t research or know enough about the topic to begin with 🙂 Even, if that is not the case it is still an opportunity for more interaction with the blog owner and to build a relationship.

You might also get a downright rejection. Before you start licking your wounds, analyse what you could do better next time and what changes you need to make when you move to the next blog owner on your list.

How blog owners can help guest bloggers get published

Time is short but there should always be a few minutes in the day where you can give a prospective guest blogger some feedback on their article. It’s pretty easy to be mean to a prospect but a lot more helpful to give constructive feedback. If you advise some points that could be improved in the article before it could be considered for publication on your blog then it is usually a win/win for both parties.

One of the things that a blog owner can do to cut down on time is have easy to find information on their blog dealing with guest blog post submissions.   This should tell the prospect about what the submission guidelines are, article length, image, link and video use within the content and what topics are acceptable.   Guidelines should also be given about when a prospective blogger should receive a response to their submission.

Tip 5 – Planning your engagement 

After your blog post has been accepted the blog owner will usually let you know the date of publication.

Make sure that you schedule this date on your calendar and drop by the blog and check out the article as soon as possible. If the blog is set up to subscribe to comments you should subscribe. You should then pop back several times a day and reply to any comments that have been made that are directed to your article. You can also take the opportunity to thank the blog owner for allowing you to contribute and share your knowledge. After the initial publication things will generally die down but you should make it a habit to check your emails for any comment notifications and reply. This ensures that you keep engaged with the new audience that you are building.

The reason that I wrote this post was as I said in the beginning there seems to be a spate of guest post emails at the moment. Sadly, none of the guest bloggers who have contacted me did  their research so they immediately failed because their proposed blog topics are totally unrelated to the site.    Taking a few minutes to do their research could have had a different result.

Categories
Blogging

10 Things for Bloggers to do before 2013

The end of the year (but not the world) is fast approaching and so far it’s been a helluva year!

Traditionally, at this time of year I take some time out to reflect on what I have done, what I could have done, what I will do and what I could have done better 🙂

Thinking about these things in relation to my blog I’ve come up with 10 things that I’m going to do before 2013 and I’m going to share them with you today. Why before 2013? No reason other than I like to start the year (or each day) for that matter with a clear direction. It helps me focus particularly when I feel like half the time I have ADD 🙂 or just an incredibly short attention span!

After the hoidays and pre – New Years is the time that we usually think about what the new year will bring for us and what our goals are. So now, in my opinion, is the right time to get crackin’.

Purpose

1) Think about the purpose of your blog. Did you achieve what you set out to do this year? What stopped you from achieving your aims and what will you be doing differently in 2013 to overcome this. Write it down and how you will overcome any obstacles that bit you this year.

For example; this year I had a really set schedule of the sort of posts that I wanted to write and the frequency. For the first 10 months or so I achieved my goal. The last two months were a bit of a fail though. Why did I fail? I got sidetracked with a major project. What will I do differently next year? Well first of all I’ll plan more carefully and improve my time management (fingers crossed).

Direction

2) Now that you have reviewed what you have done previously lets look to the future and see what you want to do with your blog in 2013.

You’ll probably find that directionas your blog has evolved over time and that the purpose may now be different. Your visitors may have preferences that you are not addressing. Think about the type of comments, questions and feedback you are getting from your market and see if it resonates with you and what your blog stands for.

Think about the type of changes that you could make to incorporate what your visitors want. It may be as simple as setting up a Facebook group, webinars, a forum, membership site, producing products or incorporating different blog posts into your blog.

Strategy

3) Now that you know where you’ve been and where you are going it’s time to ensure that you will arrive at your destination safely. There’s a lot to consider in this section.

First of all you need a plan or a schedule for when you are going to blog. A failure to plan is a plan to fail (or something like that!). You can use a simple calendar if you like. Schedule in when you will be writing and your topic of choice. This is all very well if you know exactly what you will be writing about. If you are more of a “freestyle” blogger then using a wordpress plugin to jot down some ideas for blog posts when they strike you may be a better alternative.

Some free plugins that you might like to try are:

WordPress to do list plugin
Post Ideas –  (note: it has not been updated for a while)
Editorial Calendar

I like to use Editorial Calendar and save my “ideas” for blog posts as drafts.

Depending on the type of blog you have you might need to talk about “seasonal topics” like Halloween for instance. A Blogging calendar of these important dates is really useful so you are always on schedule to deliver the appropriate content at the right time. If you don’t already have one, you can create your own calendar of important events/dates for your area blog a calendar template.

You can get a free calendar template with holidays incorporated here:

http://www.calendarlabs.com/

If you are really serious about planning those blog posts then this free blogging calendar will have you on the right track in no time. It covers the usual stuff of the type of post you’ll be writing but also delves into who the post is aimed at, seo and calls to action. A very handy blogging template to keep you focused.

Not only do you need to consider the type of content that you will be producing but also what happens to that content after it is published.    This is why creating a mind map of  your content strategy is often easier than having bits of paper with random stuff written on it 🙂

Reward

4) Pat yourself on the back for all that you have achieved this year!   Too often we focus on things that we failed to do rather than things that we did do.  Turn that around and give yourself a big slap on the back for your efforts so far!  You can also treat yourself to chocolate or your poison of choice for a job well done. And while we’re talking about slapping yourself on the back now is also time to start a positive vibe swipe file.

240px-ChocolateA positive vibe swipe file is a collection of all the nice things that people say about you all year that we sometimes forget when we are having a bad day.  Whenever someone says something super nice about you file it in your positive vibe file.

If you go to your positive vibe file when you are having a bad day you’ll be cheered up in no time.

Opportunities

5) Capture Missed Opportunities.   Earlier we spoke about creating content.   Once that content is created we still need to get it “out there” to the public.  Now is the time to look at what methods you have been using to generate traffic to your site.    Most of us are a bit hit and miss with traffic we either do some things but not a lot or not enough of it often enough 🙂

Think about what types of traffic you have been generating?  Is it mainly SEO?  If so, how about adding in some social media.   If it is mainly PPC how about adding in some media buys.   There’s a lot of different ways to get traffic and if you have already mastered one method (ie it is bringing you in visitors and conversions) then maybe it’s time to learn a new traffic method.     Choose one new method for traffic and master that.

Tune up time

6) Have a peek under the hood of your site.

  • What plugins do you have that you are using?
  • Now, seriously which plugins do you still need?

WP has many in built features and so it is often not necessary to have a ton of plugins.   They are usually just slowing down your site after all. See what could be discarded, what is really needed and what is already incorprated in WordPress or your theme. The lighter you can travel plugin wise the safer you’ll be.

Redecorating

7) While we are under the hood of your site how’s your theme looking?

Just like your Christmas tree (if you have one)  you probably buy new decorations for that every now and again, right?

Well you need to do the same with your wordpress theme. Every few years at least is really time to redecorate.  Redecorating allows you to take advantage of changes in design and functionality in newer themes and overcomes visitor fatigue.

Security

8) You knew I was going to mention this one right?   Security should be something that you look at regularly with your site/s but a good overall end of year assessment on all your sites is also needed.    When you first added security measures to your blog you may not have had the budget for a good security system like Sucuri.  Things may have now changed, you may have more blogs and it’s time to think about  how reputable services like ManageWP or Sucuri (or both)  can make your life easier.

Clean up

9) Have a look at your WordPress stash. Have you bought stuff that you haven’t used? or even unzipped WordPress wise (yeah I have!).Most WordPress fanatics at some stage find that they have a vast collection of plugins and themes (some of which you can’t remember when/why you bought them!).   It’s a bit like when you go on holidays for a week,  you pack everything and then only wear two things in the suitcase.    Loving WordPress can turn out that way.   You can end up with a terabyte of WordPress must haves that you never use.

If you have a WP stash pull out a test site (a subdomain is often good for this purpose) and  check if the product can stil be used.    Too often with WordPress plugins become outdated, plugin developers disappear or better solutions become available.    If the product is still working, updated and support is good then you need to think seriously if you are going to use it.    If you are thinking “some day” then you are probably not going to use it at all and it’s best left out for clean up day with the home projects you were going to do “some day”.

I have a LOT of  WordPress plugins.    I would tell you how many but I really can’t count that high 🙂  I know what I have because when I purchase them I put the name of the plugin,  a description of what it does, the price, licence details, download area and support contacts in an excel spreadsheet.    That way if I’m looking for a plugin but can’t quite remember the name I can go through my spreadsheet.

Say THANK YOU (and mean it)!

10) I often really wonder what will happen with plugin developers for WordPress who donate their time and skill to create free plugins for the community.   Too thumbsupjpgoften the forums at WordPress are full of users demanding instant service, updated features and the like without ever pausing to say “thank you”.   So, please look through the free plugins that you are using and pick out your fave.

Head on over to the repository and find the page for that plugin or the developer  and give them a big thank you, a donation or rate  their plugin in the WP repository – or go wild and do all of  them!

Bonus 

One final thing before you start 2013 is to clear out some mental mind space.    To do this is super easy.   Head on over to PayPal and look at the subscriptions that you are signed up for.   Now be honest, are you really using them or are you going to use them “some day” ?     The more stuff that you have to think about (even if it is just subscriptions) the more cluttered your mind is and the harder it is to focus on being the awesome person that you are 🙂

Be ruthless and hit the cancel button on anything you don’t use or don’t get value out of.

Now all those cancellation notices will soon hit your inbox so scurry along there and carry out stage 2 of the plan.     Look at your inbox.    Be ruthless.

  • Is there anyone intruding on your inbox that costs you money but provides no value?    (family and children excepted)
  • Constantly bombards you with offers or boring videos to watch?
  • promotes the “next best thing”  at least three times a week?
  • Time to hit the “unsubscribe” button on these guys as well.     All these messages just end up as more “stuff” to think about.   Clearing your mind of them will help you focus on your goals in 2013.

If you can’t hit “unsubscribe” (for example if  you need to stay subscribed for software updates) then filter them.   Gmail is fantastic for filtering and you can easily set up filters, rules and labels to ensure that your inbox only contains important information that you have to action.

Hope you have a great holidays and an awesome 2013!

Categories
Blogging

Boardroom Bloggers

Corporate Blogging 

Years ago, corporations identified the need to build a relationship with their clients and prospects. The world of blogging seemed to be the perfect vehicle to do this.

The benefits of corporate blogging are you can:

  • give insight into the corporation workings
  • engage with your prospects and customers
  • promote your brand
  • give a personality and tone to your corporation
  • remove the “faceless” stigma and humanise the company
  • give value to readers
  • reinforce your mission statement
  • use feedback and interaction to improve your corporation
  • showcase products and services
  • give readers a real insight into the behind the scenes of the workings of your corporation
  • provide extra value by complimenting your products and services with relevant interviews/podcasts/videos etc

and probably other things that I haven’t even thought of!

Some corporations embraced blogging …maybe a bit too much.

Corporate Blog Examples

Corporations like Dell started corporate blogs for all aspects of their business providing a ton of information to their readers by a multitude of writers.

Pros:  Loads of content

Cons: There isn’t a consistent spokesperson for the corporation. Whilst it is certainly not a voiceless company,  it misses the opportunity to lose the faceless tag and give readers a real insight into how the company ticks.

Go to Dell Blogs

On the other hand Ebay started just one corporate blog with basically the same writer as the voice of the company.

Pros: one central hub for the corporation

Cons: The blog really reads like a press release and news hub rather than entwining that content with some real insight into the workings of the company and some real keyboard action from the powers that be rather than in house staff.

Go to Ebay Blogs

One of the most recognised entrepeneurs and the man behind many successful corporations like Squidoo is Seth Godin.  He has his own blog at http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ I’m sure Seth does his own posts, short and sweet as they are and is a consistent blogger with a pretty uniform marketing message and voice.

Pros: great content simply delivered

Cons: no insight into how this great marketing guy lives his life and no engagement with his readers (even on his Squidoo lenses no comments from Seth).  Maybe he can get with this because of  his prolific ability to publish books but there still lacks something of the “real Seth”.

To me all of these blogs are missing the point of being a corporate blog and the opportunity to truly go deeper into their brand and their companies.

Microblogging

A lot of corporate bloggers rely on in house staff to create their blog posts while they will do a bit of social media every now and again to set the tone of the company.

Is microblogging enough?

I think it’s fair to say that the problem with microblogging is that it is “micro”.   There is only so much that you can say and pass on in 140 characters or less or in a status update. This means that an opportunity to connect on a deeper level could be lost. The additional problem with microblogging is that the archiving system sucks. If you want to keep up with the boardroom blogger you need to search their name on social media and then go through their posts.   You don’t have a central archive facility where you can easily navigage the content. There’s just too much noise before you find the meat

Corporate Blogging Best Practices – Getting the mix right 

A good mix for corporations is using their blog as a hub and archive for their content, with latest tweets, facebook status updates and adding comments for interaction and feedback. This allows the corporation to really focus on the core aspects of the benefits of corporate blogging while using micro blogging for quick engagement with users and lifestyle interactions (also known as …going to the dentist #pain!)

Business blogs – Who does it well?

I wracked my brains to think of a corporate blog that I actually enjoyed reading and fulfilled the criteria set out above.

These guys nail it (and I’m not saying that just because they are fellow Aussies 🙂 )

http://www.shoesofprey.com/

They use:

  • Twitter to engage with their customers and promote their blog posts and quick pics of their latest products
  • You Tube to showcase their products visually informal infomercial style
  • Facebook to engage with their community (and even for hiring)
  • and their blog contains a great mix of  short posts showcasing their products, lifestyle (Mothers Day) and how their business works (hiring staff) …..oh and one of the founders is the voice of the blog – Jodie Fox – no faceless corporation here!

Personality & Style

This company has a ton of personality and style.   They set the tone for their personality by introducing you to their team.    There’s no customer service staff here only staff in charge of Customer Happiness 🙂  Even the title just makes you smile a bit.

What I especially liked about their site was that their medida kit included 30 images that you are free to use in any articles that you write about them (or free to drool as in my case).

What They Could Do Better

  • I would like to see them do some behind the scene style video documentaries for both You Tube and their blog and
  • from a social point of view a few classy bookmarking buttons,  Pinterest  and Google Plus and the integration of facebook comments on their blog would also be good so they can leverage what they already are doing

Additional Eye Candy at Shoes of Prey 

Something to drool over:

http://www.shoesofprey.com/gallery

 

Categories
Blogging internet marketing

Pimping out your blog to increase traffic

Most bloggers at some stage end up monetizing their blog so they can make it pay for itself.

There are a number of ways that you can monetize your blog to name a few:

  • Paid advertising
  • Sponsors
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Zone rental
  • Paid reviews

However, no matter how good your blog is and how great your offers are you need people to visit your site, time and time again to make money.   Not only that, but you need to capture new visitors  all the time to build your blog.

In short, you need TRAFFIC

There’s a multitude of ways that you can get traffic to your site and if you really want to know how to get boatloads of traffic then check out traffic grab (probably the best course I’ve seen on traffic).

But Traffic is only some of the equation because you might get a ton of traffic to your site (and you should if you use all the strategies in Traffic Grab) but they also might leave just as quickly as they came never to return again.

If a visitor lands on your blog it’s your job to keep them there.

Put it another way

It’s Saturday night and you are looking for a great place to eat out.    I’m lucky that I live around the corner from the popular Italian district in Sydney.  Wall to wall italian restaurants and cafes – my idea of heaven.    When I’m looking for a place to eat I might often see a restaurant that’s packed.    Next to it there’s a restaurant and no-one’s there.    So I have a choice do I wait for a table at the busy, exciting restaurant or go to the lonely stepsister next door.      Well, usually, what happens is that when you go to the one next door and pick up the menu and breathe in the atmosphere you walk straight out again.

That’s what your blog is like

You want your menu to be appealing and you want the atmosphere to reflect the nature of the blog.

Here’s some ideas:

Ingredients

First and foremost your food has to be good even great and your blog food is really your content.    Offer your readers something that they want to devour and come back for seconds.     Know from the start what your blog is going to be about, what topics you will be writing about, for what market – and stay on topic.

Decor

Design is important.    Make your blog clear and easy to read and navigate.    Put yourself in the mind of a visitor and don’t make your visitor click more than 3 times to take any action.  After all, you don’t want them exhausted before they get to the main meal.

Again, think of  your favorite restaurant.    Does it have graffiti and gaudy advertisements all over it or is it clean and inviting?      Advertisements certainly have their place but if you have so many ads on your blog that it is hard to see where the content is and it looks like graffiti then you have gone too far (and if they glitter or sparkle and your blog is not for an 80’s themed nightclub then you have gone too far!)

Tweak the Typography

Fonts are important too.    You want a font that displays well in all web browsers and computers and you need to be consistent with your typography.    You can achieve a great looking blog if you have a simple easy to read font for your titles and a similar one for your content.     If your fonts are a multitude of designs and colors and light up like an 80’s disco then you have probably gone too far.

Clean Colors

Color is so influential about the way we think and respond.    Take some time to choose colors that reflect your niche and spend some time testing complimentary color schemes that do not clash.     If you feel a migraine coming on looking at the site you need to remove some colors.  Personally, I think that content should be displayed on a white background with a black/dark grey font.    That’s just me 🙂

Content is King

If you make the content, that beautiful meal you have prepared for your visitor, difficult to read (think white on a black background) they won’t return.

If you have great slabs of text with nothing in between then you make it difficult to read.  Think of adding life to your content by breaking up your text with sub headlines, bullet points, images, videos and audio.

Stick around for the long haul

If you don’t update your site regularly your visitors will think that your shop is shut.    There will be no reason for them to come back to your site and check out your new stuff.   They’ll just move on to the place down the street.  Have a schedule and stick to it.

Ask Your Readers

It’s easy nowadays to find out what content and what design your readers want – you just ask them.

Put a survey on your blog – stick to one topic at a time and ask your readers what they want you to write about, what they are interested in and then give them what they want. You can make this fun as well by turning it into a contest and giving out a prize.   If you submit your contest to the contest sites you’ll also find a new source of traffic as well.

By the way

If you buy Traffic Grab v 1 through my affiliate link email me for this great bonus.

[box type="info"]Traffic Grab v 2 @2012 has now been released and this bonus is no longer available.[/box]
Categories
Blogging Plugins

Spread the word using a WordPress podcast plugin

I wrote in my book WordPress for Internet Marketers and WP Quick Cash years ago about using free WordPress podcasting plugins to get traffic and links to your site.

What is a podcast?

According to Wikipedia a podcast is:

[quote]a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common vernacular due to the fame of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.[/quote]

How do you create a podcast?

You can easily create a podcast by reading one of your blog posts and recording it using free software like Audacity.  Once you have made your recording upload it to your server and use a podcasting plugin to embed your podcast in your post and automatically submit it to Itunes.

Simply upload your podcast (using the WordPress media dashboard) and take note of the url of your podcast.    Don’t select the option to insert the podcast in the post because we are using a podcast player.

If you scroll to the bottom of your post you will see an option to insert the url of your podcast.  Once your url has been inserted you will see further options that you can configure.  When you have finished configuring just click the button to send to the editor.

Why create a podcast?

Creating a podcast serves a number of useful purposes.

  • it appeals to those who prefer to listen/watch rather than read your blog posts
  • you can submit the podcast to podcast directories for additional traffic
  • podcast submissions can bring extra link love to your site

I’m lazy this seems like hard work!

Yes it is a little bit of extra work but if you want to produce a quality result for your visitors then it’s probably worth spending an extra 10 minutes or so on your blog post.

However, if you are super lazy 🙂  you don’t actually need to create the podcast yourself.    You can rely on WordPress automation to do it for you.

Text to Speech plugins

There are a number of  free WordPress plugins that convert text to speech

Nvoice
Odiogo
Cast My blog
Voz Me

I also recently tested this paid WordPress podcasting plugin but, at this stage, I prefer the ones listed above.
What about submitting it to podcasting directories?

The first one that you should be submitting to is itunes.    Take an extra 5 minutes to add a cool logo to your podcast to make it more interesting for Itunes browsers. The free podcasting player listed above will automatically submit your podcasts to itunes.

Then you can use a free service like PodSubmitter to submit to 55 other directories.

Where’s your podcast Leanne?

It’s right here below 🙂

[podcast]http://www.wpqueen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/wordpress_podcasting_plugins.mp3[/podcast]

Enjoy

Categories
Blogging Plugins

Lock it up and keep ’em out

No-one wants their blog to be hacked but sadly these things can happen.

A new plugin has just been released a new WordPress security plugin that has a ton of features:

  • Enforces strong password policies
  • Monitors login attempts
  • Blocks IP addresses on failed login attempts
  • Gives you control to manually unblock IP addresses if required
  • Allows  you to forcibly log out all users immediately and require that they all change their passwords before logging back in (useful if hacker is logged in)
  • Allows you to  forcibly log out idle users after a predetermined period

Enforces Strong Password Policies

  • Define which types of characters must be used in passwords (this is to force you and your users to have better security)
  • Define the minimum required password length
  • Define how long a password is valid before it must be changed (great if you are outsourcing/freelancing work on your blog)
  • Prevent users from reusing the same passwords repeatedly
  • Prevent users from choosing common passwords from a database of more than 3100 common passwords

Emergency Lock Down

Login Lock provides an emergency “panic button” that, when used, immediately logs out all users, resets all user passwords to a random value, and sends each user an email message informing them that they must change their password before logging back in to your site.

Download this wordpress security plugin from the WordPress repository.

There are more things that you can do to secure your blog (see WP Lockdown) for more information on that.

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Blogging

Video Blogging – Fun or Fizzle?

What is Video Blogging?

Video blogging or Vlogging is a blog based on video rather than the traditional article format (like this one).   There are many ways that visitors like to digest information text, images and videos.    Most Vlogs consist of a talking head film style.   This means that a person is filming themselves when vlogging.

Why Vlog?

Video blogging is just one way that you can communicate with your niche.   You’ll find that almost every niche out there could have a video blog.    A quick peek at the categories on You Tube shows just how many broad areas there are where a vlog might appeal to your audience.

Because of the nature of a vlog you might find it easier for your niche to get to know you, like you and trust you.

Advantages of Vlogging

If short videos that are popular in your niche (hint:  have a look at You Tube for popular videos in your niche) can create a viral effect.     People often like to share videos that they have enjoyed with their friends and this can quickly build up your fan base.

You can start with very little money.   In fact, if you don’t have a blog you could just set up a You Tube Channel for your vlog posts.

You can leech traffic by uploading short videos to popular video sharing sites like You Tube and then directing viewers to your blog for the extended version of the video.

Videos can be quick and easy to make – simply shoot, render and upload.     There’s no need to be Stephen Spielberg!

It’s an opportunity to really put yourself in your niche’s lounge room and let people connect with the real you (messy hair and everything!)

Disadvantages of Vlogging

Usually, you will have to make sure that your hair is brushed and that you don’t have something stuck between your teeth!

You may be segmenting your market ie not all people in your niche may want to watch videos.    If you do not provide transcripts or powerpoint presentations of your vlog posts you may risk losing some of  your market.

Stuff happens.   The dog barks during a crucial part of your vlog post or the smoke alarm goes off.    This means that you will have to edit the video if you want to have a professional finish.   Editing takes time 🙁

The other problem with videos is that they often take a long time to upload.    Depending on your internet service provider it could take minutes or hours.    In addition, videos are generally bigger than a standard blog post so they will take up more room on your server.

A common complaint with videos is that they take a long time to load up.     Do your visitors a favour and use AS3 for faster loading time.

Finally, you may not have any video blogging equipment (although if you have a smart phone with a stand you could use that) so you may have an up front cost to get started.

If you do decide to start video blogging then remember:

  • use proper seo techniques on each of your video posts
  • create a video sitemap
  • label your videos with the keyphrase you wish to rank for
  • provide video in mobile ready format

Lately, I’ve been enjoying visiting Rachel Rofe’s blog.    She is doing a 30 day Vlogging Challenge.    If you are interested in vlogging stop by her site and pick up some tips.