Monday, July 27, 2009

Break Out Session Two - Getting Noticed

It is very easy to get lost when you are absolutely clueless and lack the map. This was the case for me when I went downstairs at 1:15 to try to Room of Your own: Your Blog is great, get people to know about it. Actually it wasn’t my first choice but I accidentally went to the wrong room trying to learn about the Business of You: Brands and Bloggers. What I found instead was a room that said Microsoft Spa. I signed up to have my make-up done the next day and I scheduled it for right after I had my hair done. I felt like a naughty school girl because it would appear that once again I would be skipping class.

By the time I made it to the Room of Your Own1: Your Blog is Great, Get People to Know About It I was one of about a dozen women standing in the hall straining to listen to the speakers. The acoustics of the room were not meant for the sound to carry into the hall making it difficult at best to hear what was being said.

The snatches of speech I heard were things that my husband had told me about. Things like the need to get someone to link to my site, checking google trends, and to comment on other people’s sites. I left in frustration after about fifteen minutes. Most of the women were either sitting on the floor almost blocking the door or leaning over the women who were on the floor. For a claustrophobic like me it was too much for me to bear.

I felt really bad about not being able to hear what was being said because the sntaches I did catch sounded like things that seemed to be working for these women and I wanted to know more about them. Thank goodness the basic notes for this session can be found here:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips from these ladies:

1. Don't write cute titles, instead use the keywords you think people would search on Google to find your article. For example a piece about a hotel suite should not be called "How Suite It Is" but rather "Best Suite Under $100 in Chicago."

2. Repeat those same keywords from the title in your first paragraph and throughout the article.

3. Helpful Web site for seeing what keywords people are searching for: Google Trends.

4. One of the things that affects your Google page rank is the ratio between outgoing links and incoming links. So if you add a large blogroll, which is great for community building, you might consider either linking to those blogs with "no follow" links (WordPress has a plug-in that allows you to do this, or you can add it to your page html manually by typing rel="nofollow" inside the link code.) Another solution is to create a static page for your blogroll.

5. Since getting links from other blogs improves your importance on Google, use some "link bait." Strategy one is by linking to others generously in your posts. Strategy two is by writing things others are likely to link to, like controversial posts or top 10 lists. For example, Annie's top post ever on PhD in Parenting combines the two tactics: "Cry It Out: 10 Reasons It Is Not For Us."

Social Networking Tips

1. Whether you are using StumbleUpon, Digg, Facebook or Twitter, do NOT only promote your own stuff. Be friendly and engage in the community. Some people advise to never Stumble your own stuff. On Twitter, chat with people, respond to them, retweet their links and Tweet about their blogs, IN ADDITION TO tweeting about your own posts.

2. It's OK to tweet about every post you write, as long as you engage in the community in other ways. Some people never go directly to blogs or use their blog readers -- they ONLY follow links on Twitter so if you don't tweet your own posts these people will not read read your blog.

3. Do you HAVE to follow everyone who follows you on Twitter, or follow a number of people close to your number of followers? Not all the panelists feel you must. Annie says she stopped following all followers when she got to a number that was as much as she could handle reading (she has 2800 followers and follows about half as many). She only follows people who chat with her and engage her. But Jessica says she still follows every single person who follows her even though she has 22,000 followers.

I found another HP room where you could upload video and photos on the new HP computers. Funny enough we actually have three of these computers. That’s because I won them last Christmas from a blog giveaway. I tried asking the people running the room some questions about my HP computer but they really had no clue how to help me. You see my laptop had crashed earlier this year and every since then I haven’t been able to use my picture drive. I’m not sure why that is but when I asked if they could help me figure out why it wasn’t working they said I’d have to buy a backup disk of some sort. This of course would erase my ITunes and my Microsoft Office.

The clock says 3:00 so I decide to pack it up and call it a day. Tomorrow I will behave better and more responsibly. Tomorrow I will go to all the sessions I tell myself. Then in the very next thought I remind myself that I have a hair and make-up appointment. In a world where once again I am the sole breadwinner of the household I feel special and pampered. It’s not to say that my husband doesn’t do nice things for me but these are things that I’d dare not spend our money on because it wouldn’t be the responsible thing to do. For the past couple of days I have not had to act responsible. In away it almost seems like my last opportunity to run away from being not just a grown up but from being mature. Do you remember people telling you to act more mature? Did you want to appear mature? It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

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