The TypePad tool has enabled me to develop two very successful web logs, Marketing Tom and Mad About Madrid. So I thought that I would do some promotion for them and recommend that you go and take up their 'buy one, get one free' offer. They also have some great subsription rates, too.
The other day someone left a comment on one of my articles asking whether I thought it a good idea to hire a blogger to promote the benefits of a company. Apparently, a company called Inkspress has paid Jeremy Wright, a prolific blogger, $3350 to develop a blog for them and to write between 5-10 articles a week (over 3 months). It looks like Mr Wright had auctioned his talents off at eBay: Blogger for Hire - Start or Improve Your Blog. On further inspection I noticed that quite a few people were auctioning their blogging services on eBay.
Here's what Darren Barefoot, another blogger, has to say on his auction, Rent a Blogger - Online Marketing and Technology Expert
What do you get for winning the auction?
? If you don't have a weblog, I'll set one up for you. See below for my qualifications.
? Three months worth of blogging, with a minimum of five posts a week. These posts will typically include company news and events, tips and tricks about products and services, industry news and opinion pieces.
? Consulting services on blogging and, more importantly, monitoring the blogosphere. Learn who's talking about your company, and respond appropriately to what they're saying. I'm able to begin blogging as soon as you're ready. Feel free to email me with questions regarding the offered services or any other aspect of this auction.
In reply to the question, yes, I do think it a good idea to hire someone with expert knowledge of blogging to put the foundations in place for the development of a blog. Developing a blog can take a lot of time and effort and it's a good idea to ask soemone who's been there before how to do it.
However, in both the above examples the people will only be in place for a finite period of time and it will then be down to the company itself to take over the reins. In order for a blog to work it has to be able to produce content that resonates with the target audience and it needs to be updated quite frequently. It will be interesting to see how the bloggers get on outside their field of expertise and, as importantly, to visit the respective blogs once they have 'left the building'.
In an article entitled Crazy like a Firefox, Rebecca Lieb says that the Firefox web browser realy is, "a kick-ass browser. It's light, stable, and almost infinitely customizable." Incidentally, it's free and its beta was only launched on Tuesday (9th November). Firefox also appears to be the most successful viral marketing campaign ever on the Internet, generating since Tuesday 1 million downloads per day!!; got 100,000 websites to display banners and buttons and, through the Firefox community raised $250,000 to get an full-page advert in the New York Times.
Looking on the Spread Firefox website I saw some of the tools that they are using to generate such publicity:
In order to build community with college students, Firefox decided to "put out a call for a volunteer to lead a massive grassroots marketing effort targeted at college students." After an overwhelming amount of applications they decided to appoint 6 people.
Here's an interesting article on Google Adwords from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch. Entitled Google Lays Out Content Guidelines, it discusses Google's decision to publish its content policy. The company has been much criticised in the past for not letting advertisers know the reasons why their ads have been rejected. This will hopefully answer the critics. You can find Google's content policy on their website: Content Policy and you may be interested in Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines, too.
This page is well worth looking at to give you an idea of where search engine results come from. I wrote an article last year which mentioned this chart (Which are the main search engines?) but the page seems to have been updated using Flash in the interim - it is much more effective. The map indicates whether the results a search engine sends/receives are primary, secondary, directory or paid results. A pdf version can also be found on this site.
If you're looking for advice on how to maximise the effectiveness of your Google Adwords campaign, then you will find this PDF from the Google team - The Maximum Effect - very useful. Google has compiled a 41-page document offering the best tips on Google Adwords after having studied thousands of Adwords campaigns. Here's a taste of what can be found within it:
Chapter 1 – Setting Goals
Chapter 2 – Selecting Keywords (A four-step process)
Chapter 3 – Developing Ads
Chapter 5 – Tracking Results
Chapter 6 – Optimizing Again
An essential guide for those new to Adwords and an interesting read for those who already have experience with Adwords.
Google Adwords - useful tutorials
Yesterday, I received a "domain expiration notice" from a company called Domain Registry Services, based in Cambridge, UK. This company is not the registrar of my domain name yet they were asking me to send them £60 to renew the domain name. Here is the tone of the letter:
"The domain name shown above is due to expire. Please renew this domain immediately to ensure service continues uninterrupted. If payment is not made to the registry before the expiry date the domain is subject to immediate suspension and deletion without further notice from us."
Wow! Isn't this illegal?
I wrote a similar article about a company called Domain Name Registry of America: Beware! - Scam from 'Domain Name Registry of America' in April of this year. Keep an eye out for these organisations make sure to let your friends and colleagues know about them.
How many of your pages are listed on Google? Not sure? Then try this:
domain_name+site:www.domain_name.com [.co.uk, whatever]
It can make sobering reading finding out how many, or few, of your web pages have been indexed by the biggest search engine. Recently, whilst checking the site of a new client, I found that only 1 of the many pages had been listed on Google. The web developer had decided to turn the main navigation bar into an image map and Google had been unable to navigate (and index) any further pages. If you're unsure of whether Google has indexed a particular page, simply go to Google and type in the URL for the page you wish to know about. If it is indexed, Google will display its page title and a link to the site.
For any pages that are not listed, you have to help Google find its way to them. In the case of the client above the recommendation was to come up with a plain text navigation bar; have hyperlinks at the bottom of the page and ensure that internal keyword links can be found throughout the site.
Remember, sometimes Google may have cached (indexed) and old page of your website and, again, you will need to help Google re-spider this page. You can view the page Google has cached for your site by typing in its URL into Google and clicking the cached button. Here, you can see that Google spidered the page on the 7th September.
A week ago I put up an article entitled Search Engine Optimization in Action. In it I mentioned that I had had problems getting some pages of Marketing Tom listed on Google with their correct page titles. To give you an example, this page: Search Engine Optimisation - Don't Forget Design! had following page title - https://www.marketingtom.com/2004/04/search_engine_o.html, that is the URL was listed as the page title. As page titles are such key elements in search engine indexing, this page stood little, if no, chance of being found.
In order to remedy this I did three things:
1. I wrote an article about the subject.
2. I created keyword links to the article, the page title of the destination page also used the same keywords.
3. I added a new section to this site called 'Recently Posts' which obviously included the article I published. This was important in that Google added the article/page to its index much quicker.
The result was that the article, Search Engine Optimization in Action, was created on the 27th July and it was added to the Google index on August 3rd. The problem articles were all re-spidered at the same time. It is worth noting that Google did spider the home page and article within 2 days of publishing but the individual URL for the article took a couple more days to index. It now means that I have 6 more optimized pages through which people can enter my site.