I have just received the 5th comment spam for my blog in just under a week. As you may know this website is built using software from a company called TypePad. Going back a few years bloggers had to constantly check to make sure that spam comments and trackbacks were not being added to their sites. Nowadays, practically every blog will hold comments back before they get on to your website
The Headline TypePad Customers In The News just caught my attention as I was about to open my TypePad account to write another article. The folks over there have come up with a brief list of weblogs that have hit the headlines over the past week.
Here are some good reasons why businesses should blog:
"BusinessWeek highlighted Dover Canyon Winery in an article about small businesses that blog. The article mentions that the winery's "Mail-order sales have almost doubled in the past year, and the blog is an inexpensive way to reach the growing number of online buyers."
LA Times also ran a couple of articles featuring TypePad blogs. One, an article about food blogging (requires login) and how food critics blog their critiques rather than use print publications, includes the TypePad blog Restaurant Girl."
The New York Times ran a story about how small businesses are starting their online presence with blogs rather than Websites. The article includes an interview with Jody DeVere, the president of AskPatty.com, about her TypePad blog of the same name. In the article, DeVere says, “Our blog has been the driving force of our branding effort and become the way we find our readers and our customers.”
It's always good to find new examples which reinforce why businesses should blog.
Over the past few works I have been working with my colleagues at EMCOE (eMarketing Centre of Excellence) to put the finishing touches to the new website. My main responsibility has been the creation of all the content, page titles, headers and links for the site. The site has been built using a WordPress theme and we have used a couple of iStockPhotos for the images. The site only went live about 10 days' or so ago but has already had 11 pages indexed by Google - most of them our 'services pages', though 1 or 2 blog articles have already been picked up.
We like to call the site a 'hybrid blog' - it isn't a standard corporate website simply detailing company information, though neither is it a 'pure blog'. It sits in-between with the home page highlighting recent blog articles and most sub-pages featuring what the organisation has to offer. It was very important for us to build a site which presented information on our services to new, and existing clients - from 4 day courses and workshops to consultancy - whilst also offering Internet Marketing information and resources to those who had used our services.
The really interesting (exciting?) thing is that at this very early stage Google has indexed the site on both its main search engine and on its blog search engine. Doing a search for an article I wrote on the Wales Marketing Innovation Forum on Google displays this listing on page 1:
When you move over to Google's Blog Search, the same search places not the Emcoe home page (www.emcoe.co.uk) but the Emcoe blog article (http://www.emcoe.co.uk/index.php/2007/09/13/wales-marketing-innovation-forum/) number 1 of its blog results for the phrase: Wales Marketing Innovation Forum
The curious thing is that the above article has not even been spidered by Google's main search engine yet!
As many people who visit this site know, this blog is created using the TypePad blogging software. I have long been a fan of TypePad and have built, and helped create, a number of sites using this platform. The company is truly at the forefront of social networking and always comes up with new and innovative additions to make the service even better. From tagging, to simple sidebar add-ons, CAPTCHA technology and easy-to-create html pages they are always pushing the boundaries.
Since the beginning (I think they started in 2004) their technology has allowed bloggers to 'moblog' but now, they've made it even better by creating a TypePad interface for the iPhone. With the advanced technology of the iPhone it looks (I have seen but not touched!) like blogging on a phone couldn't be easier. The screenshots from the TyepPad website look great and the YouTube video demonstration below makes this a must-have product for Christmas for blogging on the move!
Yesterday, like every morning, I was listening to the BBC's Today programme. One article grabbed my attention - it was an interview with Miranda July, filmmaker, performing artist and writer. She disclosed how she was using her blog to generate buzz about her book, No One Belongs Here More Than You. The blog is quite odd in that it is made up of a series of thoughts, written down on the top a fridge (yes, a fridge!) with a felt-tip pen. Miranda said that the site had generated a phenomenal amount of traffic and she was using it as the main PR tool to get publicity out about her book.
Over the past year a number of authors, and their publicity companies, have approached me to review books or to interview their clients. On my other weblog I have even invited some authors to share some inside knowledge on best places to eat, drink and be merry in Madrid - take a look at this article with Candy Lee Laballe and this one with Beverley Fearis for examples. People are obviously taking note of the power, and spread of blogs, and seeing them as important elements in their PR strategies.
It would appear that the trend is that both authors, and business leaders, are becoming far easier to communicate with. They are not so far removed from the rest of us 'mere mortals' as they were some years back. I can identify with this - only the other day I was communicating with a well-known journalist and carrying out a Skype interview with the founder of a leading Web 2.0 company (if you're reading this Phil, the article will go live shortly!).
Last night I received an email from Phil Gillin, whose book the New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media seems to be get some excellent reviews from Web 2.0's leading lights. What was great to see here was not just an invite to review, or the dedicated website, but the following invitation from Phil:
What's your take? Tell me how you see social media affecting the markets you cover and I'll add your comments to a new section on the book website.
Web 2.0 and its tools are certainly changing the way that companies do business and I suppose the key is to identify the most suitable tools to get your message out to your target market.
For about a year now, I have been toying with the idea of improving the page titles on this site and my other site - Mad About Madrid. Well, last month I finally took the plunge and changed page titles across both sites. I work with TypePad Advanced templates and, not being a coder myself, was daunted by the prospect of having to do it myself. I had identified a company that could do it - for a price - but decided to dig a little deeper to find a free solution.
I spend a great deal of time advising clients on how to create well tuned page titles and now thanks to Wal Mart Files I have now managed to change the page titles on individual blog articles, category pages and archives. The process outlined by these guys was idiot-proof and took little time to implement. In the past a blog post would have had a page title like this:
Marketing Tom - Google Adwords Seminars USA
the new page title reads like this:
Google Adwords Seminars USA
This may seem like a small change but just try a Google search for the terms "Google Adwords Seminars of "Google Seminars" and see where this page appears. Google did take a little while to spider most pages on the sites but the effect is still clear - increased traffic. Just to give you an idea of how effective this has been, here are the stats on both Google Analytics and StatCounter for the last 5 month - notice the increase from April.
At the risk of sounding biased (this blog uses their software!), the folks at TypePad are constantly coming up with new widgets and improvements to their software tools which make blogging far easier for users. They always seem to be second-guessing, or should that read interpreting correctly, the needs of their customer base. This time they have come up with a way that you can blog directly from Word (2007) to your Typepad account. Here´s what their Everything TypePad site has to say:
The Word Blogging Tool – included in the new Microsoft Word as part of Microsoft Office 2007 – lets you publish to your blog from inside the familiar Word environment with a single click. TypePad is a default option in Microsoft Word, which makes it simple and straightforward; all you'll need is your username and password. Better yet, the HTML the tool writes to your blog is in a simple, blog-friendly format.
And for those who´ve experienced problems cutting and pasting from Word:
If you’ve ever found yourselves cleaning up complex HTML after copying and pasting from Word, you’ll be sure to appreciate this!
It´s for reasons such as this that Typepad is my preferred blogging tool for my business blogging workshops.
There are some bloggers who really get it, and the guys over at Innocent Drinks really do. If you don't know much about Innocent Drinks, here's what they believe in:
it all sounds a bit Miss World, but we want to leave things a little bit better than we find them. Our strategy for doing so is simple - firstly, only ever make 100% natural products that are 100% good for people. Secondly, procure our ingredients ethically. Thirdly, use ecologically sound packaging materials. Fourthly, reduce and offset our carbon emissions across our entire business system. Fifthly, lead by example at Fruit Towers by doing good things. And finally, give 10% of our profits each year to charities in the countries where our fruit comes from. If you're interested, you can find out a bit more about each below.
I was looking at their site yesterday and came upon the story of how they had been supplied with a goodie bag from Yorkshire Tea purely because they (Yorkshire Tea) had read an article which mentioned that their kitchen was temporarily out of order. I sincerely believe, apart from the obvious marketing kickback for Yorkshire Tea, that people who read the Innocent Drinks' blog feel some sort of affinity to this company and enjoy reading about the staff, their experiences and their products. They are a truly transparent, online company. From the picure in the article it looks like the local bobbies also empathise with them.
According to John Battelle, Google Blog Search has now overtaken Technorati in terms of traffic. Much of it is attributed to a link from Google News to its blog search facility.