Category Archives: Blog Publishing

Why it makes sense to publish your own blog even in the times of social networking

Recently, as you may all know by now, Google decided to shut down its RSS feeds management service Google Reader. For more information you can read Want to save as many RSS subscribers as possible? Before that it also closed down Google Wave which was a rage when it was launched (I remember people were running over each other in order to get an invite). And not just Google, you can find many instances where services closed down because either they didn’t have a revenue model or the couldn’t figure out how to make money out of them.

There are many who claim that since the arrival of social networking and various social media channels blogging is becoming obsolete. Though it is true that fewer and fewer people are blogging, now that they can broadcast their thoughts using Twitter and Facebook, blogging is far from becoming obsolete. But then this post is not about whether blogging is dying or not, it is about why you shouldn’t put all your marketing eggs in the basket of third-party websites and channels.

If you seriously produce content for these services you run the risk of losing all of it, or having to move it to another service in case the present service closes down. Yes, it can also happen with Facebook and Twitter although there is less chance because these services have matured enough and evolved into full-fledged businesses just like (not one of its services, but the main company).

There has been this trend among many people to write intensive articles and opinion posts and then publish them on services like Google Plus, Tumblr, Quora and other such places. There is nothing wrong in participating in conversations and discussions and writing detailed pieces for that, but if you are putting your entire articles and blog posts on these websites, you are benefiting them more than yourself.

Benefits of publishing content on your own blog

Your blog is a platform. Just imagine, if all the effort you have been making producing content for other websites had been made for your own blog you would have had a vibrant platform by now from where you could have not only spread your ideas extremely fast but could have also promoted your business in front of a loyal audience. Content, especially unique, well-written content, is an invaluable asset and it doesn’t make sense to build this asset on another platform.

Targeted content also improves your search engine rankings organically. It makes your website immune to the various algorithmic updates Google keeps on rolling out one after another, decimating business after business. Valuable content on your own blog encourages other people to link directly to your blog or website rather than to your Facebook or Google Plus posts.

Unlike on Google Plus and Facebook, content on your blog has a longer shelf life. Timelines on social networking websites move extremely fast and no matter how valuable information you have shared, if your target audience at that time is not online and on one of these social networking websites, they will miss your message.

The message on your blog on the other hand is always there. You can share the link again and again from your social networking profiles. It appears in your RSS feeds. You can share it with your e-mail subscribers. It is always there.

Do you think it is easier to share content on social networking websites rather than on your own blog? Not at all. Even a very simple blogging tool these days comes with highly evolved publishing features. Aside from text, you can easily post audio and video clips, create image slides and embed all sorts of stuff.

It’s also a misconception that a blog post needs to be more than 400 words. Well, ideally it does you good to have longer blog posts, even if you can manage just 100 words, something is better than nothing. Besides, you can always come back and add more thoughts later on.


Want to save as many RSS subscribers as possible?

Google has decided to shut down Google Reader – the most widely used RSS feeds reader up till now. Many are terming it as an end of an era because the RSS technology took the world of content distribution by storm just a few years ago. The RSS subscriber count used to be something one would flaunt. Blog publishers would proudly display the number of RSS subscribers the blogs enjoyed.

As content distribution rapidly moved on to social networking and social sharing websites and applications, the RSS readers as a dedicated application lost prominence. I don’t even remember when the last time I used Google Reader. I prefer to track my content consumption via Prismatic.

Nonetheless, there are millions of blog readers who use RSS feeds to track their favorite blogs and they will be negatively affected once Google Reader shuts shop. If your readers follow your blog with Google Reader you might lose a big chunk of readership if they fail to migrate their settings (the RSS feeds of the blog they are following) to another feeds management service or an alternative way to follow your blog without obstruction. It must have taken you years of effort to increase your follower count and now suddenly you are on the verge of losing almost all of them. Although you cannot salvage your subscribers 100%, you can take some steps to keep at least some of them with you. Here are a few things you can do:

Educate your blog readers about how they can migrate

Google Reader isn’t the only RSS reader available. Although some people are equating the event to the demise of the RSS technology itself, things are not that bad. There are many browser-based as well as desktop applications that allow you to manage your RSS feed subscriptions. Here are some good RSS readers reviewed by the Forbes publication you can try out. You can find some more reviews on this link.

Prompt them to follow you on Twitter or join your page on Facebook

Very often when you publish your blog post you shared it on your social network and social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. There might be many RSS followers who haven’t yet started following you on social media. This is a good time to give them a polite reminder.

Encourage them to subscribe to your e-mail updates

Nothing can beat e-mail updates. Instead of subscribing to your RSS feeds, encourage your blog readers to subscribe to your e-mail updates. Almost all e-mail marketing services allow you to create e-mail campaigns that extract blog posts routinely from your blog and create automatic updates and broadcast them at set intervals. In fact this might be the best alternative to subscribing to your RSS feeds because you directly control the e-mail IDs of your subscribers and no matter what e-mail service they use, they’re always going to be able to access your updates.

Remind your subscribers multiple times

Google is planning on shutting down the reader on July 1, 2013 so you still have lots of time to remind you subscribers multiple times. Do it at least once a week to maximize the impact.


What is guest blogging?

Guest blogging is one of the best ways of making your content available to a wider audience, getting high-value link-backs for your website and blog, and consequently, increase your search engine rankings. Many people make it an integral part of their overall content marketing and SEO strategy.

There are millions of blogs out there on various themes and niches. If you are a web design company you will be focusing on web design blogs or at least blogs publishing content on related topics. If you’re a fashion designer then you will be looking for a blog talking about fashion or clothes, or accessories.

Guest blogging is writing blog posts for one of these blogs. Some of the blogs are very popular. For instance, Digital Photography School is one of the best-known blogs on photography and there are many professional as well as amateur photographers who aspire to write for this blog.

When your posts are published on one of these well-known and high-traffic blogs, via the resource box (that briefly talks about the author; what’s her name, what she does, link to her website or blog and probably her twitter handle) they also publish your profile. Through this profile people can come to your website if they want to. Guest blogging in such way helps you in following ways:

  • It highlights your content and your abilities in front of a wider audience. Suppose on your own blog you just get 100-300 visitors every day. But on a famous blog your blog post will be read by 10,000-50,000 (even more) readers in a single day.
  • It boosts your search engine rankings. Search engine algorithms, before ranking your website need to know how many genuine blogs and websites are linking back to you. If they link to you it means your website has valuable content and valuable content is what the search engines are looking for. It’s kind of a validation when people link back to you. Since they won’t just link to you they need a reason. One reason might be finding a valuable blog post or an article on your website and then linking to it from within one of their own blog posts or articles. The other reason is, when they publish your article they link back to you through the resource box.
  • It sends direct traffic. Since your link is published along with the guest blog post many people will be clicking the link to check out your website.
  • It sends indirect traffic. If your guest post becomes popular other bloggers and web masters may link to it from their own blog posts and this will send you further traffic.

So this is how guest blogging benefits you. Famous blogger Leo Babauta is known to have garnered 15,000 RSS subscribers for his blog in a single month by publishing his content as a guest blogger on scores of high traffic websites and blogs.


How to bring conversation back to blogging

Today in the afternoon I came across this blog post in which the author asks, “Have conversations left blogging?”

It’s a pertinent question. Blogs are as much about engagement as they are about content. A big reason why blogging flourished was the readers’ ability to participate in the thought process. In some instances a blog post containing just a few paragraphs would attract 100s of comments. In fact there used to be so many comments that plug-ins and widgets were created to paginate the commenting section.

What happened then?

I don’t think much has happened. I don’t agree that it is the end of conversation and engagement in blogging and I don’t believe, as many do, that “blogging craze” is ebbing. Of course with the onset of social media people’s focus has shifted to other, I would say quicker, forms of expression, but people who were seriously blogging a couple of years ago, are still seriously blogging and they still have a serious audience.

Nonetheless, engagement has gone down and that’s because people’s desire to express themselves and to be a part of a community is being taken care of by Facebook and Twitter and other such social networking websites.

But it doesn’t mean that audience cannot be engaged on blogs. Create engaging content. Create content that makes people want to interact with you there and then. Stop publishing the same old topics that you were talking about last year. Even if the topics are same, as I talked in this blog post titled “How to help your business stand out with unique content”, you can always give them a new twist to make people interested in them.

Aside from that you can also focus on plug-ins and add-ons that bring features like Facebook and Twitter right into your blogging. For instance, some blogs like TechCrunch allow their visitors to leave comments using their Facebook accounts rather than having to create separate accounts.

Similarly we can have some applications that can incorporate Twitter interface right into blogging platforms so people can use their Twitter accounts to interact on blogs.

Why there is more conversation on Facebook and Twitter and less on blogs?

First, it’s the audience. If you have 2000 followers on Twitter you know that whenever you post something it is going to be seen by most of your followers. I know this is a misconception but this is the psychology behind the thinking. On a blog on the other hand, people wonder how many are going to see the comment. On the contrary your comments experience more exposure on blogs rather than on Twitter and Facebook.

There is another thing: a big motivation behind leaving comments on various blogs used to be backlinks. When you left comments on other blogs you created backlinks to your own blog and this was known to help your search engine rankings. Then search engines like Google stopped attributing benefits to this exercise and this impacted commenting adversely.

So now even if quantity has decreased the quality of commenting has certainly gone up because people leave comments to add value to the ongoing discussion rather than simply to get a backlink.


You have published a new blog post. Great. But what now?

I can totally relate to the overwhelming sense of achievement when you manage to write a complete blog post and then publish it after fully optimizing it and using the right images. But you know what, this does not ensure good visibility and exposure, whether it is search engines or social media/networking websites.

Once you have a new blog post you need to let the world know about it. Search engine optimizing is one way, of course. If you have a fully optimized blog post the search engines are bound to rank it well once they have indexed it. Is it that simple? With tough competition from legitimate as well as a illegitimate content, you stand little chance getting targeted traffic no matter how great your blog post is.

So what do you do to spread the word around? Many things actually? Some of them are:

  • Fill up all the Seo details like the title tag, description and keywords. By installing the All in One Seo Pack can give you lots of extra power, for instance having a different page title and a different blog headline.
  • Do a keyword analysis. With all the Google Penguin update confusions your confidence might be a bit shaken vis-a-vis using keywords, but they are still important. So make sure you have used the right keywords in your blog post and edit it if need be.
  • Post your new link on Twitter and Facebook (you have Twitter and Facebook accounts, right?)
  • Sort out your syndication. Make sure your XML and RSS feeds are updated.
  • Send an e-mail notification. You should definitely build a mailing list (this is not to be done after publishing the latest blog post – it is an ongoing activity) so that whenever you publish a new blog post you can send an e-mail notification to all your subscribers.

This blog post actually lists 12 things you can do (it’s an older blog post but I just came across it) after publishing your new blog post. You can use the things mentioned in this blog post as a checklist, although you should definitely have your own checklist too.