Archive for December, 2007

Business Blogs Worth Reading & Commenting On

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

I’m a big fan of reading and commenting on other blogs as a way to network online with an eye toward building readership for your own blog. While blogs on technology and politics abound, it’s tough to find good business blogs; especially ones with a large enough readership to expect that your target audiences might actually be reading them.

It’s been my experience that the best place to find business blogs is not the blog directories but the websites of major newspapers and magazines. It makes sense. We’ve all heard the stories about how circulation numbers are down. I can’t think of a better way to stay relevant. Not only are newspapers and magazines finding and reporting the news, they are using blogs to enable readers to create more content by participating in the process.

So, with this in mind, I’ve started compiling the following list of good business blogs my coaching and consulting clients can reasonably hope their target audiences are reading.

Got a recommendation? Let me know! I’d be glad to add it to the Squidoo Lens I’m creating on business blogs.

NY Times: Floyd Norris – Notions on High and Low Finance
http://norris.blogs.nytimes.com/

International Herald Tribune: Daniel Altman – Managing Globalization
http://blogs.iht.com/tribtalk/business/globalization/

The Big Picture
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

White Collar Crime Blog
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/

Washington Post – Small Business blog
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/small-business/

Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up
http://jeffmatthewsisnotmakingthisup.blogspot.com/
One of the few blogs I’ve read where every post is great!

Shifting Careers
http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/

Entrepreneur Magazine Blog
http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/index.html

Fast Company Blog
http://blog.fastcompany.com/
(Be sure to peruse their extensive blog roll.)

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Tips for Writing an Informational eBook

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

I’m helping a long time client create an ebook about writing a business and marketing plan for the new year. She has a treasure trove of stuff she’s written on the topics of business planning, marketing planning and face-to-face networking over the last ten years. So you’d think it would be easy to just throw it all together into an ebook, right? Nope. Just because you have a bunch of great content, doesn’t mean it’s ready to become an ebook. Here’s why:

Throwing things together when cooking can be brilliance. In ebooks, it’s garbage.
Every good article, white paper or report was written with a specific goal, call to action, publication and target market. Although there might have been common themes, each article had its own unique recipe of factors. So just because each original document was brilliant doesn’t mean the combined effect will be brilliant. Start by pulling together all the material you want to include but plan to do some major rewriting. Other wise it won’t make sense, it will sound disjointed and you will annoy your reader.

Before you edit, answer these questions:

  • Who is this book for?
  • What problem does this ebook address?
  • What will the reader have or know when they are done with this ebook?
  • What steps am I asking them to take? (Be specific!)
  • Why am I asking them to take these steps?
  • Do I have the steps in the right order?
  • Are they getting their money’s worth?

You need an editor.
If you’re a good writer and editor, you might be able to get away with writing the whole thing by yourself. If you’re writing it by yourself to save money, you’re wasting your time and you won’t save money. You will write a bad ebook that won’t sell. You’d be better off doing client work.

When it comes to formatting your ebook, just pay somebody.
Unless you or your assistant has spent ten years learning the ins-and-outs of formatting long documents for digital publication and has an amazing eye for detail, you will wind up very pissed off. Many times over. Why punish yourself? Just pay someone who knows what they’re doing. You might wind up paying them $50 an hour for 5 hours ($250) which is cheaper than paying your $15 an hour assistant for three days worth of work ($360) and it’s still screwed up and she’s ready to quit from frustration and she’s done nothing else in those three days… You get the idea. Just cough up the money.

P.S. Not only can I edit and format ebooks, I can set up the payment process on your website and help you creatively sell/market your ebook. Just hire me. We’ll all be a lot happier.

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Keywords in Page Names. How Much Do They Really Help?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

In a recent issue of High Rankings Advisor, Jill Whelan answered a question from a reader who was worried about potential ramifications from changing the page names of his company website. He was changing them so they would include keywords in the name in the expectation that keywords in the URL’s would improve the website’s rankings.

(For those of you new to search engine optimization, DO NOT change the page names of your website without consulting a professional. It is not a decision to take lightly. It would be the same as if you changed your phone number on a whim and didn’t tell anyone. That would make it tough for clients and prospects to find you wouldn’t it?)

In Jill’s reply she cautioned the reader against it for several reasons most of which boiled down to her belief that the perceived benefits of keywords in page names were actually due to other factors that got ascribed to the new page names. I think the most valid point she makes is that although web pages in the top of the search results often have key words in the page name, someone is intentionally trying to get that page to rank well and are probably doing many things to improve its rankings.

Now I’m not entirely sure I agree with her but Jill is a well respected expert in SEO so I definitely have to give her opinion a lot of credence. One thing I did learn from the post was that if you’re going to use keywords in your page names, separate them with hyphens instead of underscores. Rats. I’ve been using underscores. I think they make the page name easier to read but apparently Google doesn’t read an underscore as a word separator but they do with hyphens. Oh well, what Google wants, Google gets.

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I Love It When People Say Nice Things About Me!

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

If you’ve read my artilce about Google Alerts, you know that I’ve got alerts set up for my name and business name. A few days ago I got an alert directing me to Tom Pick’s Web Market Central blog. His post was about the Top 100 Social Media & Social Networking Blogs for 2007 according to VirtualHosting.com’s blog. Although mine didn’t make the list, Tom was kind enough to suggest that maybe it should have.

Thanks Tom. Right back at’cha!

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Stuff I Found when I Should Have Been Working

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

The Newbiew Guide to Social Networking – This is a good primer on social networking. It does a good job describing how to find niche social networks and things to consider when setting up your account.

The Blogger’s Guide to SEO – I don’t agree with everything they say in this guide (sucha s telling you not to use a service like Blogger) but it does give you good info for how to think of your blog from an SEO perspective.

SEO Digger – With this SEO tool you can find out for which keywords your site ranks high enough to be in Google Top 20. You can analyze your own sites as well as sites of your competition. The only problem is that you can’t tell it which key words to search for.

Tips for Using Digg – I’m doing reserach for an article on social media and came across this video on SEOmoz. I had to watch it several times to understand the points Matt makes but it’s worth the effort.

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