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Archive for the ‘Creating an internet identity’ Category

Having a blogroll on your business blog is very important for a number of reasons. A blogroll is a list of blogs that you read, are in a similar industry to, or are associated with, E.G. clients, distributors, colleagues, B2B (Business to business) connections etc. Blogrolls act as a signpost for site visitors, letting them know what internet content you think is worthwhile, as well as which online communities you partake in.

Blogrolls create links:

In terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), blogrolls link outwards to other sites, so they can be very useful for obtaining valuable incoming links, obtained when other blogs link to your website on their own. This can be done as a form of reciprocity, or the other party may actually be interested in what you have to say because of your common interests. Incoming links are seen as ‘gold’ by Google and the other search engines, because they infer yours is a blog that people are interested in, or whose content people value.

Creating your blogroll from scratch:

You’ve created your blog, but you aren’t linked to anyone, except possibly to other blog articles within your own blog posts. If you’ve ever quoted someone else in the same industry, or linked to his or her business blog because it was relevant to your article, this is the best place to start your blogroll.

Click on the ‘links’ category in your blog’s dashboard and add the URL address of said website. Then put in the title of the blog, as this is what people will actually see on your site. You have the option of writing a short description of the blog, so when people roll their mouse’s cursor over the blog’s name, your summary will be shown and they’ll know what to expect even before clicking.

Don't misspell 'blogroll', or you may find yourself looking through a 'bog roll'.

Don’t misspell ‘blogroll’, or you may find yourself looking through a ‘bog roll’.

Sourcing more blogs to link to:

You may now have a few blogs on your list, but you can be sure there are some great writers out there sharing their wisdom in your business sphere of which you are unaware. Find them and link to them. Use Google and search for very popular words in your field of work.

For example, if you are an optometrist, you would search for terms like ‘near sightedness’, ‘contact lenses’, or of course ‘optometry’. The links with the highest page ranking related to these terms are usually those sites that are most prolific in the field. They write about the topic on a regular basis, and the quality of their content is high. These are blogs you want to link to, and to read, as the more informed you are, the better your own blog articles will be.

Note: Emulating these successful blogs and websites is the key to achieving a high search engine page ranking. It’s no secret good content posted on a regular basis leads to more eyes on your website’s pages.

Use social media networks to find related blog sites

You’ve done your Google searches, you’ve listed businesses you are associated with, now it’s time to use social media to find more quality blogs to read and list in your blogroll. If you join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and if your blog is using WordPress or Blogspot, you’ve got an array of portals into the blogging world.

All of these social networking platforms (and more) have search functions just like Google that analyse the content of all its associated websites. Search for your industry’s most used phrases and you’ll definitely come across more sources of quality information and opinion.

Creating more business opportunities:

The more depth and variation your blogroll has, the greater chance you have of becoming part of an online community, having a voice in each social network, raising awareness of your brand, and communicating with others leading to business opportunities.

Direct business relationships occur when a potential client or customer communicates after finding you, while indirect business opportunities arise when your blog and its associated articles achieve high page rankings in search engines. If you have a lot of good content, your article links will be those chosen by random people searching for someone in your chosen market.

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When you are adding a photo, video, diagram, cartoon etc. to your business website or company blog, you need to add text to the file. The main reason for this is simple: this text lets search engine algorithms assess what the image is, so you can use the photo to help increase your page ranking for specific search terms.

Also, some computing devices may have images disabled, and this text gives the user an idea of what the photo they cannot see is of. Lastly, a caption can make the image more interesting or fun, or even explain the meaning if it’s not easily identifiable within the article’s context.

Meta Title:

This is simply a name you give to the image as a whole. Meta titles for website pages come up at the top of the browser, but meta titles for images just let the search engine ‘spiders’ know exactly what the photo or video is about. You should use SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) keywords here if you can, but make sure you stick to explaining only what the image is.

Alternative Text:

People who for whatever reason have images disabled on their computer will still be able to see this text. People often disable specific types of media in order to keep their computer running as quickly as possible, or when they are on a notoriously slow broadband internet connection speed. Some very old computers also have trouble ‘seeing’ certain files.

Having ‘Alt Text’ ensures these users know what type of visual information they are missing out on. This is another chance to sew valuable SEO keywords into the back-end of your website, but again make sure you don’t stray from the truth when explaining the image.

Meta Keywords:

Here’s your first opportunity to list as many SEO keywords related to the image as you can. In this instance, it’s perfectly fine to go on tangents and add terms you know people are searching for in relation to your business, as well as the exact words describing the media file.

For example, you may have a photo of a small ladybeetle sitting on a green bush, but the reason you have chosen the photo is to express the importance of creating an identity that stands out online. Someone else may use a similar image to describe his or her gardening business. You would list keywords like ‘brand identity’ and ‘unique online presence’, and not just ‘ladybeetle’.

This little ladybeetle is showing the importance of standing out and making an impression online.

No matter how small your business is, you can stand out and make an impression online.

Caption:

This is usually the most enjoyable text to write for an uploaded image or video file. You can be creative, as often the meaning you wish to convey from the image is totally different from the normal context of the content. You are welcome to use keywords here too (as people can actually see this text), but the main idea is to make the caption interesting.

Meta Description:

Another form of text that readers cannot visually see, these terms and phrases are a great opportunity to use a wide range of related SEO keywords for the algorithms to crawl through. Write about what the image file is, what it means, how it relates to your business, and what your business does. Be very descriptive!

Remember, slapping an awesome photo or video onto your website or blog can excite viewers, but if there’s no text attached, the image will not affect your search engine page ranking at all. A picture speaks a thousand words…but not in terms of quantitative SEO keyword value.

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If your blogging experience is anything like mine has been, you might also be saying to yourself, ‘How do I really get to meet other bloggers of like-mind who have similar interests? I have found it to be pretty hard searching for blog topics using keywords at Google. The answer to this challenge may come down to an age-old process practiced for millennia: networking. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is what my parents always said when it came to business or finding employment. Now I’m learning that it’s the same in the Blogosphere.

I have come across many well-written blogs in my travels. However, quite a large percentage of them remain relatively hidden under the radar, unknown to most of humanity. When blogging, it’s such a great feeling to know that people are reading your thoughts and ideas. It’s even better when they leave comments hoping to start a dialogue. After participating in these ‘relationships’ it can be quite disheartening to have to go through ‘quiet’ periods with little (if any) interaction. So, how do we find people who write about similar topics? From my recent experiences I’d have to say that this desired networking is being done at blogging communities or blogrings, of which I’ve written about previously: ‘Xanga Blogrings: An attempt to find others like you.

Though I wrote about these communities a while back, I thought I’d still try and make it on my own. I’ve spent a lot of timing searching for bloggers to relate with, not to mention commenting at other blogs to try and start ‘blog friendships’. It’s been hard. Just like real life, you can’t make someone want to know you. There has to be a point of connection; a reason why you feel like sharing each other’s space. You have to feel like you’re on the same ‘wavelength’. Recently I had a chat with a friend who said that he’d recently joined a blogging community of sorts called Zaadz. I checked out his new site and then did some research on how these communities work. It’s pretty cool and I really think that this has to be one of the main ways in which bloggers are ‘meeting’ each other on the Internet.

At Zaadz, you have to create a profile of yourself. There are several categories including Interests, Heroes, Teachers, Books, Music, and Movies in which you fill out. Your answers automatically become hyper-links. Let’s say that I put one of my interests as being ‘meditation’. After the word ‘meditation’ has become a hyperlink, when I click on it, it will take me to a page of ‘Zaadsters’ photographs who all listed ‘meditation’ as an interest. There you go: It’s an automatic connection. You already know that you have at least one common interest with a whole group of people. Cool. There’s also an awesome photo facility on Zaadz. Check it out, and check out the Zaadz philosophy on their Home page as well as the ‘thinkarete.themanifesto’ written by the site’s CEO, both of which contain inspiring ideas that make this community look worthy.

Recently I was sent an email from someone asking me to join the blogging community at Blogmemes. A while back I joined a website called Mybloglog, but I’d completely forgotten about it. It seems (I assume) that this blogger found my profile there (which has a cool little picture of MiContent on it) when searching for keywords relating to their interests. All I had to do was click on the link in my email and I was part of the community. Unbeknownst to me, Mybloglog has thousands of blogging communities within its one site.

Today I went to my Mybloglog profile after doing a little searching around yesterday of bloggers that I was told had visited my blog, one of which had called themselves an ‘admirer’. Interesting. Today it seems that one of the bloggers I visited called BlogBloke has added me to his community at Techbloke. I don’t think I joined of my own volition. This could be a problem…shouldn’t I be the one to choose who I want to relate to? There’s also a means to ask others to be friends or contacts. If someone whose writing you like also likes your writing/content, they’ll agree to make a connection. I like this reciprocal approach.

This all seems pretty great but I have noticed that some people are part of hundreds of communities, let alone being friends with thousands of individual bloggers. This causes some suspicion on my behalf. What are the intentions of these ‘ultra-networkers’? It’s hard enough having a handful of friends in reality. I seriously doubt that anyone has time to consistently read thousands of blogs. Could this be a case of blog gold-digging or social-climbing? I’d like to communicate with a lot of people about subjects that interest me, but I don’t think I can relate to that many people. Then again, I can talk to just about any type of person when I ride the train.

Jesse S. Somer is going to go deeper into the Blogosphere by joining in blogging communities. Human beings are social creatures. Why did I ever think that my writing alone would create relationships?

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Recently, I stumbled upon ‘Post of the week’ as we all do on our blogging travels. That is, we stumble around endlessly searching for good writing. For that’s what this blogging journey is, isn’t it? We traverse through the ‘human mind ether’ searching for people’s words on the screen; people’s words that hopefully will connect with our own way of seeing the world. Where you go, you never know, and the kinds of people you’re relating to, you’ve really no idea – except for one tiny aspect of their personality which for some strange reason you believe you can relate to. I read some weird blogs on occasion, but I don’t judge them…It’s just so interesting to see how many different ways human beings interact with their mind-borne realities. ‘Post of the Week’ is a very new venture that intends to highlight great writing out in the Blogosphere by bloggers that otherwise mightn’t be getting much recognition.

So far there’s been three winners (one per week), and I was able to access two of the posts…that’s the thing with the Internet and technology – it doesn’t always work for us now does it? Still, it’s in its infancy…the blogosphere needs to be toilet-trained. Both posts I read were quite powerful forms of online writing. I can’t say that they’re the type of reading that I usually search out for, but they were enlightening nonetheless. At dervala.net the author wrote a post called ‘Against depression’ that gave some real insight into what having the disease of depression is like. There were some interesting links throughout the narrative, one of which went to a summary of a book about depression in Japan called, ‘Shutting out the Sun’ by Michael Zielenziger that caught my eye, as I’m quite interested in Japanese culture.

The other winning post I read came from the Overnight Editor, and was called ‘The 000-999 of London’. It’s a down and dirty social-realism genre/stream of consciousness look into a contemporary life that is led by chemicals/alcohol into multiple parallel universes of London. It’s interesting stuff.

I think this kind of site will grow a lot and be a really good place to find out about great blog writing, as its mission is to do just that. It’s making me realise that many more bloggers are indeed actually ‘real’ writers (But what is a real writer?), and that we could be on the cusp of a whole new way of interaction in our world. Through writing, we are meeting others, sharing opinions and ideas, and probably most importantly, inspiring each other’s creativity by expressing what we have to say in a style all our own, and by seeing the magic of how other people put words on their own ‘page’. The Blogosphere is an actual place (Not virtual!) where our collective social consciousness is being fed by each and every individual mind that chooses to participate in discussion.

Could the future ‘classic’ writers be the bloggers of today?

Jesse S. Somer wonders how many bloggers also aspire to be considered ‘writers’.

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Do we really need to hear the voices of every single human being? If everyone gets a blog, is that such a good thing? These are a couple questions that have come up in discussion in recent times on this blog, and I feel it’s about time we get to the bottom of it. If everybody’s spending their time writing a blog, will there be anyone left to read them? Why do you want to write or read blogs anyway? If you’re writing for readers or comments/interaction, will your writing become obsolete and lost in a sea of human voices crying out to be heard? What kind of voices are we going to hear?

Going deeper, how many people do you meet that you don’t really relate to, or even get along with? The answer is ‘a lot’! Why do you think most people only have a small group of human beings they call their closest friends, all others automatically thrown into categories like housemates, colleagues, team mates, acquaintances, and associates? We don’t like all people. Well, it’s not that we don’t like all people – but we don’t understand or comprehend many of the behaviours that others exhibit. As soon as someone else shows a certain trait that grates against our belief system, we decide that we’d rather not spend as much time being around them. So, what about blogging? Does this mean the Internet is going to become an endless quagmire of people we don’t relate to getting clicked on and visited when we do Google searches on any specific topic?

Everyone’s a writer now. Great! Smell my sarcasm. How many books are already at the bookstore? Do we really need more writers spilling their guts into the pot of human communication? When you go to a bookstore how often do you walk around looking at authors you’ve never heard of, or writers who write about subjects you’ve no interest in at all? All the time, and sometimes you walk out of that shop with nothing. You’ve found nothing worth reading…in a bookstore! So what happens when we get every brain on the planet trying to tell us a story? Chaos! Can you imagine looking for blogs about motorcycles for instance? How many freaking blogs are you going to have to go through to get the type of blog you like to read? By the time you get there, you’ve got no energy left to read…that is of course if you ever get there.

You wanted to know about old German motorcycle engine cylinders, all you found were pictures of scantily-clad women on Harley Davidson choppers with photos of mean-looking tattoo beast-men staring at you through your monitor, daring you to come near their bike or woman. It all sounds like a pain in the buttocks to me. I thought blogging would give a voice to the minorities and individuals of the world. It sounds like if they ever did finally get a blog, no one would be able to find it for the forest of ‘Average Joe’ blogs pervading the Blogosphere. I don’t want to have to read about people’s everyday lives…you might?

In the days before writing, most wisdom was passed down orally by elders who had lived long lives, and because they were sensible they held high positions in the tribe. Younger people didn’t bother speaking much, especially at important ceremonies – they wouldn’t know what to say anyway! Those were stories worth hearing. How many stories expressed by people we don’t really relate with and who don’t really have much knowledge about anything are we going to have to wade through to get through to the worthy information? Sounds like a world with too many bloggers, too many writers, too many voices and not enough readers or time to relate with anyone.

Just as a dog isn’t allowed to crap in the park, humans shouldn’t be allowed to talk bullshit in the Blogosphere.

Jesse S. Somer isn’t jive talkin’. He’s tellin’ it the way it is.

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I’m feeling just a little bit weird right now. Yes, I know, I’ve always been a little bit weird, but today in particular I’m feeling exceptionally strange. Why, you ask? Of course, it’s because of a blog. I’ve just spent the last few hours being totally sucked in by Ze Frank at his blog. This is definitely not an ordinary blog. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a blog constructed in this way. Oh man, it’s a super-strange place from a funked-up mind, but an intelligent mind nonetheless. Besides the written post aspect that usually accompanies blogs, there are a whole bunch of sections linking to other ‘work’ (a very happily debateable term for what he does I’m sure). He’s a busy guy. There’s a ‘Games’ section where you can play at being a Buddhist , Christian, or Atheist. Check them out, quite amusing to say in the least. There’s also a link to ‘The Show’, Ze Frank’s videoblog, which he updates 5 days a week-but he’s not just talking into a camera. There’s some real creativity going on here-music, film, and documentary being just a few aspects of his repertoire.

Ok, when it comes down to it, Ze is a master wordsmith who excels in the new sphere of the videoblog in an unparalleled fashion. If you want to know what the man is like, how he thinks, and how he relates to the world, you only need to have a quick view of some of his ‘popular shows’. I’ve spent some time going back through the video archives and there’s hardly a moment when I’m not astounded by his maniacal, yet coherent, and precise humour. Although Frank does spend a lot of time analysing American politics (not one of my favourite or passionate subjects) he disseminates ‘newsworthy’ information in such a way as to shed a quirky, ethereal, yet slightly pungent light on his chosen topics. In essence, he parodies or satirically evaluates general information that any one of us could find in the local paper, thus giving him a huge amount of information and an incredibly broad field of subject matter to cover, yet he can make a rotten pear taste as fresh as a pack of newly opened cigarettes.

The blog’s front page has different sections of content available under the category titles ‘Stuff Stuff’, ‘Educational Videos’ (I haven’t checked these out yet, but I anticipate trouble for the children of the future), ‘Participate’, ‘Interactive Toys’ (Oh God, these are pretty silly. Check out the one called ‘The Frog’), ‘Mini Things’, ‘Stuff to Read’, ‘Games’ (It looks like he actually created these.), ‘Stuff to Watch’, and ‘Other Stuff’. Hmmm…stuff. He then separates the page into 7 areas. One blank white space says, ‘this is the space where you imagine beautiful things. Each time you come here, try to imagine new shapes and colours. Then tell all of your friends how beautiful this part of the page is.’ Another space says, ‘I’m not sure what goes here yet, maybe a flower?’ You get my drift…the guy’s either missing some screws, or he’s got a couple extra bolts in the cerebellum department.

If you go to his actual blog link from his main site it’s called ‘Miss(ed) Manners’ and after posting ‘What I did over Christmas Vacation’ he became one of the hottest blogs on WordPress. So what did he do over the holiday period? He, his younger siblings, and his girlfriend, built a scale replica of the battle of ‘Helm’s Deep’ from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ ‘Two Towers’ novel, the second instalment in J.R.R Tolkein’s famous trilogy. Why is this so significant? It was built out of candy! Freak! No, I’m just jealous.

Ze Frank’s got a ‘thing’ for ducks. The one on the left looks genuinely amazed and friendly, while the duck on the right seems a little bit mischievous, don’t you think?

This posse of ducks definitely knows the cool part of town to hang out. Don’t mess with Ze’s friends. They too don’t put up with ‘small talk’ from the mouths of politicians or soapbox evangelists.

Jesse S. Somer went to Ze Frank’s blog and ‘The Show’ videoblog. He’ll never be the same.

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You may have caught this astounding story of Internet romance/superstardom/comedy at Wired Magazine’s blog recently in a post called, ‘Love Train: It was a fairy-tale romance, a very nerdy fairy-tale romance.’ Please, you must have a read of this. What blows me away (besides the multi-million dollar repercussions of writing one post at a community blogging/forum site) is how Train Man’s discussions online about what to do in terms of asking the ‘pretty girl’ out became a social/community venture for so many people online.

In listening to his fellow bloggers/forum participants’ advice (‘Get enough sleep, cut your nose hair, have breath mints, charge your cell phone, brush your teeth, take enough money, take a shower, and – in case of an emergency – wash your penis properly.’(Yeah, don’t forget that one buddy…) we can see a new form of human relationship taking place.

‘Remember: She’s only one girl. You have all 2Channel (The Japanese website) on your side!’ People are now putting faith in the opinions of fellow bloggers/humans that they’ve never met. So much so it seems, that we are now asking others-once deemed as ‘strangers’, for advice in the most personal arenas of life. Plus of course, people are generously offering their help and advice. (We aim to please, us humans.)

Amongst all the ensuing commercial chaos around this ‘Geek Love Story’, we are told that a book of the blogging forum’s threads has already sold over 1 million copies. I know Japanese people are a little bit different (not to be judgmental in any way), but could this be a trend for the future of all literature? Popular blogs transformed into books, posts becoming paper pages…Isn’t it strange how technology can flip back in on itself?

Would you read a book of made up of your favorite blog’s archive of posts? Or, can you imagine reading a beloved author’s next novel-online one post at a time? The online serial novel is born! Hmmm…It makes you think.

Could this be ‘Train Man’s future? Or is marriage too big a step for this comic-reading, anime-watching ‘Otaku’?

Jesse S. Somer didn’t meet his girlfriend on a train…it was at a Juice Bar. She made the most incredible Berry Blast Soy Smoothie you could ever imagine.

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