A client was puzzled because her business was tanking but it seemed like everyone was reading her blogs. She was getting a lot of comments encouraging her to keep up the good work and telling her how valuable her insights were.
Why weren’t those happy readers calling her for her services?
Sad to say, when I looked at her blog I discovered that it was mostly a spam magnet. She was getting phony comments from automated programs who were carefully linking back to their own site. Her blog was being used as a way to deceive Google into thinking that the spammers had a popular web site of their own.
If you’re running a blog, you need two tools:
- A spam application that catches suspicious comments and holds them for your approval before publishing them
- A comment mechanism that instructs Google not to follow links in comments.
The first tool is essential. This blog uses a spam filter that catches 100’s of attempts by automated bots to link back to their site.
The second tool is now industry standard for blogging programs like WordPress. It makes your blog less attractive to smart spammers by robbing them of the Google boost IF any of their spammy comments should get through. This precaution may make you feel better should the anti-spam program slip up and allow a malicious comment to be published. However, it generally doesn’t lessen the amount of spam on your blog because most spammers use a shotgun approach and don’t investigate to see if their spam is really going to help them.
Your blog can be helpful to your business and your reputation. Blogging is fun, too!
However, practice safe blogging. It’ll help you collect realistic statistics, and by robbing spammers of their links you’ll be doing your part to fight slimy Internet practices.
I’m being interviewed for a podcast this week about easy and inexpensive social media actions small businesses can take. Stuff like Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, etc.
I’m starting my outline and have some initial ideas of what social media can do:
1. Put your name in front of potential clients/your clients.
2. Create “buzz” for your business. If you catch eyes on social media, others will do your marketing for you!
3. Make you an expert. When you post authoritative articles, people will come to your blog for information and they’ll come to you for expert services.
4. Create more incoming links to your website. No human may read your blog, but Google will. Google will treat social media links as evidence that your site is popular and that it should show up higher in search results.
5. Use a new advertising channel. Social media ads have the promise of being targeted at people who are already looking for services like yours and who are in your physical neighborhood.
6. Create an illusion of success and recreate your business’ personality.
What info do you want to hear about? What tips should I pass on?
Comment here, shoot me an email, or even break down and give me a call at (415) 347-6479.
Are you an accountant, lawyer, doctor, or other professional who is starting a blog?
My highest educated professional clients are the hardest to get set up successfully with a blog.
Probably because they know how to write proper English sentences and paragraphs. Their high school English teacher’s admonitions never leave their consciousness, and every sentence has to be a perfectly-crafted, grammatically correct masterpiece. They’re great traditional writers!
The result of their Herculean labor generally is a block of gray-looking text which no self-respecting Internet surfer is going to read. The written insights may be both brilliant and helpful, but the pearls of wisdom just aren’t going to be read. The author hasn’t caught on to the unwritten rules of blogging.
Here’s what I tell my clients to do:
- Approach blogging like you were writing a magazine ad not like you were writing an essay.
- Go for short, visually easy to absorb bits of information.
- Limit your post to <400 words or so.
Shorter is okay. Longer is a waste of your time, because Internet visitors have no attention span. Your 2000-word blog post that reveals the cure for cancer starting at word 650 is not going to earn you the Nobel Prize. No one will have read that far.
- Use bullets.
- Use graphics.
- Use white space.
The blogosphere is an electronic elevator you get into and have to convince your fellow passengers to hire you in the time it takes for you to reach the ground floor. Your posts need to be pithy, catchy elevator speeches. If you have long and intricate how-to instructions, link to them from your blog so the folks really interested can get the details while the average surface-surfing blog reader will remain impressed with how intelligent and witty you sound.
It’s okay to think of your Internet readers as selfish beautiful people at a cocktail party. They’ll talk with you as long as you’re helping them and being quick about it. Even if you have a fantastic story.