Saturday, September 13, 2008
Blogging lesson for the Peanut Gallery
Web 2.0 is upon us faster and more furious than you can imagine. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then suffice it to say it's the next generation of the internet, and it's here and now and its BIG. The proliferation of social networking (like Facebook, MySpace), blogs, ebooks and podcasts and the use of video on the internet is all a part of it. Even the term 'viral' (how fast things spread on the internet) is a part of Web 2.0.
(Speaking of Facebook, if you haven't already done so, come be my "friend")!
I joined this internet "revolution" this year with three blogs (but I only really maintain two now), several social networking pages, and an eBook on the way. And today I was interviewed by an indoor cycling podcast for an upcoming issue (more on that soon so you can listen to it when it's completed). And yes, I have lofty goals with my blogs.
For my cycling in Europe blog, the goal is to drive traffic to my bike tour website. This indoor cycling blog also partially serves that same purpose and I've gotten quite a few inquiries from readers around the world, which is pretty cool. :-)
My goal for Funhogspins is to be the #1 blog on the internet for indoor cycling. And that means having a high ranking with Google and Yahoo. A big goal, and you can help me out if you're willing.
But it seems I need to teach you guys, my readers, how to help me out...
One word: comment, comment, comment!
I have to admit, getting you guys to leave comments is like pulling teeth! I don't think it's because you're not interested in the content, but perhaps you either don't know how, or don't realize the significance, or think it's more time consuming than it is. I get plenty of emails from people who love what they're reading, and for that I'm very grateful. But if it's not too much trouble, please leave a comment as well.
Why? There are many reasons: to get feedback from a wide-variety of instructors, to ask questions and so I can answer them and so everyone can benefit from them, to get your input, to find out if the content makes sense or is helpful or isn't helpful, to tell others about your experiences (as in my Moving Mountains ride), approval, disapproval, suggesting content, etc. And some people have left me great music suggestions, which helps you all out too.
But there's another reason. It's so you can help me with my SEO.
No, that's not an STD. It means Search Engine Optimization, and basically it means making it so Google and Yahoo and other search engines find my blog first, and so I end up in the top 3 when someone does a search (on say, 'Spinning profiles' or 'indoor cycling'). With good SEO, blogs often show up with a higher ranking than many websites. The search engines index all the material on the web, and rank the most 'optimized' ones at the top of the page. There are many ways to improve SEO, which I'm still learning about, things such as keywords in post titles, tags, repeating the post title in the text body, underlining and bolding, video, pings, linkbacks, etc.
But the best way is to have lots of new content (which means posting often) and to have lots of comments. You see, Google looks at comments as new content, so the more the better.
Heck, some of the political blogs get many hundreds of comments! I look at other blogs, like Fatcyclist and BikesnobNYC and they get dozens, sometimes even a hundred comments per post. Now, I know I shouldn't compare myself to the two top cycling blogs on the internet...I have a long way to go (and besides, theirs aren't really "how to" blogs). But, I wonder - they had humble beginnings at one point. Did they have to teach their readers how to comment? I betcha they did in some way.
So, if you like something I posted, if it helped you out, if it confuses you and you need clarification, or even if you just want to say "cool!", any comment is appreciated. It doesn't have to be long. And disagreeing with me is ok too. Though all comments are moderated, I welcome difference of opinions. (Mean things I'll delete if it ever got to that point, because it's my prerogative, but dissension is fine. Here, BikesnobNYC talks about people who have left mean comments on his blog).
Another interesting thing about search engines and blogs is that each post is like its own URL. It's called a "permalink". If you click on the title of the post, the permalink will appear in your browser as its own web page, and then you can send that particular link to someone, even if it was written years ago. This also means that any comment on any post, no matter when it was written, will help with that page's SEO. For example, if someone types in "Strength Profile", my profiles tagged with Strength Profile that have lots of comments are more likely to get a high ranking. So if you go back, and find a profile you like that I posted months ago, feel free to leave a comment. I'll still see it, and so will anyone looking at that profile.
One last thing. Links also a very helpful for improving SEO. Do you have a blog or a webpage? If so, is there anyway to post a link on your site? If it's applicable of course - if your blog is about gardening or cooking, it may not be applicable (although profiles are like recipes, n'est ce pas)? If you have a blog that's mostly about IDC, I'd be happy to post a link here.
So, you can help me out by being a noisy, chatty peanut gallery and help me become 'viral'!
Just don't throw tomatoes...