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...


Shannon said...


Jonnie said...

Hi Jen,
I am happy to comment and help you because you have helped me immensely because you are so share so much information and are available and open. I have turned many instructors onto your site. I think the reason for so few comments is that it is confusing what choice to pick under Google/Blogger identity after you make a comment. What is Open vs Name/URL vs anonymous?

john said...

Here's my contribution to your SEO efforts. I typing this as a listen to the edited version our interview for the Indoor Cycle Instructor Podcast! You sound great! I hope to have it posted by the end of next week! Don't forget to send me your picture :)

Kyra said...

Hey Jen,
Since I read your blog often, I promise I'll comment more.
I really appreciate all the information you give us!

lamspin said...

Hi Jennifer,
I open your site daily. Will try to leave a comment each time. I have been talking about you to my "spinners" since I came back from CFP conference that how great you are as a presenter, and now as a mentor to me--through learning from your expertise. Many thanks.

epicPLANET said...

You are "right on" with your overview of SEO - I deal with that type of stuff all the time with my Marketing Communications business. You can count on a "linkback" from in the near future.

Your determination and energy are inspiring!

Keep those dispatches coming!


Jennifer Sage said...

Thanks so much everyone! I appreciate all your help and kind words.

Jonnie, yes, it can get confusing. I remember the first time I left a comment on a Blogger blog, I didn't know which one to select. But once I had my own account, my name automatically appeared under Google/Blogger identity. So this option is for those with a Google account and/or a "Blogger" blog (such as this one on Blogspot).

I wish they would make it easier to understand for the non-blogging or non-techie people out there!

OpenID has to do with those who have blogs on other platforms besides Google/Blogger, such as Wordpress, if they want their own blogs to be linked to (which is after-all, one of the ultimate goals of leaving comments for many bloggers, because it is a way to promote their own).

Name/URL is the best identity to select for those without blogs - just leave your name. And if you have a URL (your website that you want to promote) you can enter that. It's optional.

Anonymous is another option for those who don't care for their names to appear.

When I ultimately change platforms to a "self-hosted" blog (in the next month or two) it will be easier to leave comments.



Anonymous said...

hey Jennifer,

Thank you for all your IDC perspectives. I wish you all
the best with your Tour this
summer and your blog and whatever
else you decide to dive into :)

You are and have alwasys been
an inspiration; keep 'em coming!

Your peanut gallery,
- d

heartvic said...

SOE? OSE? SEO? of those "non-techie people" for shure! but most important, a BIG FAN OF YOURS JEN!!!!! I´ve learned SOOOOO MUCH from you at the forums and at your blog ...your passion, knowlegde, experience but also, your humbleness and commitment to educating everyone never stops to amazes me... so what if you brag about your bike? I´ll do the same!!!! I´ll post more often too!!!! smiling,