Build “Near Me” Search

Smartphones link to all kinds of local information. Terms like “near me” “closest” and “nearby” are rapidly growing into the most popular search terms

Source: Build Your Business with “Near Me” Search

Not all of us have a brick and mortar business to apply a physical address to for this “near me” search idea. However, it can still work for you and your site.

Consider your content as a resource. First, the topic. It may be a physical object like electronics, fashion, etc. Or, an idea, hobby, like collecting stamps, help for hoarders, etc. The “near me” plan will still work for your site, and you.

Think about the resource you can build for readers who want local content and resources. Not just location but topic too. What other relevant or related topics could people be searching for in your niche?

If your site is about an idea or hobby find all the local resources and list them. Local to you is the easiest and most relevant list you can make. Not only can you find resources via Google search but you can talk to people in the community and find resources Google hasn’t found or not available online.

If you are writing about fashion, electronics or another niche topic you can also build up a list of resources for local search/ readers. Promote your resource as location based. Even if you just make it a page on your site, or a post, rather than turning your site into a local resource – you can still catch the “near me” searchers – and give them what they are looking for.

The End of News Sites?

The rise of syndicated content hosted on social platforms is a disruptive model that will get more user eyeballs on the content, but spells commercial suicide for established media brands, says Andrew Pemberton, director, Furthr.

Source: ‘Homeless media’ will make media companies like Buzzfeed homeless | Marketing Magazine

Seems this is working for generic/ general or miscellaneous content feeds.

I think there is still value in building a niche feed. Something geared to a hobby, personal interest or a personality site with a combination of linked interests. The big sites can’t do that, they’re too big and inclusive. A niche site has the exclusive focus you want to find when you are looking for ideas and information on something specific. The rest are glorified news readers, just more available now.

Bookmarks are Reader Testimonials

You can hear the nay-sayers when it comes to web bookmarks and blogrolls. Not everything from the old, retro Internet has become obsolete.

Source: Modern SEO: The end of social bookmarking websites – BloggingConsult

But… are they right? Is keeping a list of your favourite links, the links you still visit to actually read, a bad idea? I don’t think so.

Of course, I try not to blog for SEO and Google in general. The very idea of doing all of this for a mindless machine is unappealing. Even if I don’t have many readers, or get feedback in comments or make fame and fortune through my sites… at least I’m doing something I really care about, my own way.

Back to the bookmarks!

People used to work at getting links from other sites. There were link exchanges, web rings and assorted other plans and schemes. Now Google put the scare into most people… duplicated content, too many links. etc. Google scares people because they want to be scared. In fact, Google works for us, the readers of blogs. Google wants us to find good content because then Google can sell more ads based on the people using Google and finding what they were looking for.

If we each keep a list of sites were really do like and find useful, we help our readers and we even help Google.

Each bookmark and blogroll link is a testimonial, a recommendation, from readers (real people, not machines).

I still look for a list of resources and links when I visit other sites. Isn’t that the point of visiting a niche site especially? You want to find information, resources and new ideas. Other resources are important.

Even if you have found a niche topic and you are the only resource there are still sideline resources, like supplies, maintenance and so on. Sidelines are great opportunities for you to run affiliate links for Amazon (for example) products/ books/ etc which you don’t offer yourself. Sidelines are a way to show readers you really know what you are writing about too. You can offer a complete package to readers of your site and keep them on your site by giving them all the information they need. Google will like you for it too.

Don’t think you can’t link to your competition either. You show confidence in doing so. Plus, you make yourself part of that group of well done, successful and popular sites in your topic or niche. Send a note to the other sites. Do not ask for a link exchange, be smart and offer them something they need: content and ideas. Interview them and post it to your site. Guest post (but make sure you have a great idea they really will want).

You can build your authority and readership with bookmarks and by having people bookmark you in return. But, the best are those who do it because they want to, not those done as an automated link exchange or some kind of deal about linking back.

Sincere recommendations and testimonials are the word of mouth you want people to hear. Blogrolls and bookmarks are not dead.

How to Really Get People Interested in Following You

It’s not about tricks, fooling people and just getting high numbers of followers. You need real people, actually interested in following you and paying some attention to what you post, sell and care about.

These following tips will work well for you in any social media and site writing. Take some time to make an impression rather than looking for short cuts which don’t get you far.

Do Your Research

First, find your niche. Build your blog around a topic that you are passionate about. Next, design your blog with a theme that suits its purpose. Peruse the many themes available from Tumblr to give your blog an attractive design (see Resources). Post content on your blog on a semi-regular schedule to attract new eyes and keep your followers engaged. Finally, follow other blogs that cover topics similar to yours and follow back those who follow you.

Create a Buzz

The most successful Tumblr blogs are those that create a genuine buzz, and the most organic way to create a buzz, and gain lots of Tumblr followers a result, is simply to create a quality product. Tumblr is loosely organized around categories such as Food, Fashion, Beauty, Art, Culture and so on; check the Tumblr Spotlight page (link in Resources) to see how blogs are organized by content and review some of them to see successful blogs in action.

Interact

Tumblr is a social network more than just a bunch of blogs, and interacting with others helps you get followed. You can interact with other Tumblr users in several ways: you can “like” posts by clicking the heart icon for each post; you can reblog posts, which is a tribute to the original author and the originating post is cited in a reblog; if replies are enabled for a post, you can leave a short comment; if a blog has an Ask page, you can send the blog owner questions and comments from this page; lastly, you can message a blog you follow using Fan Mail.

Source: Tricks to Make Tumblr Users Follow You | The Classroom | Synonym

Why Have a Membership Site?

I’ve been thinking of ways to keep my domains active, other than using them as blogs. Keeping a blog is time consuming, every day. I’d like to have a few sites active as blogs (those I can sustain reasonably) and find some other use for the rest. A complimentary use would be smarter than spinning off in another direction.

So, membership sites came up as an idea. Not only could I find another way to use the domains/ sites but they could manage to pull in some money which would make the whole thing a little self sufficient.

However, what sort of membership content would work for me and what would people find useful? This is where I am in my planning. I did find a post which had me thinking…

I’m going to share two different ideas for members only content. The first, value content, appeals to your audience from a learning and business perspective, while the second, insider content, appeals to your audience from a more curious angle. Either approach can be effective. Ideally you find a way to use them both.

Value content is content that will help your readers make money or do something they’re really interested in. It’s especially useful and relevant to your readers.

Insider content gives your audience some insight into you and your work routine or life. Humans are naturally curious and interested in people we admire. Entire TV shows and magazines are dedicated to documenting celebrity life.

Source: 3 membership site ideas

I’m not sold on Members only content. Yes, it likely works for many people. But, it also makes more to keep track of and organize for the site owner. I’d need to schedule more content. Content in addition to my regular posts. Likely, longer posts which would take more time to write. Considering I want to work my way back to daily posting, this type of content is not sustainable for me.

Instead a membership could be for use of a discussion forum which the site owner moderates or live content/ chats. The live chat, podcasts and etc. could be kept available as archives (when the content is a month old, not so fresh that a membership has no real value) for your site readers. But, members get the time spent with you to ask questions, get feedback, etc.

There is also the ebook or newsletter. I’d consider an ebook, but keeping it fairly short. I’m not at all keen on the newsletter idea. I really don’t think anyone still reads those. I don’t.

Of these ideas the discussion forum seems the most sustainable for me. But, is it useful enough for people to want a membership?

Photography Replaces Writing

photograh

This was my Twitter post today. What do you think? Will written content lose it’s place to photography? I think it already has.

Most people want to get news and information in seconds. The image with a story, is the story. Writers post images to illustrate the story, or a point in the story, or just to add something visual. Photographers, capture the story in an image. Of course, the image can’t give all the information. However, people see the image and decide they know the entire story.

They might read photo’s caption, if there is one. They might read at the headline, once or twice. Headlines are easy to find in the content, easy to read too.

Headlines and subtitles can give some detail but they weren’t written to tell the whole story. These days the snippets of written content might be all anyone reads to form their opinion and decide what the writer/ journalist was communicating.

The Internet is changing how we read, how we gather information and how we evaluate what we find. Details get missed. Assumptions are made and stuck with religiously. Kind of like the Emperor’s Clothes. If everyone says so it must be true. We don’t have time to gather facts and come up with our own opinion. It’s easier to take up the popular opinion and defend it as truth because if it’s wrong… we might look stupid.

So much is changing. Writers need to become photographers or image makers if they want their content skimmed/ read at all.

LiveJournal Wants to Get Noticed Again

livejournal1Do you know LiveJournal? Do you remember the early years, before weblogs (blogs), when they were called online journals or diaries? LiveJournal started out then. It wasn’t the only one. Not much is left from the online journal days. Not many of the sites are still around, few of the networks lasted this long. Blogs became the new thing and online journals just didn’t endure as it became popular to splog rather than write something personal.

Ironic that the splogging has devolved and the personal touch is now considered marketable.

There are still WordPress plugins for LiveJournal crossposting and importing within WordPress. But, there are only three, not a lot of selection but they have all been updated in 2014. Not a lot of dust collecting on them so far.

I like LiveJournal. Not just because we have a history together, though I’ve been forgetting to check in very much. LiveJournal has staying power. LiveJournal has new features and wants to pick up and grow again. Instead of falling into the easy path of marketing to users of their site they want to get inventive, try something new, a different approach to making money while providing a web service people will actually come back to use.

Not many people online now will remember the days of sending virtual gifts. You can do that on LiveJournal, inside the community there. Sure you can easily send anyone an image file through email, but there is something nice about a gift you picked out, paid a bit for and then sent along. A gift with intentions rather than just a gift out of impulse. I think we are lacking that now that things are all so fast and easy online.

But, that is a small thing at LiveJournal. What I especially like this the LiveJournal bookmarketlet. It’s the LiveJournal version of WordPress PressThis. Just as you can use PressThis to post to your blog from your web browser and now add links, images and commentary – you can do the same with LiveJournal. Better than Blogger which has not been updated in too long. LiveJournal has all the features I look for in a bookmarklet for content curating. It is a really good option for posting content from other sites, as a content curator.

ljbookmarklet ljbookmarklet1

The Mystery WordPress Plugin

I like plugin shopping on WordPress. You never know what you will find. I don’t upload many of the plugins I find. I do test out several out of curiousity. But, I have to think I have at least some way to use them, in the practical sense.

When I found this one today… I didn’t understand how it could be practical. Unless it’s intended for content scrapers who want to re-word stolen content. But, that doesn’t seem likely. Not very practical for someone looking for short cuts.

Anyway, what does this plugin do? Any good guesses? I didn’t upload it to try it out on my site. It’s old and even the plugin developer had nothing more to add about it on his/ her site. unique content pluginSource: WordPress › My Unique Content « WordPress Plugins

Gopher Proxy

Gopher was a competitor of the early World Wide Web, differing in its simpler, more structured interface. The flexibility of HTML led to the World Wide Web eclipsing Gopher, and today few people are aware that Gopher even existed. Gopher has not, however, entirely vanished, and over one hundred Gopher servers still provide access to more than a million content items. Unfortunately the number of modern web browsers with support for Gopher is dwindling, potentially rendering all of this content inaccessible.

Gopher Proxy allows Gopher content to be viewed in any web browser, by converting Gopher content into web pages as you request it. With Gopher Proxy you can browse Gopher exactly as you would browse the World Wide Web. To start, enter an address in the address bar and click on the green arrow, or enter some words in the search bar and click on the magnifying glass.

gopher proxy

via Gopher Proxy – browse Gopher content through your web browser.

It’s been a long time since I came across something using Gopher. Good that it can still be viewed/ adapted for viewing. A lot of Internet history would be found in older Gopher content.

What Happened to the Canadian Blog Awards?

Seems like both the Canadian Blog Awards sites have finished in 2014.

Canadain blog awards gone

I hope both of these sites are saved in the Internet Archives.

Have we gone beyond the blog? Is that why the blog awards fizzled out? No one seems to have offered to take over as the Awards closed or faded out. I think blogging is the culprit, more than the Internet. Blogs aren’t built or kept the way they used to be. So blog awards can’t be created that way either. It’s the age of the application, the mobile web. I’m not an expert (don’t even want a cell phone) but I think it’s a shame to see Canadians on the web lose a resource like the blog awards.

What do you think?

Has blogging become out dated? How do you use the Internet these days? Do you even have a site?

 

Categories and Judging Criteria for those interested in what the awards were about:

  • Best Art, Crafts, Cooking and Other Creative Activities Blogs
  • Best Political Blog
  • Best Collaborative/Multi-Author Blogs
  • Best Family Blog
  • Best Food and Drink Blog
  • Best Funny Blog
  • Best GLBT Blog
  • Best Health Blog
  • Best Law Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best New Blog
  • Best Pet Blog
  • Best Personal Blog
  • Best Pop Culture Blog
  • Best Personal Life Blog
  • Best Blog Post
  • Best Religion and Philosophy Blog
  • Best Science and Technology Blog
  • Best Sports Blog
  • Best Travel and Expat Blog

 

  • Activism & Social Justice / Activisme et la justice sociale
  • Agriculture & Nature / Agriculture et nature
  • Art & Crafting / Art et artisanat
  • Arts & Entertainment / Arts et spectacles
  • Business & Career / Affaires et carrières
  • Education / Éducation
  • Family & Parenting / Famille et parentalité
  • Fashion & Design / Mode et design
  • Food & Drink / Cuisine et breuvages
  • French Language / En française
  • Green Living / La vie écologique
  • Group Weblog / Blogue collectif
  • Health & Wellness / Santé et bien-être
  • Humour / Humour
  • LGBTQ / LGBTQ
  • Life / La vie
  • Lifetime Achievement Award / Prix pour l’ensemble des réalisations
  • Placeblog / Blog sur lieu
  • Politics / Politique
  • Religion & Spirituality / Religion et spiritualité
  • Science & Technology / Science et technologie
  • Sponsored & Product Review Blogs / Sponsorisé et compte rendu des produits
  • Sports & Recreation / Sports et loisirs
  • Topical / Topique
  • Travel / Voyage
  • Writing & Literature / Écriture et littérature

The jury uses a number system to value the criteria and weight their decisions. The weblogs in each category will be judged against two divisions of elements: Design and Content. Each division’s elements will be awarded 0 to 2 points — 0 if the element is poorly executed, 1 if the element is average, and 2 if it is excellent — for a possible perfect mark of 20 points.

Design

Usability and accessibility — Is the website user-friendly and easy to navigate for people of all abilities?

Functionality — Do all of its components function properly?

Interactivity — Are a comments section and author contact information available? Are its interactive components (including comments, audio, video, etc.) effective and functional?

Aesthetics — Is the website pleasing to look at? Is its design original?

Content

Originality — Is the content original and creatively expressed?

Intelligibility and clarity — Is the content well-written? Are the content’s messages clearly and effectively delivered?

Currency — Is the content timely? Is the weblog updated on a regular basis?

Transparency and authenticity — Is the author’s purpose and realness both trusted and apparent?

Attention to detail — Has the content been edited for spelling and grammatical errors? Is the content arranged for ease of consumption?

Engagingness — Is the content interesting? Does it contain broad appeal within its genre?

In the second and final round of judging, Category Fit will be added as an extra criterion for an additional score of 0 to 2 points, and weblogs with their own domain name (weblog.com rather than weblog.blogspot.com, for example) will have an additional point added to their final score.