Relying on Dead Accounts for a Subscriber Base

We rely on dead accounts. Dead or dud accounts should be clutter but they aren’t really. Instead they add to our numbers, and we like numbers as statistics we can see and measure. But, they aren’t all that reliable, or honest.

Twitter followers, Facebook friends, mailing list and newsletter subscribers… if you had to audit your subscriber list would you have even a quarter of those subscribers? A quarter was actually being nice. It is far more likely your subscribers and followers would reduce down to a very small fraction of those currently on your list. But, web publishers don’t yet have to face subscriber audits. I worked in the circulation department of a magazine, a print magazine. Audits were a reality there. Print magazines have to verify their subscriber lists, the people on them have to be real and currently getting the magazine. Advertisers really like having that kind of data when they consider spending their money.

So far the web is different, generally.

As a web publisher are you satisfied with that?

Do you care how many of your followers, friends and subscribers are actually real people (and maybe reading your newsletter too)? You don’t have to care. You can just ignore the whole thing. It’s nice to say you have thousands of subscribers rather than audit it down to a handful.

About once a year I take an axe to my Twitter account. I’m not ruthless about it. I leave some accounts which don’t look very active and probably don’t really care what I’m posting, or if I’m posting. But, I do set limits. It’s a Twitter audit where I only have to please myself.

  • I stop following accounts which have not had a post in a year.
  • I stop following an assortment of accounts which never followed me back. This is not a petty thing – I just don’t see the point in trying to reach out to someone who doesn’t want to listen to me. (Many of those who don’t follow back are just follow-me-back accounts who love having big numbers of followers but long ago deleted you from their own list of followed accounts).
  • I also delete accounts which have nothing to say. If the last half dozen or so posts are all re-posted links… I don’t want to follow an automated account.

I know I still have a lot of accounts which are dud and dead accounts in some way. But, I leave them because it is nice to have some numbers. I’m not immune to that game.

I don’t run a newsletter because I know just how fast I can build a subscriber base – of bots, spammers and dud accounts. Thanks for nothing. I miss running a newsletter. I had a few over the years online. My best was called InkSplatters, for writers.

If you had to audit your followers and subscribers how would it go? Could you be brave and do it or is it just too nice to go along and pretend all those numbers are real?

Some day you may have to prove them. I don’t think digital media will be left to make claims of thousands of subscribers they don’t really have for much longer. At least not sites which want advertisers to pay them for their space.

Reverse Guest Blogging

Have you tried asking people to write for your site, as contributors (free/ contributed writers)? It’s complicated. We don’t feel good about asking for free content. But, there are good reasons to write for another site, even if you aren’t paid in dollars, or cents.

  • Building contacts
  • Becoming an authority
  • Attracting new readers

If you write for another site (as contributed content) make sure you get an author profile with links to your own sites and a little write up about who you are and what you do.

If you want to find writers for your site make sure you set the terms clearly. Don’t leave them expecting to be paid and hope they won’t notice or make an issue out of it. Tell them about your site and your readers. Interest them in what you do. Talk about your future goals but keep it short until they ask for more information. When you request a guest/ contributed post from them think about how you would like to be approached yourself and be sincere.

How Does Reverse Guest Blogging Work?

To make reverse guest blogging work for you, you’re going to need a plan. There are essentially three steps:

Figure out what you want out of a guest contributor. How often do you want them to contribute? Is there a particular subject you want discussed? Who is going to be in charge of managing this relationship?

Make a list of all the authors you may want to feature. After you make a list, consider doing a few searches to find other writes who you aren’t familiar with.

Go out and try to connect with those authors and talk with them about this opportunity.

If you can’t get the authors you had originally wanted, don’t get discouraged. Figure out who they are connected with (possibly other writers on that blog) and do your outreach there to try and make yourself known.

After all, it’s important that you and your blog are something the author knows as much as it is the other way around.

via Reverse Guest Blogging Will be Huge in 2014: How it Works.

The Best Contact Page

As an editor/ site reviewer at dmoz I’ve seen a lot of sites. Today I found what may be my favourite ever contact page on a site. Here is the screenshot. Notice how simple it is to know where they are located. I like the city name as a header before each physical address too. Even if there were only one location, it sets it off very nicely. I like the map, big and easily read. Plain, simple and tidy – really nice.

Above this is the header with the company name, phone number and navbar.

If you have a business site, consider this a great template for your contact page.
best contact page
Source: Celco

A New Feature for PressThis?

pressthisideaSource: WordPress › Support » PressThis Feature: Choose Which Post

This is my suggestion. Probably posted to the wrong place. I never seem to find the same place twice in the WordPress forums.

I think it’s a brilliant idea, of course. I really would be a nice way to build up a post – without having to return to the admin screen on your site every time you just need to add a link, or an extra editorial. Or an image from your computer too.

Will see if it gets any notice.

Leaving Blog Readers in a Bottomless Scrolling Pit

Many blogs have begun using the infinite scroll which means their blog posts go on endlessly, bottomless. It may be good for keeping people reading your site longer, preventing bounces. But… please throw your readers a lifeline – add a link back to the top of your site.

I was reading WP Decoder earlier and sent a note:

With infinite scrolling it would also be nice if people provided a floating link to get back to the top/ start. I wanted to look for your Twitter link after reading far down your bottomless posts. (I was in 2013). Not everyone knows basic things like keyboard shortcuts these days.

A floating link is best because it will stick with people as they read. Plus, it jumps around a bit and tends to get noticed.

Content Curation Works with WordPress (Free Even)

I’m using a few plugins I especially like for content curating in my WordPress sites. I had been working (and still am) with web based content curation but I would rather put all that time and content into my own sites than another. (You never know when one of those sites will make big changes, like closing down entirely). One of the projects I’m working on is to focus and sort my RSS feeds. I had over 1,000 but it is down to almost 300 now. That helps with finding content I want to post more about.

Other than testing RSS feed readers, I’ve been trying every content curation WordPress plugin I can find. Some have been trouble, some just didn’t have enough. But, one has been exceptional!

  • PressForward – A lot of features. Don’t judge by looks – this is a stand alone content curation system for WordPress. It’s also free and I have not found any problems running it several months now. In addition to the bookmarklet for nominating links you can create a post around later – you can collect feeds and read them from your own site and create posts around whatever turns up in the list. I continue to find more ways to use this plugin as I spend time working with it.
  • Link Roundups – A simple form of content curation. Created to collect links for roundup posts but you can use the bookmarklet to save links, add them to a post and do what you like from there.
  • PressThis – You can find this in WordPress. No plugin is needed. But, PressForward has additional features.

I’ve begun trying Curated Search. The features look great but I haven’t given it the test of time yet.

What have you tested and found to be great for content curation in WordPress?

Find more WordPress news and plugins: WordPress Adventures and Exploring | Scoop.it

Do Modern Photographers Need Ethics?

During this year’s World Press photo contest, about 20 percent of the entrants that reached the second-to-last round of judging were disqualified for significantly altering images in post processing and Giovanni Troilo was stripped of a first prize in the face of charges of misrepresentation and posing images (the photographer said he had “made a mistake,” but had not intended to deceive). In the vigorous debate that followed, some ridiculed the concept of “objective photojournalism” as philosophically tenuous in a postmodern world.

Source: Posing Questions of Photographic Ethics – The New York Times

Posing versus factual photography. Where is the line drawn between getting a good looking photo and showing the truth in images?

People take photos of everything these days. A photograph used to be something to illustrate the truth, the situation as it is but that changes as people get tempted to get a photo that sells, that makes the story look more interesting. Photographs can lie, or at least trick people into believing things which are not true.

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

Make Widgets Cater to Bloggers

A widget should provide something I want. Why would I want to give these buttons from Bloglovin space on my blog? They serve no purpose for me. I can already use WordPress functions to get email sign ups and followers (and keep the information on my own database). Unless I have a huge following on Bloglovin, I don’t need to show those numbers.

This widget really only advertisers Bloglovin. That’s fine but… my space is worth something to me. I like Bloglovin but I don’t like them enough to give them free advertising on my site.

If you design a widget you want bloggers to add to their sites – think about it from their perspective. What can you offer them? Why would they want to post your widget? What can your widget do with will give value to the blog/ blogger over time? (Why should they keep your widget?)

bloglovin widgets

Source: Widgets – Bloglovin

A Better Display of Categories

I often get ideas from seeing things on other sites. This time I had two great ideas from How to Write it Better.

First, this idea for showcasing my categories. Instead of the standard flat intdex… why not promote them to the reader this way? On this site it’s posted as an image file and not linking to the categories. But, it could be done with HTML and links. Not difficult and yet very smart. I’m adding it to my to-do list!

howtowritebetter1

The other thing I like is the post for her email list. Fairly standard really but reading it sparked an idea for me. I content curate offsite, for Scoop.it mainly. But, I don’t really do much with that feed beyond adding a widget in my footer. Instead I could promote it as a source for fresh, daily information. I don’t want to get into newsletters and email lists again. Email seems to be a dead horse. However… why not push my curated feeds this way? I keep them active (if not daily, at least a few times a week). howtowritebetter2

Source: HowToWriteBetter.net | how to write better | Everything you need for great results, whatever you write

So today I found two great ideas from one blog I happened to read a post from today. Pretty nice.