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Top Blogging Tools
Google Translator translates your website into any (or all) of the 34 different languages offered by Google. All of the new pages link straight to your domain, and they increase your reach and internet cred around the world.
Outbrain is a tool that allows people to leave comments. If your blog provider doesn’t already have a way for readers to leave comments, you’ll definitely want to download this tool. Customer comments are a great way to feel out the market and to better target customer concerns and needs.
Google Friend Connect lets people from different networks join your blog, leave comments, and participate in your online community. Now more people can join your blog, and word gets out faster.
PostRank Widget is an online doo-dad (for lack of a better word) from Google that tells you which posts people like and visit the most. Now you know what your visitors come looking for, and you can market to your audience a heckuva lot better.
Ping.fm takes the stress out of all your social networking by letting you update and synchronize your blogs, your tweets, and your Facebook all at one stop.
Check out this website for a few more tips and tricks about ways to save time on your blog: http://www.bestonlinetools.org/14-top-blogging-tools-every-blogger-should-use-to-improve-productivity/.
If you post often and regularly, search engines constantly drop by to see what’s new on your site, and so do customers. Now you have a great reason for everyone to spend more time on your website and rely on you as an authority in your industry.
Let’s give you a list of reasons to blog:
Build your searchability. When search engines love you, people find you. Blogs give you new pages of relevant content week after week. Search engines are all about relevancy and credibility—blogs help you build both.
Can we all say “branding”? Now that more and more people come to your website to check out the latest in your business, your name gets ingrained in the minds of customers everywhere.
All new marketing. Well, you don’t want to overdo it, but let people know a great story about a new product, or tell them about a new launch. Get their feedback on any part of your business. It doesn’t really matter what—just start a conversation.
Build a relationship. You should probably stop giving out hugs to everyone you meet, but speaking to customers through a blog is a fantastic way to build loyalty.
You’re an expert, and they know it. Build your authority on a topic. Let people trust what you have to say about it. Own an auto parts shop? Tell people about the most common repairs people run into. Tell them how to do it. Are you a baker? Lawyer? Dentist? Scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.
Budget? What budget? A blog has very little to no cost. Just get a few people in your business to post a couple of times a week. If you’re a one-man band, post every week. You’ll welcome a break from the ordinary, your customers will love the info, and your budget will thank you. A lot.
There are a few more benefits. Okay, there are lots more. Start a blog and start discover all the benefits that come with a blog. In fact, we’d love to hear about it. Maybe you should write a blog post on the awesomeness of blogs. We’ll keep an eye out for it.
Whether you’re a novice keyboardist or an experienced techie, there’s a blog format to fit your needs and your business. Google Blogger and WordPress.org are two different blog providers. We’ll look at them one at a time and give you an idea of which one you’ll want for your business.
Blogger is for the technologically green, and we think it’s the best free blogging platform available. They do all the hosting for you and let you blog your heart out— all for free. Here’s how to get started.
1. Sign in
Go to www.blogger.com and hit Get Started. Do you have a Gmail, Google Groups, or Orkut account? Then just sign in. If this is your first time using Google, set up an account on the next page.
2. Set up
You get to pick your blog’s name and URL. Here’s one more tip: make your name fun and your URL simple. You want people to be intrigued by your blog, and you want it to be easy to find. We’ll talk about setting up your own URL in just a sec.
3. Pick a template
It’s just a starter template. Once you hit continue, you can look at a bunch of other templates and customize the whole look for your company.
Wanna set up a different URL? Go into your Dashboard and hit Settings. You’ll see a tab that says Publishing where you can alter your free blogspot URL or pay for a personalized URL.
You’re done! Now put a link to your blog on your homepage, and start blogging. Get the word out about your blog through your Facebook and Twitter.
The tech-savvy (or the ambitious) definitely want to look into a WordPress.org blog. You can add your WordPress blog to the same host you use for your business website. WordPress gives you much more freedom with the internal structure of the site, making your blog really pop. You can attach a WordPress blog directly to your business website, making your blog easy to access and your website easier to find on a search engine. Go to www.wordpress.org and follow these steps to get started:
1. Get a web host
Chances are you already have a host. It’s the company that keeps your website live, day and night. If you don’t already have a host, they only cost about $2–7 per month. WordPress.org gives you lots of great suggestions.
2. Download and install WordPress
Their 5-minute download makes life so much easier. After you download it, install WordPress on your main website. Make the address as simple as www.mycompany.com/blog. If you don’t know how to make it all happen, get in touch with your web developers. They’ll take care of it for you.
No matter which blog provider you use, blogs add a personal touch and online cred to your business. Get in, get around, and get blogging!
Publish it on Facebook
The key to social media is to start talking. Start a conversation on products, recent research, the latest and greatest in your field, great experiences, terrible experiences, or anything else. You can talk about anything— anything but how great you are. Sure, pat yourself on the back now and then, but remember it’s all about your customers, not you.
Communicate. Fan pages and groups are based on dialogue. Put up a discussion board and keep some fresh, new topics going. Remember, your Fan Page is about your fans— it isn’t a billboard. Keep the tone conversational on your discussion board. You’ll turn a lot of people off faster than you can say “fizz” if you sell to them every chance you get.
Socialize. When people write on your wall, respond! Let them know you hear them and think their opinion is worth responding to. Then post pictures of your events, office parties, office pranks, and anything else. Show them the human side of your business.
Entertain. Put up some video links and photos. You can post just about anything from tutorials to a video feed from an office barbecue. Get your fans and followers to post their own videos, articles, and pictures on your wall. Run a regular competition to keep contributions flowing and people talking.
Inform and advertise. Post pictures, video, and status updates about your latest product or promo. You’ve got something customers want, so make sure everyone knows about it. You can also create an event for the introduction of your offer or product and give them a special deal for finding out about it through your Facebook page.
Connect. You’ve been putting a lot of work into your social media— make them work for each other. Post links to your website, your blog, and your twitter account right there on the fan page. Let people know about job openings, and give them a link to follow. Whatever you do, stay connected.
Start a Facebook Group or Fan Page
Promote a cause. Start a revolution. Pick up a few groupies. Whatever you want to use it for, a Facebook group is a great way to bring people together on one topic. You can send out invites to everyone on your fan page or business profile to generate some hype about anything you want.
1. Create. To create a group, just click on the groups button on the left side of the homepage. At the top right, click on create a group, enter the basic information, then hit create group. That takes you to Step 2: Customize. Once you tell Facebook how people can find your group, invite as many people as you want.
2. Promote. Here’s a little tip: when you’re inviting everyone along, check out the Promote Group with Ad button hanging out in the top right corner. You could monetize your group with some ad work done by Facebook and give your groupies something else they may be interested in.
3. Customize. Once you create your group and invite people to join, personalize your page. Add a profile picture, put up some videos, and respond to the wall posts people will start putting up. Don’t leave them hanging—start a discussion. The more people interact with you, the more they trust both you and your business.
For all your fans out there, you might want to start a Fan Page—it’s not as specific as a group, and it celebrates your business’s awesomeness. Just use this link to get started. Here you can post your links, videos, articles, and lots of other cool stuff.
You can also network with other people in your field, join their pages, and swap info and trade tips. The more connected your network, the better exposure your business gets.
Fan pages are cool because people don’t have to be on Facebook to see your page. A regular profile can be blocked by its user, but your Fan Page is open to anyone looking for you online. They even show up in search engine results. As soon as people with profiles start joining your Fan Page, all their friends can see it. And since the average Facebook user has 130 Friends, that’s some serious exposure.
Make Facebook connections
Getting started with Facebook is even easier than it looks. We’ll show you how to find and add friends, how to create a solid network with other professionals in your field, and how to gain credibility with your followers.
- Want to make a few more friends? Check out the link: http://www.facebook.com/friends/?ref=tn#/friends/?filter=ffp. You can upload your email contacts and let Facebook find your friends for you. It will even look at people you share a lot of friends with and give you friend suggestions.
- As long as you’re building your network, find other guys in your field. Add them as your friend, swap info, invite them to write a blog post, or have them speak at your next event.
- Even throwing out some promos will help build your network. If you give enough interesting info and promos, people will add your business just to stay in the know on the latest and greatest from your business.
- Been up to any surveys or research? Don’t be afraid to share it— the more people use your info and quote you, the bigger you become. Now people in your industry recognize your authority, and customers trust you.
- Facebook gives some pretty great networking tools you can add to your website: http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php
- Know a few people that really ought to get together? Tell them. Make connections between your followers and colleagues, and you can gain their trust. http://www.facebook.com/help/search.php?hq=suggest+friends&ref=hq
Facebook just looks better every day, doesn’t it?
Create Facebook events
Getting everyone on the same page with your event just got easier. Blast out all the details—time, date, place, who’s invited, party specs—in a Facebook event.
Log on to your business profile on Facebook. On the homepage, look at the top right corner. In the text box that says, “What are you planning?” just click and start typing. You can have an event produced in just a few seconds.
Now let’s add some photos and details. All you gotta do is click add details right next to the create event button to lay out a description and display a picture. You can add more pictures and videos by writing on your event’s wall.
Send out invitations to anyone and everyone. Get your friends to invite their friends while you’re at it. You can post a message about it on your profile page and start generating some hype.
Don’t forget your other tools—tweet it, blog it, Link it In, and get your employees to do the same on their personal accounts.
How to create and manage a business account on Facebook
Have you ever thought of creating a business profile on Facebook? It lets your customers become fans and it gets your name in front of all their friends. Since the average user has 130 friends, that’s some serious face time with potential leads.1 Use your profile to let people know about events, promos, and cool stuff going on in the industry.
1. To get started, follow this link (but keep this window open as we take you through the whole thing, step by step): http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php .
2. Read all of the rules regarding business accounts (oh come on, it’s not that bad). We just don’t want the Facebook police to delete your account.
3. Put a business casual picture in there of yourself. You don’t have to make it the profile picture (that’s probably going to be your company logo, anyway), but let people know that you really do have a face.
4. And as long as you’re putting pictures up, don’t hesitate to put evidence of the latest office prank, video from the company barbecue, or informational videos on there.
5. Create a URL that’s customized for your business. Here’s the link to make that happen: http://www.facebook.com/username/ .
Make the most out of your account. Chances are, you can do some pretty impressive stuff. The more your customers see you online, the more they will come to you for business.
LinkedIn does so much more than keep tabs on old colleagues. Dust off the password to your lonely, neglected account, and use it to build your business. Here are a few tips to get it done.
1: Fill out your profile—all of it. (Really.)
Make sure you fill out your profile completely. A profile with all the parts filled in automatically wins cred and earns trust. Now’s not the time for modesty— impress people with all your experience.
2: Build your network.
Finding all your old friends and current colleagues isn’t that hard— LinkedIn makes it easy when you upload your email contacts. Once you get your network established, get your friends to introduce you to their friends.
3: Who do you want to rub shoulders with?
LinkedIn lets you search for important peeps in your business or industry. You should also invite potential clients (in a friendly, no-pressure kind of way) to join your network. You can get the dish on your prospective clients before meeting or contacting them.
4: Let search engines find you.
Every search engine (especially mighty Google) loves LinkedIn profiles. Make sure to adjust your security settings so your basic info (including links to your websites) is public to search engines. LinkedIn is yet another opportunity for searchers to find you.
5: Answer questions (no hand-raising necessary).
LinkedIn has a question and answer section that contains all the answers to life’s great questions. Go see if there are any questions you can answer. Answer them in a non-self promoting way and everyone will see you as an expert in your industry. You’ll get tons of profile views.
6: Bring all your social media together.
Yes, it’s another social networking site. Thankfully, there are widgets and other tools available that allow you to show your twitter posts, Facebook actions, and other social media content. Use them to connect all your social media together.
7: Recommendations = happiness
Recommendations equal instant trust. Request them from happy clients or people in your network. Offer to give recommendations to other people you’ve worked with.
8: Use more than just a resume.
Want to find some qualified talent? Now you can look at something more than just another resume. Post a job listing if you are looking to hire, and you may even be able to hire someone in your network.
9: Big Dog, meet Other Big Dog.
Find experts in your field and invite them to be a guest blogger on your blog or a speaker at your event. Keep your employees in-the-know with the latest and greatest in your industry, and let your customers know you’re on the leading edge.
10: “I’m a real boy!”
Everyone loves a genuine personality. Don’t turn off your clients or potential partners by using hard-sell or spammy tactics. Treat people with respect, and be the expert— the clambering fans and roaring applause will follow.