Building a Web Presence – Social Media

I had been planning to write something about social media and the role it can play in building a web presence.
I was wondering about the best way to explain the why and the how.

Today I stumbled accross the following excerpt from an Edweek Blog

The Kentucky Department of Education announced it has officially joined the social networking phenomenon by launching a Twitter and a Facebook page.

The jump was spurred by a desire to update members of the community about meetings and updates more quickly, said a press release. The state’s education commissioner, Terry Holliday, is a proponent of social media, using his own Twitter page, as well as blogs and websites, to communicate with others.

“It’s important that we reach as many audiences as possible, and having a social media presence enables immediate sharing of information and news. It also provides a means for direct feedback from educators, parents, students, elected officials and others,” he said in a press release.

While there are several reasons one might consider using social media, the thing I especially liked about this excerpt is that it shows one of the primary reasons why a person, entity or organization might want to use it. It is primarily a two way communications vehicle to engage with stakeholders, prospects and clients. Not only do you use it to broadcast your identity, products and services but you can also give and receive feedback.

If you write a new blog entry or have a new event happening, using your social media service, with a link, to inform, gets people to visit your site and/or blog. As mentioned in the previous post, the search engines like these link exchanges and it helps your site gain search engine rank and thus your web presence grows.

I have just one caution with this. I stopped following some twitterers recently because their tweets were nothing more than repetitive spam. We want to engage and invite our audience, not offend and turn them off. Therefore like any marketing method, it is important to have a strategy and to exercise tact and subtlety.

At Waitomo Creative we work with our clients to advise and help with ways to set up and effectively use these tools.

Posted in Business Blogging, Web Promotion | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

A WordPress Bouquet

Last week just hours after my last post the server was hacked at the datacenter where Waitomo Creative is hosted.   After a failed attempt to close the back door all sites were taken off line and the opportunity was taken to reload the operating system, tighten security and get the latest updates. Everything went well and although taking a little longer than expected, everything was restored from the backup.

Well…
Almost…
My newest post was missing… A post that already had received a comment.
And to make matters worse I had deleted the text file from my hard drive after I posted it.

One of the things that makes blogs and sites created on blog platforms like WordPress so powerful is the ability to get your content indexed by search engines very quickly, and often with a high ranking. WordPress incorporates tag support and when an article is posted, the tags are notified and it is not long before the site is crawled by a googlebot.

Google takes a snapshot of each page it examines and stores that version in its database. 
Almost every search result includes a Cached link. If you click on that link you are taken to the Google cached version of that web page, instead of the current version of the page. This is useful if the original page is unavailable because of:

  • Internet congestion
  • A down, overloaded, or just slow website
  • The owner’s recently removing the page from the Web

This feature was my saving grace and I was able to recover the text of my article and repost it. 

My experience last week was a powerful lesson and practical example for me that validates what this recent series of articles has been about.

  1. Blogging can help you promote your site and establish a web presence.
  2. Using tags helps you get indexed quickly and brings traffic to your site.
  3. Remember to save a copy of your posts.
  4. If there is a problem, Remember the power of the Google cache.
Posted in Blogging, Business Blogging, Web Promotion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Business Blog – A Word About Content

I have a personal blog that I don’t update very often.
My excuse is usually that I’m too busy with other things.
I have numerous posts in draft and never seem to get back to complete them.
If you were to look at my blog most of the few articles that are there are introductory in nature. My own critical appraisal of them is that they tend to run on a bit.

What happens is that I start to write and then one idea leads to another and to another until the article has grown into a lengthy dicitation that probably could have been broken into several smaller posts. One of the reasons this happens is that I am never quite sure who is going to read it. So I’m aimlessly blogging to an unknown group.

This article is the fourth I have compiled over the last several days. This one is the only one I have composed from scratch. The others were already in draft in one long document.

With the relaunch of this blog as part of the Waitomo Creative site, a more sharpened view of who my targeted audience is and a more definite purpose in writing, I have been able to model and explain in the previous posts, some reasons for and benefits of having a business blog.

That said; here are a few lessons and suggestions about content:

  1. Know who you are writing to. This will help you determine what and how to write. If your target audience is trades people, write like you would talk to them in an informal and casual way. If they are academics and professionals, then they are used to and expect a formal and technical writing style.
  2. Be clear about your topic. Plan before you start writing and stick to the point.
  3. A short posting is better than a long one. I’ve concluded that 300 words is a good bite size chunk. If a post is too lengthy and carries too many ideas your reader could lose interest and give up.
  4. If you have something lengthy and complex to share, consider posting it over several days in short sections. A benefit here is that when you have a series that appeals to your audience, your readers will keep coming back for the next episode.

Above all, whatever you write, Be Real. When your readers identify with a writer, they will loyally keep coming back to see what you have to say.

Posted in Blogging, Business Blogging, Web Promotion | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Business Blog Benefits

Blogging can have several great benefits:

  1. Communication – It allows you to talk to, engage and interact with your community in a way you can’t do from your website.
    By talking to them about the issues related to your business, you show your business as personable and your site becomes more than yet another brochure on a stand. You give them a reason to keep coming back. Company news, product information and latest offers, all communicate that you are there and accessible. You make your business the ‘go-to’ place for a particular topic and you help them to become invested in your brand. The more engaged you can make them, the better.
  2. Feedback – A business blog enables you to gain feedback and information about your customers. It does this in several ways. Firstly, by allowing your customers to leave comments on your posts. You can get a feel for how they take to what you have to say. You can also track which posts are being read more often and which generate a greater number of clicks, emails, etc. As far as market and customer research goes this is hugely beneficial information.
  3. Enhance SEO – Search engines like Google and Bing tend to favour sites with fresh content. Since a blog is something that you will be updating on a regular basis, it’s a great way to draw even more people who are searching for the products or services you provide.
    Your blog also allows you to use keywords to help your site earn rankings with terms you may not be targeting with your main site. Often you’ll find terms that are too niche to warrant a silo on your site, however, by simply writing a few keyword-rich posts on the subject, you may still be able to get your domain to show up.  As mentioned, search engines particularly like promoting blogs because they offer a large amount of content that is updated and added to on a regular basis.

Other writers on the topic can give numerous more benefits but I have listed three that I think are significant. Amongst those cited by others are ease of setup and ease of use. If you come to Waitomo Creative as a client and want a blog, the various alternatives are discussed and the setup and instructional use becomes part of the package.

Posted in Blogging, Business, Business Blogging, Web Promotion | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Building a Web Presence – A Blog

As mentioned in our previous post, the first step to developing a Web presence is to have a website with your own domain to promote your business. A few years ago it was enough to have a website and it was relatively easy to submit to a few search engines and get indexed.

In the current climate when websites on the world wide web number in the hundreds of thousands, it is not so easy. Meanwhile search engine indexing has become more difficult and now ranking is the all important thing. Something called Search Engine Optimization has become an important strategy and there is a whole new industry of SEO experts now capitalizing on this new need for web promotion and search engine ranking.

One of the tools now being used in conjuction with, and as part of many web sites is the blog.

Blogging is something you have probably heard about over the past few years, but what is it?
Blogs (Web logs) started as personal online diaries written to entertain, keep friends posted on activities, be a vehicle for free and creative written expression, to name just a few reasons. This has now has expanded to change the way journalism, politics, and businesses are communicating. Now, more and more businesses are realizing the power of blogging to establish their expertise, rank higher at the search engines, and improve their communication with prospects and customers.

Business blogs are quickly becoming a preferred way to communicate with clients and with those who could become clients. Websites will continue to be essential, but a company blog is being recognized more and more as one of the keys to a successful Internet marketing strategy.

Once your site is up, the next step is to get blogging. Next time I’ll cover some of the benefits and some tips on content.

Posted in Blogging, Business Blogging, Web Promotion, Website | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Towards A Web Presence – The Need For A Web Site

Not so long ago if you wanted to check when a movie was playing, you’d check out your local newspaper. If you wanted to find someone to remodel your kitchen, you would look in the yellow pages. But for an increasing number of consumers, that has become an outdated practice.

The Internet and the World Wide Web have become the very first place many people turn for information, in particular a company or organization’s contact details, and they do this ahead of the telephone book or paper based directory.

In today’s world, it has become expected that any business big or small have some kind of web presence.

While exposing your business to the world on the web can help you sell products and services around the clock and around the world, there is increasing evidence to suggest that its greatest impact may be felt closer to home as more and more customers use the Internet to find businesses in their own neighbourhoods.

Whether you’re building global brand awareness and credibility, or helping local customers find you, a web site has become a necessary tool to help keep pace with your competition, near and far. It is vital then, that any business big or small have some kind of web presence.

Having a small to medium size website with your own domain, to at least get your basic message out there, is a must. A well-designed and useful website can enhance your business image and marketing campaign considerably. The Waitomo Creative team have many years experience and can help you manage the process of domain registration, setting up hosting and working with you from design to site launch.

In subsequent posts, we will look at some of the other must have tools that are available and are recommended to help establish your web presences and marketing edge.

Posted in Business, Website | 21 Comments