With over 600 million users as of January 2011, Facebook has clearly become the most popular social network online. The forward-thinking crowd of business owners have started getting involved by building the profile of their company.
So, how are you connecting with the community at Facebook?
Though there are a few ways to get social with the community, including creating a Page for your brand, I’m about to show you how to create a group on Facebook. Though it’s not as popular as the Facebook Page feature, it offers one powerful benefit you don’t get with a Page … we’ll get to that later.
Step One – Launch the Groups App
Enter “groups” into the Facebook search bar as pictured below. This will bring up the Groups App, which you can see highlighted in blue.
Once you select this, your will be taken to the Groups App, where you will see a list recent invites from groups (Join or Ignore) as well as the groups you’ve joined or created. [Read more…]
If you know What The Benefits of Subscribing to Your Blog are, then you might consider the following six ways magazines attract new subscribers with their inserts.
I collected 10 inserts from the magazine stand the other day and found a few things I noticed a few things they all share in common – check it out, as they might spark new ideas regarding how you can attract new subscribers to your blog. [Read more…]
I was checking out the magazine section at Barnes & Noble when a little slip of paper suddenly fell from the magazine I was reading.
It was a subscription insert.
I’m not new to the concept, but it made me wonder what bloggers might be able to learn from magazines in terms of attracting subscribers – after all, they’ve been at able to experiment what works and what doesn’t much longer than those in the blogging medium, so they probably have it down by now. [Read more…]
It’s after 3:00 in the morning here in Los Angeles …
I must say, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here on the floor of my cousin’s apartment, trying to blog in the dark as the guy next door passionately karaokes the life out of a great song.
Quick question for both you and me … [Read more…]
Read the whole post to find out how to get a FREE critique of your blog in the comments section of this post.
Pluto Is No Longer A Planet
You know the story – When the astronomy community came to a conclusion regarding the first official, scientific definition of the term “planet,” Pluto was instantly demoted from the family of nine planets in our solar system and cast into the vast darkness.
What does this mean for bloggers?
Like the community of astronomers, the community of visitors will be making conclusions of their own – these will be about your blog.
Positive conclusions lead to new readers, subscribers, and social followers, whereas negative conclusions lead to a vote to cast you into the darkness.
How To Avoid Negative Conclusions
If your visitors jump to a negative conclusion about your blog, it’s unlikely they’ll ever return … let alone subscribe or follow you socially. So it’s crucial to take the time to make sure you avoid any possibility of triggering a negative conclusion about your blog. Often the reasons for these negative conclusions are minimal and can be avoided.
Check out the following points for more. [Read more…]
The social web is a powerful place. It’s where people connect together, share interesting content, and trust each other.
If you’re promoting your creative work, building a brand, or establishing a profile, this is the best place for you to accomplish your goals. Unlike traditional one-way media, such as television and radio, the social web is a busy superhighway where people can decide where they want to go for their information.
Building your social following requires two things:
- Create social profiles in various places, such as networking and bookmarking communities, and interact with the community.
- Promote your social profiles.
Now it’s time to get creative and decide where you want to promote your social profiles.
Promote Your Social Profiles Strategically
While your social followings can be powerful assets to you in reaching your goals, and your first instinct might be to promote your social profiles prominently on your blog, you have to consider whether or not driving visitors away from your actual blog is worth it.
One one hand, you’re informing your visitors what else they can do to further connect with you, yet on the other, you’re cutting down their time on your blog considerably, which visitors need in order to be properly impressed.
For example, if a visitor were to swing by your blog and notice you’re on Facebook within the first few moments, you may decrease the chance of the visitor from subscribing to your newsletter or daily email updates.
I think the trick is to distribute your social links strategically.
Social Links In The Header
One of the most popular trends I’ve noticed involves promoting social profeils in the header of the blog. As one of the most visible area of a blog, the header is a sure-fire way to promote something … but I can’t help but wonder how this might actually be harmful on some level.
Sure, it may not sound harmful–after all, you’re building your social following,–but I can’t help but imagine that the crowd clicking to connect with you socially within the first few seconds being on your blog is more likely to lose interest and break their connection with you, whereas a visitor that actually read a post or two and checked out your about page will be connecting with you based on their well-informed decision to do so.
In essence, it’s “I might be interested in this blog” compared to “I’m really interested in this blog!”
One way you may be able to take advantage of the visibility of the header is to concentrate on building your social following in one area. For example, create a banner promoting the page on Facebook.
As of this writing, I’ve decided that the header of CreativeBlogger should be reserved for the logo alone. The starkness of the header helps brand the blog, and enables me to keep it simple and focus on the content.
Are you promoting your social profiles in your header?
The Sidebar Is More Than A Sidekick
Though the sidebar is often picked on for being cluttered with unnecessary widgets, shiny bells, loud whistles, and other stuff bloggers found in their junk drawer, it’s one of the most powerful tools in the blogger’s arsenal.
Like the header, the sidebar is visible on every page (depending on your layout and theme), which makes it one of the most visible areas on your blog. However, unlike the header, readers are less likely to skim over it as they would a header.
As you can see here, I’ve included only a couple things I’d like to promote.
The first thing I want to promote is the ability to subscribe via email, because email connection enables the blogger the most direct contact with the reader. Next, I’ve opted to include a modified version of a social widget created by Tentblogger, featuring snapshots of two social profiles I’m promoting along side the CreativeBlogger RSS feed.
Spotlight Your Social Profiles in the Content
Promoting social profiles within your content is another popular way to grow your following, however, you do have to decide where in the content is best for your blog. There are several parts to the content area to consider–here the three that come to mind:
- Post header
- Within the content
- Post footer
One method I’ve yet to try is to actually dedicate an entire post to the social profile you’re attempting to grow.
If you’re more reserved about promoting your social profiles on your blog, this might be one of the best options due to it’s concentration and limitation. Consider drawing up a post all about the benefits of following your social profile on Twitter, publishing it, and then letting your blog readers decide whether or not they’d like to further connect with you.
While this simplified version of social profile promotion may seem polite to your readers and easy on you, it’s most likely one of the least effective ways to grow your social profile following.
That said, if you’re planning on getting creative and trying something new, you may want to consider highlighting in addition to your daily social linking strategy.
Where Are Your Social Links?
Every blog is a little different. I’d love to learn where you’re promoting your social profiles, and furthermore, how things are going.
Is your social following growing?
cc image credit [Miguel – Reordenando esto un poco…]
Bloggers are obsessed with blog improvement. It’s how we adapt to new trends, implement new technology, and refine presentation in order to draw visitors deeper into our blog.
It’s also how we waste a lot of time.
Whether you get sucked into the wonderful world of widgets or find yourself plunging into the plethora of plugins, it’s easy to stray from your original task and it often leads to a lot of lost time. No matter how fun or informative it may be, becoming distracting while performing blog improvement can cost you hours … even days.
So how can we improve our blog without sacrificing time? One way to achieve this is to focus on the four corners of your blog.
Before we dive into the series on exploring how bloggers can magnetize the four corners of their blogs, I’d like to go over what those four corners actually are and why it’s they’re so important.
What Are The Four Corners of A Blog?
Every blog is different, but most share four things in common – these are called the four corners of the blog.
These areas work together to create the experience of your blog – the better each corner is, the better the experience. The better the experience, the more likely your visitor is to revisit, socialize with you, and invest in your creative work.
Blog Improvement, One Corner At A Time
The reason why it’s crucial bloggers magnetize the four corners of their blog is because visitors tend to have short attention spans, and therefore require the information you want them to find upfront and center.
When bloggers fail to magnetize a corner, visitors lose interest and give up. The most common area where this happens is the sidebar. Bloggers pack their sidebar with unnecessary widgets, tools, games, ads, and more, leaving the visitor clueless as to what the blog has to offer.
By approaching your blog improvement activity with your blog corners in mind, you’ll be able to achieve more goals, keep track of time, and efficiently magnetize your blog corners, which will in turn, enhance your visitors’ experience on your blog.
There are four essential pages every blog needs – the about page is one of the most important.
To readers, the about page is where they go to learn more about the blogger behind the blog. It’s where they go to find out what you do, who you are, and what you have to offer them.
The best way to create a good about page is to keep it simple – here are a few points to consider.
Start With An Introduction
One of the best ways to create a welcoming about page is to take a moment to introduce yourself.
The best introductions are brief, so be sure you spend some time thinking about what you want your readers to know about you first and foremost. Since you’ve taken the time to start a blog, it’s safe to say you’re set on using your blog to advance your creative career – whatever it may be; don’t worry about telling your reader how you earn a living while pursuing your creative career – simply tell them what you do.
If you work as a bartender during the day to make ends meet, and stay up all night writing fiction, simply introduce yourself as a writer.
Introducing yourself as the version of you that you want to be (a professional artist) is the very first step to becoming that version of you.
Welcome your readers, tell them your name, and tell them what you do.
Add A Profile Picture
There are a few places bloggers can add their picture in order to give their readers a look at who is behind the curtain, but the most efficient place is on the about page.
While some opt to place their picture at the top of their sidebar, this can sometimes become a distraction when trying to help readers focus on the content of your blog. In addition, the top of the sidebar is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on your blog, so it might be a better idea to reserve that area for a call to action, such as your subscription options and newsletter sign up form.
There is no right or wrong, so whatever method you select, just be sure you include a good quality image.
Build The Reader’s Expectations
In addition to revealing a little about yourself, be sure to inform them what they can expect from your blog. Whether you’re going to be publishing informational tips, revealing your latest work, or announcing news, let your reader know here so they know what to expect.
One of the easiest ways to loose a dedicated reader is to provide something different from their expectations.
To do this, consider including a few of your categories. If you’re just starting your blog, then reveal what you plan on doing. if you’re not sure yet, be upfront with your interested reader and let them know.
The goal behind every page is to give the reader something more to do – the about page is no exception.
Provide your readers with a few links to the most valuable content on your blog. This may be more difficult if you’re just starting, but you can always edit your page as you create more content.
If you have been blogging for a while, consider including a few of your most popular posts, series of posts, and pillar content – WordPress stats and other analytics will help you here.
Invite Your Reader To Connect
Last but not least, tell your readers how they can connect with you – perhaps even add your own personal spin on why you’d really like to connect.
This not only tells the reader their invited to connect with you, but also gives them the tools to do so. For example, you’ll notice here on the Creativeblogger about page, I let reader know that they can stay in touch via email or connect with me socially on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube.
No matter how you go about it, the idea of the about page is to provide a little more information about both you and your blog to your reader.
Just as the web is constantly evolving, it’s best to keep updating your about page to reflect the most current information.
Id love to see more video introductions from bloggers. What do you think?
What do you include in your own about page – and how is it helping you build your following on the social web?
cc photo credit: shaggyshoo
Once you’ve successfully started your blog, there are a few things you should consider doing even before you publish your first post.
One consideration has to do with the pages on your blog – four of which you simply can’t do without.
There are four essential pages every new blog needs:
To create a new page, select “Add New” under the “Pages” tab in WordPress. You’ll want to keep it simple though, WordPress will automatically include all your pages in your main menu by default.
With the introduction of WordPress 3.0, bloggers can now create customized menus using the “Menus” feature under “Appearance,” however, it should be noted that not all WordPress themes support this feature. [Read more…]