Twitter image by Rosaur Ochoa - Flickr

How To Use Twitter For Business – The Science Of Twitter – 10 Tips

Twitter image by Rosaur Ochoa - Flickr

Image by Rosaura Ochoa – Flickr

Are you using Twitter effectively in your business? Whilst Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms, it may surprise you to learn that Twitter is most effectively used as an information sharing platform, as opposed to an engagement platform. In this post I am going to give you 10 tips on how to use Twitter for business.

We are always being told that we must engage on Social Media in order to build our audience and reputation, and that is mostly good advice, however in the case of Twitter, research by Dan Zarella from HubSpot, shows that the opposite is the case. In fact, the Twitter accounts with the most followers are shown to have the least engagement, instead using the platform to broadcast useful and unique information.

Twitter is primarily a broadcasting platform that happens to have a two-way conversation facility built into it. It is less about engagement, and more about sharing information. Tweets including links have been shown to get the most re-tweets, and accounts that have the most followers, generally do not use twitter to engage with other followers. It therefore follows that sharing interesting links is a more effective way of building followers on Twitter than re-tweeting.

Here are 10 tips on how to use Twitter for business that Dan shared in his Hubspot webinar ‘The Science of Twitter':

1. Fill Out Your Profile

This might seem obvious, but so many people fail to complete their profile.  Fill out your profile completely, including an image and bio. Avoid using words like guru and author in your bio, but give people a reason to follow you. In other words, tell them “What’s in it for them?”

Twitter_-_Effect_of_Bio_Words_On_Followers_-_By_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

2. How Often Should You Tweet?

Twitter accounts with the most followers have been shown to tweet 22 times per day. Now that’s a lot of tweeting, but the take away message from here is that it is difficult to over-tweet, unlike on some other social media platforms, such as Facebook.

How_often_shoul_you_tweet_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit: Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

Having said that, spacing your tweets out to 1x per hour gets the best results in terms of getting clicks on your tweets.

CTR_by_Links_Tweeted_per_Hour_-_By_Dan_Zarelly_-_Hubspot

Image Credit: Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

3. How Long Should Our Tweets Be?

Tweets are of course limited to 140 characters, but within that limitation, longer tweets have been shown to get more attention and clicks than shorter tweets.

Longer_Tweets_Get_More_Clicks_-_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

4. Where Should The Links Be Placed in The Tweet?

This heatmap shows that putting your links approximately 25% into the tweet is the most effective spot for them. But it’s worth experimenting with putting links in different spots, to see what works best for you and your audience.

Twitter_CTR_Heat_Map_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit: Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

5. Tweeting About Ourselves

Self-referenced tweets tend to get less re-tweets than non-self-referenced tweets. In other words, don’t talk about yourself all the time! Make it about your followers and share as much unique content and value as possible.

Amount_of_self-reference_in_tweets_&_re-tweets_-_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarellla – Hubspot

 

6. Tweeting Language

Our use of language can have a dramatic effect on how often our tweets get re-tweeted. Here is Dan’s list of the most re-tweetable words and the least re-tweetable ones. It goes without saying that the most re-tweetable words are ones that speak directly to our audience, that convey a message of giving value and include a call to action.

Try incorporating words, such as ‘you’, which makes the tweet about the reader, ‘free’, which implies giving value, and calls to action, such as ‘please re-tweet’, which will generate action (See 7. below).

Also, using different language to the norm, or taking a different and unique angle will generate more re-tweets than using the same language everyone else is using.

 

Most_Retweetable_words_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

Least_retweetable_words_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

7. ‘Please Re-Tweet’ Gets 4x More Re-Tweets

Following on from our tweet language, including the words ‘Please Re-tweet’ will get 4 times more re-tweets than not including the call to action.

Please_Retweet_gets_4x_more_retweets_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

8. Use Of Words In Tweets

Use more verbs and adverbs, and fewer nouns.

Use_Action_Words_-__more_verbs_fewer_nowns_-_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

9. Using #Hashtags

Dan’s research shows that using #hashtags has little effect on click through rates, but they don’t hurt either. They are however really effective to generate conversation strings during a webinar for example or generally tying a conversation together.

10. When To Tweet

This is likely to differ from person to person, depending on their individual audience, time zones and so on. But Dan’s research nevertheless reveals some interesting statistics. Overall, his research indicates that tweeting when there is less ‘noise’ is far more effective than tweeting when everyone else is also tweeting:

Try tweeting later in the day. Dan’s data shows that tweeting later in the day is likely to result in higher click through rates.

Tweet_Later_In_The_Day_-_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

Also, try tweeting later in the week for your tweets to get more attention.

4.30pm Eastern Time has been shown to be the most re-tweetable time of day. And Fridays are the most re-tweetable day of the week.

Time_fo_Day_vs_ReTweets_-_by_Dan_Zarella_-_Hubspot

Image Credit – Dan Zarella – Hubspot

 

I hope you have found these 10 tips on how to use twitter in business useful.  I know I will be making some adjustments to my tweeting based on Dan’s finding.  

And if you have enjoyed the post,  please remember to share.  

I also love to hear your comments.  How do you use Twitter in your business and do you have any other valuable tips to add?

How To Prepare Your Facebook Page For Graph Search In Two Easy Steps

facebook graph search

facebook graph search (Photo credit: flickr: mushman1970)

 

Yesterday, Facebook announced the introduction of a new type of search engine, a social search engine that it is naming Graph Search.  Ironically, up until now, I have always found the best place to find a Facebook Page is on Google! So their Graphic Search engine is going to be a welcome addition to the Facebook site, allowing users to tap into the wealth of information that Facebook has gathered about our friends.

What is Graph Search?

Here is Facebook’s definition:

“Graph Search is a new and improved search experience that allows users to discover people, places, and things on Facebook. Whether you are a Page, place, group, app, or game, you and the content you share can appear in search results based on the information you have shared and the connections you have.”

In other words, rather than searching the whole web, the Graph Search extracts results from information that has been shared with you by your friends on Facebook.  Results are individual to each user, based upon their relationships and the information and content that has been shared with them.  The strength of the connection will also be a factor in determining the results.

It will be possible to search by categories or simple phrases, such as:

“friends who live in London and like to ski”

Having said all that, if the Graph Search can’t find any results for the search term entered, it will bring up results from Bing.

The Graph Search was launched for beta testing on January 15th 2013 and you can add your name to the waiting list to become a tester here.  You will need to have your language set to “English USA” to qualify.

An Opportunity

Whilst there is no immediate need to take action, businesses and brands should start thinking about the implications of the new search engine for them.  Clearly a more functional Facebook search engine is going to make it easier for brands and businesses to get found on the platform and there are a few things businesses can be doing right now to ensure that, once the Graph Search is fully rolled out, they can easily be found in the search engine.

Action Steps

Step 1 – Ensure your Page, Place and App information has been completed and is completely up to date:

This will include:

  • Updating the name, category, vanity URL, and the information you show in the ‘About’ section.  This information needs to be complete, relevant and up-to-date, as it will help users find your business.
  • Updating your address, if you have a location or local place page.  This will allow users to find you by location.
  • Upload a 620×620 pixel profile image
  • Make sure you share content directly on Facebook going forward.  In order for an image or video to show in photo or video related searches, these must have been shared directly on Facebook.

Step 2 – Strengthen Your Connections:

Encourage engagement with your page or app.  Search results will be determined by the level of engagement a fan has with a page, with information from those pages with which a fan engages the most appearing at the top of the search results.  Engagement therefore matters!  For example if a user searches for bars in a particular city, the bars liked by the friend with whom they have the most engagement will appear at the top.

What are your initial thoughts on Facebook’s new Graph Search?  Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below and remember to share with your friends and followers if you enjoyed the content of this post.

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Google Custom Search Engine when installed with Wordpress Plugin

How To Install Your Custom Search Engine In WordPress

In my previous post, “Entice Visitors Back To Your Blog With A Custom Search Engine”, I promised to show you how to install your Google Custom Search Engine on WordPress.  It turns out there are several methods for installing the search engine, ranging from the simple to the not so simple.  As you will know, I’m always for simple, but I have also included the not so simple methods, so you have a choice.

The reason for including several installation methods, and I am sure there are more out there, is that each one will display the search engine in a different way.  Also, some will include Adsense ads, whilst the plugin method does not.

There are Four Options:

1.  Plugin Method – The Simple Way

  • Simple to install, with no coding
  • Results show in a pop-up window or in the sidebar, depending on selection in widget
  • No Ads on the results page
  • Custom Search Box shows in Side Bar.  (There is an option to configure the plugin to appear elsewhere on your site, but this is beyond the scope of this post)
  • No customisation of colour scheme
This is what the search box looks like when installed with the plugin.  As mentioned above, there is no customisation available, although you do have a choice of whether the results should show in the sidebar or in a pop-up window.

Google Custom Search Engine when installed with WordPress Plugin

 How To Install The Custom Search Engine Plugin

Search for Google Custom Search Engine in the plugins repository, or download the plugin from Little Handy Tips and then upload the zipped folder to your plugins.  Then follow the instructions in the plugin settings.

Here is a short video tutorial on how to set up the plugin. (Sorry the image quality isn’t great)

 

2.   Adsense Method by Ileane Smith

If you have an Adsense account and wish to display ads on your Custom Search Engine that are linked to to your Adsense account, then this is the easier option.   Ileane from Basic Blog Tips has a great tutorial on how to install your Google Custom Search Engine, which I have included below.

This is what it will look like, when installed…

Google Custom Search Engine as shown on Basic Blog Tips

 

And here is Ileane’s step by step tutorial on how to install the search engine using your Adsense account:

 

3.  Lisa’s Method

This is the most complicated method, but  Lisa from ‘2 Create A Website’ does a fantastic  job in explaining how to install the search engine in her video tutorial, which you can check out below.  The results are great, as you can see from the screen capture below, with the results page beautifully colour coordinated to match her theme.

This is what the Search Box and results will look like, when installed…

 Google Custom Search Engine displayed on 2 Create A Website

 

And here is Lisa’s Tutorial:

 

4.  The O’Desk Method

  • Ok, this isn’t really a method, but it could save you heaps of time (not to mention pulling your hair out :-)) if you don’t want to use the plugin and coding isn’t really your thing.  In fact, this is how I installed  Search Engine on my site.  You will see a search box at the top of my sidebar, as well as on a separate page in my navigation menu.  I set up the search engine in Google myself, and then found someone on O’Desk to install it and it was done in no time at all :-)
  • To set up the Search Engine in Google, head over to  http://www.google.com/cse/manage/all.  You will need to be logged into your Google Gmail Account.
  • Set up the Search Engine as per my video above, starting at 1min 48secs and follow the same set up instructions.  You can select the colour of the Search Box and  you will of course not need to paste the code into WordPress as shown in the video.
  • Your little helper on O’Desk will do the rest, as if by magic :-)
  • You will need to link your Adsense Account to the Google Custom Search Engine, if you wish to benefit from any clicks on your Adsense Ads.  Click on ‘monetize’ in the Control Panel to set this up.  The control panel will also allow you to edit the look and feel of the search box and you can add or remove sites from your custom search engine by clicking on the ‘sites’ tab.

So, there you have four different methods for installing your Google Custom Search Engine.  Let me know how you go with your comments below, or if you know of another installation method, I’d love to hear about that also.   And as always, I appreciate your comments and your shares on your favourite social media sites.

Google Image by Mark Knol at Flickr

Entice Visitors Back To Your Blog With A Google Custom Search Engine

In my previous post, ‘How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting – Part 4′, I mentioned using a Google Custom Search Engine to help drive traffic to your site, so today I’d like to talk about how you can entice visitors back to your blog with a google custom search engine.

What is a Custom Search Engine?

Google allows  users to create a customised search engine that you can put anywhere on your website. You basically hand pick all the websites you want included in your search engine, and when anyone searches with your search engine, the results will only be extracted from the websites you have added.  You can either add entire websites or blogs, or just relevant pages if you prefer.

Check out this short video in which Google gives a quick overview of Custom Search Engines:

Do You Need a Google Custom Search Engine?

There are basically three scenarios in which you would use a Custom Search Engine:

1. To create a search box for your own website or blog:  If you are using the WordPress platform, you have probably noticed that the wp search box is not great at extracting the most relevant content, so creating a Google Custom Search Engine is a great way to improve your visitors’ experience when searching for topics on your site.  It will help keep visitors on your site for longer.

2.  If you have multiple websites on related topics, you can create a custom search engine that will search across all your websites, thus driving traffic from one site to another.

3.  Create a Custom Search Engine for your niche topic:  Add all your favourite authority sites that will provide answers to your visitors’ searches and create a search engine that will produce quality and relevant results every time.  This will not only provide a valuable resource for your visitors, but your search engine could become the go-to source for information in your niche, which will in turn bring visitors back to your site, increasing your traffic and exposing them to your content also.

So what are the benefits of a Custom Search Engine?

1.  First of all, it will improve visitors’ ability to find the information they are looking for on your site, or on other sites, depending on the type of search engine included.

2.  It will increase the time visitors spend on your site and the number of pages viewed:  These are stats that Google looks at when ranking websites. If you select for Google to  display the results within your site, that will keep visitors on your site for longer. Of course, ultimately they will leave your site as they click on a search result, unless that search result happens to be on your site.

3.  If you opt to create a niche search engine, your own site will of course be competing in the search results against all the sites you have added. However, by limiting the number of sites that are being searched, your own posts stand a better chance of ranking at or near the top of the results than they will in Google’s global search engine, thus increasing the likelyhood of your pages or posts being found.

Louise’s Custom Search Engine

As for my own custom search engine, as you would expect, it focuses on Online Marketing Solutions, including blogging, social media, website development, SEO and so on. I am still in the early stages of developing my search engine and will be adding valuable sites as I go along.

Please do test it out and let me know what you think. There is a search box at the top of the right sidebar or you can access it via the navigation menu at the top, or just click here.

Looking For More Websites & Blogs To Add

Also, if you are the owner of a website or blog that is in my niche and you would like to have your site included in my search engine, please let me know in a comment below and I will add you to my search engine if your site is a good fit.

I always appreciate your feedback and please remember to share this post with your friends and followers if you found it of value.

In my next post I’ll show you how to add the Google Custom Search Engine to your own site.

How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting – Part 4

How to increase traffic to your blog with blog commenting

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Part 4 – Go And Comment & Keeping It Up


Finally, it’s time to start leaving comments on other people’s blogs :-)  In parts 1, 2 & 3 of this 4 part series on how to increase traffic to your blog with blog commenting, we have discussed how to prepare our blog for visitors and how to prepare it for blog commenters, and in part 3 we looked at how to find suitable blogs to comment on. If you missed any of these posts, you can check them out by clicking on the links below. In part 4 today, we are going to discuss best practice when commenting and how to maintain your blog commenting strategy.

How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting – 4 Part Series

Part 1 – Prepare your blog for visitors

Part 2 – Prepare your blog for commenters

Part 3 – Get ready to comment

Part 4 – Go and comment & Keeping it up – today’s topic

1.  Effective Blog Commenting

Finally it’s time to go and comment.  Here are some tips on how to be effective with your commenting and maximise the likelyhood of your comments being approved and help get you noticed by the blog owner:

1. Add value:  Don’t just leave a ‘great post. Will definitely bookmark’ type comment.  The whole point of leaving a comment is to add value and initiate a conversation.  Yes, sometimes you just want to say thank you for some great information, and that’s fine, but you can still make it more than a one line comment.  For example explain how the information has helped you or which part you found the most valuable.

2. Ask a question. This is a great way to stimulate an ongoing conversation.

3. Use the author’s name in your comment whenever possible.  This helps the author sort out those who are leaving the same  generic comment on lots of similar blogs.

4. Refer to something in the post that you liked or didn’t like. That way the author knows you did actually read the post.

5. Reply to another comment.

6. Comment early:  Most blogs show the latest comment at the end, so by commenting early your comment will be seen by more people.

7. If there are already lots of comments on the blog post, consider replying to an early comment instead to keep your comment higher up as mentioned in 6. above.

8. You only need to be commenting regularly on five or six blogs. Key to effective blog commenting is consistency. Clearly the more blogs you comment on, the more exposure your name gets and the more traffic you will be driving to your site, but finding five or six blogs that you comment on regularly will be enough to get started. Key is being consistent. The odd comment here and there is going to reap far less results than regular commenting on the same group of blogs.

9. Start slowly with new blogs until you build some rapport. Don’t go and leave ten comments on ten different posts the first time you visit, or you risk looking like a spammer.

10. Don’t include links to affiliate promotions in your comments, or you are again risk being labelled a spammer. You can link back to your own blog with the CommentLuv plugin.

11. Never answer in anger. Give yourself time to cool down and be professional in your response. It goes without saying that that means never being rude or insulting. It amazes and saddens me how many people write insulting personal comments on blogs. Only this morning I saw one on the Thesis blog, insulting a commenter because of his age. Not cool! Having said that, it’s ok to be controversial or disagree and argue a different point of view or opinion, but there’s a difference between disagreeing and being insulting and rude. Disagree without being disagreeable!

12. Finally, use Gravatar to set up an Avatar, so your image appears next to your comments. No one likes comments from faceless people.  Make sure you use the same email address when commenting that you have linked to your Gravatar account.  Gravatar is free and you can set up an account at http://gravatar.com.

2. Keeping It Up

As already mentioned, consistency is key when it comes to blog commenting to build traffic to your blog, but it’s also about being strategic.  Here are some tips on how to maintain your blog commenting:

1. Track your replies: Subscribe to comments or replies. You can always unsubscribe if you find you are getting too many emails once you have seen the reply to your comment.

3. Reply to replies by the author if possible and keep the conversation going. This shows that you are there to add value and not just for the backlink.

4. Make a note of the blog authors that do reply and visit their sites regularly. Also keep track of those blog owners who return the favour by visiting your blog and leaving a comment, and again, visit their sites regularly.

5. Respond to comments on your own site. It goes without saying that you need to reply to all comments on your blog. Again, whenever possible, keep the conversation going, for example with questions.

6. Only keep quality comments. Set up your comments so that at least the first comment goes for moderation before being approved. Only keeping quality comments sets the standard on commenting on your blog, as we have previously discussed.

7. Visit the sites of people who have left a comment on your blog and who’s sites are in your niche or closely related and return the favour with a comment.

8. Google Alerts: Set up a Google Alert for your niche term to keep up with developments in your niche. Also add your own name to your Google Alerts to keep an eye on what is being said about you and for reputation management.

9. Create your own Google Custom Search Engine: Google allows you to create a custom search engine which can help bring visitors back to your site. I will write more about this in my next post, but in the meantime, you can check out my custom search engine at http://louisesteiner.com/louises-search-engine/.

To Conclude

Well, that concludes this 4 part series on How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting.  I hope you have found the content of value and as always, please do leave your comments below and remember to share :-)

As already mentioned, my next post will focus on Google Custom Search Engines and how to set one up, so please remember to check back.  You can subscribe to my posts by checking the appropriate box after the comment box.

How to increase traffic with blog commenting

How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting – Part 3

How to increase traffic with blog commenting

Part 3 – Get Ready To Comment

In parts 1 & 2 of this 4 part series on how to increase traffic to your blog with blog commenting, we have discussed how to prepare our blog for visitors and how to prepare it for blog commenters.  If you missed either of these posts, you can visit them by clicking on the links below.  In part 3 today, we are going to Get Ready To Comment, which involves finding suitable sites to comment on.

Part 1 – Prepare your blog for visitors
Part 2 – Prepare your blog for commenters
Part 3 – Get ready to commenttoday’s topic
Part 4 – Go and comment & Keeping it up

What To Look For When Finding Blogs To Comment On

In essence, what we are looking for are blogs that fulfill two criteria:

1.  Do-Follow blogs that will allow us to leave a link back to our own blog post, which essentially means blogs that have the CommentLuv plugin enabled (free or paid versions).  Not only are we wanting visitors to click on that link, but it also provides a valuable backlink to our blog, as we have discussed in part 2 of this series.

2. Blogs that are in our own niche or a related niche:  Clearly a blog in the same or related niche is going to attract the types of visitors who will also be interested in our blog and are therefore more likely to click on the links we have added to our comments.

A related niche might be a Real Estate blog for a Mortgage Broker, since anyone looking for a mortgage is also going to be house hunting.  In other words, think about where your potential visitors and clients might be hanging out.

Finding related niches is also a good strategy for niches where there are not many other bloggers.

Commenting On Big Brand & Authority Sites:

Whilst these sites may not have CommentLuv enabled, if they are in or related to our niche, they are still places where our potential visitors will be hanging out.  Commenting on these sites, in addition to CommentLuv enabled sites, will help get your name recognised in these communities and help build your own brand.

How to find blogs in your niche:

You can obviously start with Google, but here are some additional ideas on how to find blogs in your niche:

1. CommentLuv has it’s own search engine that includes blogs subscribed to their services and are therefore using CommentLuv. It is easy to find blogs in your niche this way, as you can search by keyword. There are around 65,000 CommentLuv enabled sites and the top 5000 are included in the CommentLuv search engine.  You will need to be an email subscriber of CommentLuv,  or logged into your CommentLuv account to access this search engine.  If you don’t already have an account, you can get one here.

2. Visit sites that list CommentLuv enabled blogs.  Some also allow you to list your blog, so go through these and get your blog listed on relevant sites.  Ileane Smith,  Andy Bailey’s official CommentLuv ambassador, has put together a great list of lists of CommentLuv enabled blogs for us.  Check them out in her blog post  ‘The Ultimate Collection of CommentLuv Blog Lists’

3.  Use Drop My Link to search for sites by keyword and add selection criteria, such as ‘CommentLuv Enabled’ or ‘DoFollow’.  This one I ‘stole’ from Ileane’s blog post mentioned above, who was herself introduced to the site by Justin from DragonBlogger  :-)

3. Google [related] advanced search operator looks for “co-citation”, i.e. pages that have similar backlink sources to the one submitted. Type [related]your keyword into the Google search box. You can further refine your search by clicking on blogs in the left sidebar to find blogs only.  This is a great way to find authority sites. They may or may not of course have CommentLuv enabled.

4. Once you have found some authority domains in your niche, use Similicio to find similar domains.  This site uses the preferences of Delicious users who have bookmarked sites.

5. Use Google Trends:  Just enter the url of an authority site to find 10 sites frequented by that domain’s audience.  This only works with authority site url’s.

6. Use Alexa to find sites related to a keyword or website url.

7.  Finally, use a SEO toolbar plugin or extension, such as SEOQuake to quickly assess the traffic and authority of a site when searching for authority sites.

To Conclude..

Ok, I’m out of ideas, but that should be more than enough to plan your blog commenting strategy to increase traffic to your blog. 

In part 4 of  How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog, we’ll finally get to go and comment on some blogs and I’ll be discussing basic etiquette when blog commenting and how to keep the blog commenting going.

I hope you have found these tips useful and please do remember to share if you have enjoyed my post and leave me your comments and questions below :-)

PS. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase via this link, I will receive a commission. You will never pay any more for a product by purchasing via my link.

How To Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting – Part 2

Blog Commenting

 

Welcome to part 2 of how to increase traffic to your blog with blog commenting.  In Part 1, we discussed how to prepare your blog for visitors and today we are going to look at how to prepare your blog for commenters.

Just to recap, this is a 4 part series, based on Andy Baily’s blog commenting recommendations and with a few of my own ideas thrown in.  

 

Here are the 4 parts and today we are discussing Part 2 – Prepare your blog for commenters:

Part 1 – Prepare your blog for visitors
Part 2 – Prepare your blog for commenters
Part 3 – Get ready to comment
Part 4 – Go and comment & Keeping it up

 

How To Prepare Your Blog For Commenters

1.  Create A Comment Policy

Commenters will generally see what type of comments are already on your site and follow that lead. If they see lots of short one line comments, such as ‘great post. Will definitely bookmark’, other commenters are likely to leave similar comments. Setting out your commenting guidelines is a great way to set the standard, increase the likelyhood of more valuable comments and reduce the number of comments just made to get a backlink.

You can check out my blog commenting policy here as an example.

2.  Install Effective Anti-Spam Software

Effective Anti-Spam software is imperative.  There are plenty of options out there.  Akismet is one possibility and comes pre-installed on all wordpress installations, although I have heard mixed reports about it and I am not personally a fan of this plugin.

GASP (Grow Map Anti SpamBot) is in my opinion a much better alternative and recommended by many wordpress experts. There is a free version, but the premium option adds greater functionality and  protection.  GASP premium is of course included in Andy Baily’s Premium CommentLuv plugin.  Since upgrading to the paid version of GASP, I have had virtually no spam comments at all.

Which leads me neatly to the next point:

3. Add CommentLuv Plugin – Free Or Paid Version

CommentLuv allows commenters to include a link to their latest blog post.  This not only creates a valuable backlink to their blog, but will also encourage more visits to their site, especially if they can link to a post on their blog on a related topic .  It’s a great way to give back to commenters and will encourage more comments.  Some people argue that it will increase spam, but a good anti spam  plugin and strict blog commenting policy will take care of that.  Make sure your comments go for moderation prior to publication, at least for the first comment from any contributor.

The free version of CommentLuv allows your commenters to add a link to their latest post,  but the paid version is eight plugins rolled into one and includes a number of additional functions.  I won’t include all the features of CommentLuv here … that is a blog post in its own right :-), but you can check out the plugin here for yourself.  I think it is excellent value.

4. Add KeywordLuv Plugin

KeywordLuv is another must-have WordPress plugin, although again, if you are using the paid version of CommentLuv, there will be no need for this plugin, as CommentLuv will take care of keywords.

In a nutshell, the KeywordLuv plugin allows commenters to add their keywords to their name when commenting, so I could be “Louise@mykeyword” for example.  Again, this is a way to give back to your commenters.  Without this plugin, the links to your commenters’ posts will link to your commenter’s name, whereas this plugin allows them to have their post linked to more meaningful anchor text, again increasing the value of the backlink.

5. Do-Follow

Make sure your blog is set up as ‘do-follow’. WordPress.org is ‘no-follow’ by default. If your blog comments are ‘no-follow’, you will only be passing on a fraction of the link juice to your commenters with CommentLuv installed.  I have been using the Dofollow plugin for some time,  but I notice it has not been updated for over a year.  A more recently updated plugin is Smart DoFollow.  This also enjoys a five star rating, but I have not tested this one out.

6. Give people the option to subscribe to comments

The advantage of people subscribing to your comments is that they will receive an email when there are new comments on your post and/or when you reply to their comment, depending on which plugin you use.   If you receive a lot of comments, the ‘subscribe to all comments option’ could be annoying for your visitors as each new comment will generate a new email.  In this case a ‘reply to my comment only’ type plugin is more suitable.

There are plenty of plugin options and here are just a few:

1. Subscribe to Comments: Tried and tested, this plugin sends an email to the subscriber every time someone leaves a comment on a post. This is great to get started with, but as we already discussed, it could be annoying for users where there are lots of comments. It does however have a management panel where commenters can manage their subscriptions.

2. ReplyMe: Recommended and loved by many professional bloggers. This plugin only sends one email when you reply to their comment only. So they get to see your reply and hopefully come back and keep the conversation going. The only downside to this plugin is that commenters don’t know they are being subscribed, unless you tell them somewhere on your site.

3. JetpackJetpack is a collection of plugins, all rolled into one and comes with  Wordpress. You have to connect it to a wordpress.com account, but it does save on the number of plugins you need and includes a ‘subscribe to comments’ option. However, it functions similarly to the ‘subscribe to comments’ plugin mentioned above, with the same disadvantages. On the plus side though, it enjoys excellent deliverablilty of emails.

4.  Subscribe to Comments Reloaded: This is my preferred option, although I have only recently started using it. It gives commenters three options:

1.  Subscribe to all comments
2.  Subscribe to the reply to their comment only
3.  Subscribe to nothing.

Visitors can subscribe to comments without leaving a comment and you can select the default option. Commenters can also manage their subscriptions, although it involves having a link sent to them by email.

7. Add a ‘Subscribe to Posts’ Option

Just like the ‘subscribe to comments’ option, this will help bring people back to your blog, only this time when you publish your next post. Again there are several options here. My favourite is the one included in ‘Jetpack’, which again enjoys good deliverability.

 

Ok, now we have prepared your blog for commenters in our quest to increase traffic to your blog with blog commenting.  My next post I’ll discuss how we get ready to comment with tips on how to find suitable blogs to comment on.

If you have enjoyed this post, please remember to share and I welcome your comments below.  I’d particularly like to hear about YOUR favourite plugins and why you love them.

PS. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase via this link, I will receive a commission. You will never pay any more for a product by purchasing via my link.

Blog Commenting Policy for louisesteiner.com

How To Get Traffic To Your Blog With Blog Commenting-Part1

Blog Commenting Policy for louisesteiner.com

Andy Baily, creator of CommentLuv is in my opinion one of the greatest authorities on blog commenting and I had the good fortune of attending a webinar led by him the other day on the subject  of  how to get traffic to your blog with an effective blog commenting strategy.

As you would expect from Andy, the webinar was packed with valuable information, so I thought I would share some of it here.  In the interest of not writing a 2000 word post, I have split this post into four parts which I will publish at approximately 3 day intervals.

Most of the information in this series of posts has been drawn from Andy’s webinar, with some of my own additions. I thought I was pretty up to speed on blog commenting, and for you seasoned bloggers out there, some of this information will of course also be familiar, however, I was impressed with the comprehensive information Andy shared on how to get traffic to your blog with blog commenting.

Why Blog Commenting?

Blog commenting is widely recognised a a great way to build free traffic to our blogs.  Not only will our blogs benefit from additional traffic, the increased traffic will also lead to more comments on our own sites,  that will in turn help build a lively community.

Unwritten etiquette dictates that you should return the favour when someone takes the time to comment on your site, and comment on their site also. Whilst not everyone is going to return that favour, especially the big authority and brand sites, many will, and this is a great way to build traffic to your site.

Leaving regular comments that add value to the topic in question will also position you as an authority on that subject and visitors to that site will also visit your site, provided of course you are able to leave a link to your blog, which essentially means the blog needs to be CommentLuv enabled.  More on finding  CommentLuv enabled blogs in another post.

You will of course also benefit from generating backlinks to your site if the site you are commenting on is CommentLuv enabled, and, although Google no longer places such emphasis on backlinks as it did in pre Penguin days, quality backlinks from authority sites in your niche and related niches are still on Google’s radar.

Of course Google is also monitoring social interaction on our sites when ranking our web pages, and blog commenting is a great way to bring engagement and fresh content (also on Google’s radar) to our sites.

Overview

So how do we go about setting up a successful blog commenting strategy? I have broken this down into five steps, which are:

1. Prepare Your Blog For Visitors
2. Prepare Your Blog For Commenters
3. Get Ready To Comment
4. Start Commenting
5. Keeping Up With Commenting

In this post I will only be covering point one, ‘Prepare your blog for visitors’ and the other points will be addressed in future posts.

1. Prepare your blog for visitors

Before we get going with our blog commenting, we first of all need to get our own house in order and prepare our blog for visitors.  Here are some tips on what needs to be put in place on our sites.

Set up an ‘About’ page

People do visit this page to find out more about you and why you have started your blog.   Make it personal but start off by telling your visitors how you will help them.   Add a video if you can.

Set up a ‘Contact’ page

Fairly obvious.  People need to be able to contact you.

Add easy to find social media buttons

Make it as easy as possible for people to connect with you, so you can start to build relationships with your visitors.

Write 3 -5 pillar articles or posts

These should provide an overview of what your site is about and be as evergreen as possible, focusing on the main topics of your site and your main keywords. These are your link-bait if you will. One could be titled ‘A brief introduction to…your niche subject’ for example.

You can also use infographics for one post to great effect and including video is of course always a good option

Conclusion

That brings me to the end of part 1 of my series on how to increase traffic to your blog.  Part 2 will focus on the steps you need to take to prepare your blog for commenters that will make them feel at home and help them return to your site time and time again.  It will also include some great plugins that are essential for any blog, including, yes, you guessed it the CommentLuv plugin :-)

I always appreciate your feedback, so please leave me a comment below and if you have enjoyed this post, please remember to share the love :-)

PS. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase via this link, I will receive a commission. You will never pay any more for a product by purchasing via my link.

how to make a mobile version of your website

8 Tips On How To Make A Mobile Version Of Your Website

how to make a mobile version of your website

There is no question that every business needs a website, no matter whether it an online or local business. And as I discussed in my previous post, ‘Why Every Business Needs A Mobile Version Of Its Website’, the rise in popularity of mobile devices also means that every website needs a mobile-friendly version. If you missed my previous post you can read it here.  But in this post I am going to discuss how to make a mobile version of your website.

 

Mobile-Friendly WordPress Blogs

If your website is a wordpress blog, then there are several plugins, such as WPtouch, that will do the job for you and make your site mobile friendly. But if you are a local business, a plugin is probably not going to cut it.

Responsive WordPress Themes

There are some WordPress themes emerging, known as ‘Responsive WordPress Themes’, where the website essentially adapts to the platform the user is viewing the site from.   This means that your content will be displayed correctly to all users, regardless of whether they are using a desktop or mobile device. The great thing about responsive themes is that you only have one theme to maintain, and the need for a separate mobile version of your site is removed.   This is a great option for any business starting from scratch.

Mobile-Friendly Websites for Local Business

But if you are a local business and already have a website, adding a mobile site is still a must. There are plenty of programmes available that will allow you to create a mobile version of your website, but just creating a miniature version of the full site is not going to do the job.

As discussed in my previous post, most people conducting local searches are looking for very specific information when accessing the website of a local business on a mobile device, and it is therefore essential to ensure that the mobile-friendly site gives easy access to that information on an easy to navigate platform.

Here are my 8 top tips on how to make a mobile version of your website:

1. Only Include Relevant Content

Think about what information your site visitors are likely to be looking for. In the case of a local business it is usually a phone number, address and directions or opening hours, and if you are a restaurant, maybe a menu. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and make sure the information they are seeking is easily accessible with the click of a thumb or finger.

2. Plan Your Layout With Care

Don’t clutter your site with unneccessary information. This will slow down the loading time of your site and people will leave. Keep the home-page layout simple and easy to navigate. Avoid using flash and java and keep the use of images to a minimum. White space is your friend. Don’t cram too much information on to each page. Less is more and will again allow your visitors to navigate the site with greater ease.

3. Design For Multiple Device & Browser Compatibility

The mobile version of your website must be compatible with every smartphone operating system. Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry are probably the most significant ones. It also needs to display correctly in the various internet browsers used by mobile devices, just like a full website needs to be compatible with the various browsers on a desktop, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and so on.

4. Include Social Media Icons

These will allow your visitors to easily ‘like’ your Facebook Page or share your site or special offer in a tweet, increasing your online presence and giving visitors the option to stay connected with your business.

5. Use Mobile Redirect Script

Adding a redirect script to your main website will identify visitors who are accessing your website from a mobile device and automatically redirect them to the mobile-friendly site.

6. Always Provide A Link To The Main Website

Since the mobile-friendly site is a much lighter version of the full website, offering a link to the main website will give people the option to easily switch to the main site, should the information they are looking for not be included on the mobile site.

7. The Site Should Be ‘Thumb-Friendly’

Make sure any links can easily be clicked with a thumb or finger and keep text to a minimum. This is often small to read and most visitors are not inclined in reading reams of text on their mobile devices.

8. Keep Branding Congruent On All Sites

Design the look and feel of your mobile site in keeping with your main website and other branding. Branding builds trust and familiarity and makes your business and products easily identifiable.

 

I hope my tips on how to make a mobile version of your website have been a help in getting you started, but if you need some assistance, I specialise in helping local businesses connect with local consumers by establishing a strong mobile presence.

Contact me at louise@weavethewebconsulting to arrange a free consultation.

 

How to get more customers online - free ebook

Why Every Local Business Needs A Mobile Version Of Its Website

How to get more customers online - free ebook

The Move To Online Search

In the last 10 years we have seen a fundamental transformation and shift in how we use the internet. The internet now performs an integral part in our daily lives and we rely on it for everything from doing our banking to reading the news, to socialising with friends and much more.

It has also become the go-to place for finding information.  Add to that the exponential growth in the use of smartphones, and it is easy to see why this move to searching for everything online is gathering momentum and why every business needs a mobile version of its website.

  • Did you know that mobile searches have increased by 400% since 2010?
  • Or that it is predicted that by 2015 there will be one mobile device for every person on earth?
  • Or that by 2013, more people will go online via mobile devices than via a PC?

Source: http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/why-go-mo/#reasons-mobile-matters

The Importance Of Mobile Searches For Local Businesses

According to Google, 20 percent of all searches are related to location. And comScore reports that Google served up an 12.2billion searches in March 2012. That means that over 2.4 billion searches were related to location. In other words, these were searches for a local business.

For local businesses, the significance of these statistics is magnified, when you consider that 95% of people have at some stage searched for a local business on their smartphone.

 The need for  mobile-friendly websites

What Makes A Good Mobile-Friendly Website For A Local Business?

Many businesses just have a smaller version of their main site, but not only is such a site incredibly difficult to read and navigate, it also fails to deliver the information that most people coming to your site on a mobile device are looking for.  In the case of local businesses, that is your contact and location information.

This contact and location information should be easily accessible from the home page and be thumb-friendly and clickable. The remainder of the mobile version of the website should be a paired down version of the main site, with a link to the full site. Here is an example of how a “regular” website would display on a typical smartphone. It’s very difficult to read, and even if you were to zoom in, it would be difficult to navigate and find the information you were seeking.

Poor example of a mobile version of website

And here is an example of a well designed mobile-friendly website:

As you can see, the home page interface is far more user-friendly for a mobile user, with easy to navigate, clickable buttons, including contact and location information. Also many smartphones have GPS functionality built in, which means the phone can bring up directions straight to your buisiness if the GPS coordinates have been programmed in.

A final thought on mobile versions of websites…

…and showing the significance of mobile for ANY business…

“Tiffany’s website originally wasn’t optimised for mobile viewing. Once the company optimised the site for mobile, sales from the company’s website grew 125%!” –  Quote by Tomi Ahonen at the  Mobile Web Africa conference, held in Johannesburg, Feb 2012 Source:  PhoneArena

If you have enjoyed this post and would like to learn more great tips on how to develop a strategic online marketing strategy for your business, that will get your business found online, grab a copy of my FREE report:

‘How To Get More Customers Online – What Being Online Really Means For Local Business’

Click Here To Sign Up And Get Instant Access

Pinterest Copyright - Image by Los Amigos Del Fuego

Things You Should Know About Pinterest Copyright

Pinterest Copyright - Image by Los Amigos Del Fuego

In my previous post, “Can I Use Pinterest In My Business?” I talked about how to use Pinterest in business, even if you have a non-visual brand.  In one of the comments, Adrienne Smith raised the important issue of ‘copyright’.  This prompted me to delve a little deeper into the subject of Pinterest copyright and I thought it might be useful if I shared what I have found.  I have looked at this from the perspective of the user, not the copyright owner, which of course a completely different angle.

Before I start, please note that I am not a Lawyer, and that there is no clear cut answer as to whether or not it is safe to share images in Pinterest without the risk of one day having a copyright lawsuit slapped against you.  However, there do appear to be some steps that we can take that will reduce that risk to a minimum.  It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not they wish to use Pinterest or if they feel they are running an unacceptable risk by doing so.

I have taken this information from the post ‘Why Deleting Your Pinterest Boards Over Copyright concerns Is An Overreaction‘, by John William Nelson, International Copyright Lawyer, a lengthy, but excellent post that, in my opinion, projects a balanced view of the copyright issues when sharing images on Pinterest and Social Media in general, as well as discussing some of the steps we can take to reduce these risks to a minimum.

I strongly recommend John William Nelson’s article to everyone using Pinterest, whether for personal or business use, in order to make an informed decision. At a very minimum I would suggest reading the ‘Fair Use’ section, ‘Avoiding Copyright Issues on Pinterest’ and the ‘Conclusion’ at the end.

‘Fair Use’ and Pinterest Copyright

Central to the Pinterest copyright argument seems to be the issue of  ‘Fair Use’ (Copyright Act Section 107), which in essence allows the fair use of copyrighted work.  ‘Fair Use’ is not defined, but revolves around four major issues.  Here is how John William Nelson defines them:

'Fair Use And Pinterest' by John William Nelson

John William Nelson discusses in detail (Section: Fair Use Probably Applies To Most Pinterest Users) how Pinterest users might be impacted by these four criteria.  In a nutshell, it seems points one and four would most likely favour the Pinterest user, whilst points two and three are more likely to favour the copyright owner.

How To Avoid Pinterest Copyright Issues

Here are some suggestions on how to avoid copyright issues on Pinterest:

  1. Use your own photos and images.  This is fairly obvious.  You own the copyright to these photos and images.
  2. Never upload an image without the owner’s personal permission.  
  3. Carefully read any licensing restrictions that may be attached to an image with a ‘creative commons’ license or an image that has been purchased.
  4. Cite photos:  If sharing other people’s photos or images, which after all is what Pinterest is intended for, make sure they are properly cited.  This means properly attributing the photos or images to their original author and likely copyright owner and including links.  Make sure the original owner of the image is cited, which may not necessarily be the person who shared it.  If the image has not been properly cited, don’t share it.
  5. Only use your Pinterest board for non-commercial purposes.  Using Pinterest for private use is fine, but if you are a business using Pinterest for marketing purposes, be careful how you do so.

John William Nelson’s article concludes that “If your use of an image on Pinterest is non-commercial, if you properly cite the image and refer back to the copyright owner, and you are using it to express yourself, then you will have a strong fair use argument.”

Not the most exciting subject matter I know, but I wanted to share this information, to bring to everyone’s attention the responsibility we all share when posting and sharing images on Social Media sites.  Most social media sites, if you read their terms and conditions, will require you to verify that you own the copyright to any image before you upload it to their site.  Take note of this small print…it’s important!  And finally, be careful sharing images.  Just because they are already on Pinterest doesn’t necessarily mean they are not in breach of Pinterest copyright rules.  

Be safe and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this rather controversial issue in your comments below.  Also, please share if you think it is worth sharing :-)

Pinterest

Can I Use Pinterest In My Business?

Pinterest

Having observed the meteoric rise in popularity of Pinterest, I decided it was time to get up to speed with what all the fuss is about and see if I can use Pinterest in My Business.

Pinterest does not share much information about it’s user base or traffic, but I have heard it said that Pinterest is now driving more traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined and is also driving more traffic than Twitter. It is widely considered to be the third most popular social media site, only surpassed by Twitter and Facebook.

The Power Of Images

We’ve heard the saying that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and this is equally true on on any social media platform. Images on Facebook for example get far more ‘likes’, comments and ‘shares’ than plain text posts without images. So the addage ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ still holds true today and there is little wonder that Pinterest has taken off the way it has.

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an image sharing platform, where you can ‘pin’ images. Images can be grouped together in various image boards and people can follow, like, share and comment on images.

This type of medium is obviously perfect for any visually driven brand, such as Travel, Fashion, Photography, Sport, Artists, Wedding related industries and home design, to name just a few. For example, “Better Homes and Gardens’ have 89 image boards, including topics such as “Curb Appeal”, “Gorgeous Garden Plants” and “Livable Living Rooms”, with almost 3000 pins and more than 158,000 followers.  Pinterest is perfect for their brand.

Pinterest For Non-Visual Brands

But what if your brand is not visually driven? What if you are an Accountant, or Lawyer, or in my case an Online Marketing Consultant? Can you still use Pinterest effectively in your business? You bet. Enter the “Infographic”.

An Infographic is an image based on information. This can include a flow chart or simply adding text to an image background. This is a powerful way of displaying information in a graphic way that many people prefer to reading plain text.

Here are a couple of examples of an Infographic I found on Mari Smith’s Pinterest Board and as you can see, they can be quite complex, or quite simple.

Infographic Example from Mari Smith's Pinterest Board

Infographic from Mari Smith's Pinterest board

Tips For Using Pinterest In Business

Here are some tips on how to use Pinterest effectively in your business:

1. Make information visual: If your brand is highly visual, then you will have no trouble finding gorgeous pictures to pin. If your business is more information based, create “Infographics” as discussed above. Use an image editing program such as Pixlr or Paint.net  (both free) to create simple Infographics.

2. Longer images perform better: Studies have shown that longer images perform better than shorter ones. So make your images as tall as possible. 800pixels is a good height.

3. Create tutorials and ‘how to’ pins. These enjoy a 42% higher click through rate.

4. Pin videos from YouTube or Vimeo.  Pinterest isn’t just about images. You can ‘pin’ videos also.

5. Pin results and testimonials. For example before and after results. This can be in the form of images or graphics.

6. Add Captions to your pins:  Remember to add a caption to your pin. This is equally as important as the image itself.

The caption should include:

  • A call to action
  • Keywords
  • A price if relevant – this will increase the number of likes by 36%.
  • A link. This can be to a blog post, an opt-in page, product page or YouTube channel. Wherever you would like to send your visitors.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use Pinterest in Business, no matter what type of business you have.

If you liked this post, please remember to share it with your friends and followers and as always I welcome your comments below.

Facebook Pages Cover Photo

Facebook Pages Timeline – Your 9 Step Guide To The New Timeline

In my previous post, ‘Quick Guide To Facebook page Changes 29th February 2012′ I outlined the changes that Facebook is introducing to pages as of 30th March 2012. Love them or hate them, these changes are mandatory and here to stay, so it is in every page owner’s interest to ensure their Facebook page is Timeline ready by the end of the month. This post summarises the most important steps you need to take to get your page ready for the new Facebook Pages Timeline.

As you know, Default Landing Tabs are gone, however, all apps will continue to work post 30th March….we just can’t set a landing page to send our first time visitors to by default. The URL of our default landing tabs will however still work, and we can continue to drive traffic to those pages from external sources or via Facebook Ads.

Here is your 9 step guide to mastering the new Timeline for Facebook Pages…

….but if this all looks too complicated or you are pressed for time, I will be happy to assist. Simply email me at louise@weavethewebconsulting.com for a free consultation and estimate.

Facebook Pages Cover Photo

1. Create A New Cover Photo

We have 851x315px to play with, so make good use of that space. Use it to tell visitors to your page what you are about. But please do not add any contact information, calls to action, arrows pointing at the ‘like’ button or anything that promotes your business in any way to these cover images. Check out Facbook’s Guidelines for full details of what you can and cannot do with that space. Focus on using images and maybe your Page name. Head over to http://pixlr.com for a free editing tool where you can create a great image or get someone on http://fiverr.com to create an image for you for $5.

Hover over the Cover image and click the edit button to add your new cover image.

2. Profile Image

The profile image sits in the bottom left hand corner of your cover photo and will also be your thumbnail when posting on your or other sites, so make sure it will also look good in the smaller format. The Profile Image is intended to be used for your logo, brand or headshot and is 180x180px in size, rendering down to 32x32px for the thumbnail image.

Hover over the profile image and click on the edit button to upload your new profile picture.

3. Rearrange & Customise Your Tabs

The tabs that used to appear in the left sidebar beneath your profile image will now appear in a more prominent position beneath the Cover Photo, and are now known as ‘App Displays’. The first tab or app display is a link to your ‘photos’ and this is fixed, always displaying your latest photo. The three App Displays to the right of the photos can be changed and re-ordered, and I suggest you put the three most important App Displays in there. The rest of your former tabs will still be displayed (up to 12 in total), but people will need to click on the little arrow on the right to expand the area for them to become visible. It therefore makes sense to select the three most important pages that you would like people to click on. You might want to include your previous default landing tab here, although in all honesty I am not sure how many people will actually click on these app displays….but time will tell.

You can now also easily add custom images to your app display buttons, which is highly recommended to draw peoples’ attention to them. The image needs to be 111x74px and to upload it, simply click on the ‘Manage’ –> ‘edit page’ button at the top of your admin panel above the new cover photo –> click on ‘Applications’ –> select the application you wish to change the image for –> You can also change the title of the app display here –> click on ‘change’ under Custom App Image –> this will bring up a small window….click change again and you will be able to browse for your image and upload it.

There was a bug in Facebook that was making it difficult to upload some images and it would upload random images not associated with your page. I have not seen any official notification, but as far as I can tell, the bug has now been resolved by Facebook.

Whilst rearranging all your tabs or App Displays, you might also want to check how they now display with the wider page width of 810px. Simply centering the information is usually sufficient to make the old pages look ok, but clearly the wider page width does give us more scope when designing new pages.

4. Edit ‘About”

The ‘About’ text now appears in a more prominent position right below the Cover image, to the left. For local businesses it automatically pulls up contact information, but for public figures for example, you can edit the text. Make sure you give a great summary of what your page is about and include a link to your website or contact information, depending on where you want to send people to. You have 155 characters to complete your About information.

5. Private Messaging

Private Messaging is a brand new feature for Facebook pages. This feature is switched on by default, however you can disable it if you wish. To do this, click on ‘Manage’ –> ‘Edit Page’ at the top of the admin panel –> Manage Permissions and untick the ‘Messages’ box.

Note that you cannot initiate messaging, but you can respond to any message received, which can be from people who have liked or not liked your page. You can send two messages for every message received.

6. Check Your Facebook Page Timeline

The Wall now displays as a Timeline, so go back and make sure you are happy with your Facebook Page Timeline and how your business presents. Are there any important events missing?  You can add posts retrospectively if you wish by changing the date of the post via the edit button in the top right hand corner of the post.

7. Milestones

Facebook Milestones
You might like to add some Milestones, such as when your business moved to new premises or launched a new product. These can be added retrospectively by clicking on the ‘Milestone’ button as you write your Status Update and adjusting the date accordingly. Milestones also allow you to add an image that will span the whole width of the timeline.

8. Highlights

By highlighting a post, it will appear more prominently, spreading right across the page. Use this for posts you would like to draw people’s attention to. Hover your mouse over the status update and click on the star in the top right hand corner to highlight a post.

Facebook Pages Highlighted Post

 

Facebook Pages Highlighted Post

Highlighted posts span the entire width of the Facebook Page Timeline

9. Pinned Posts

We may have lost our default landing pages, but we can now ‘pin’ a selected post to the top of our Wall or Timeline, so that it is the first thing anyone landing on our page will see. Use this for special promotions, competitions or even to draw attention to your free give-away on your former default landing page. To pin a post, simply hover your mouse over the post and click on the edit button top right –> click on ‘pin to top’. You can pin a post for up to seven days.

Facebook Pages Pinned Posts

Done For You Service

That concludes your 9 step guide to the Facebook Pages Timeline changes that are coming about on 30th March 2012. Work your way through those steps and your Facebook page will be Timline ready.

Once again, if you are pressed for time or simply want someone else to take care of getting your page ready for the timeline, please email me on louise@weavethewebconsulting.com for a free consultation and estimate. I will be glad to help.

Finally, if you found this information helpful, please remember to share with your friends and leave a comment below.

Quick Guide to facebook page changes 29 february 2012

Quick Guide To Facebook Page Changes 29th February 2012

Quick Guide to facebook page changes 29 february 2012Today Facebook finally announced its much anticipated changes to Facebook Pages. There has been much speculation about whether Pages would be moving to a timeline format and whether or not we would lose our tabs,  in particular our default landing tabs.

Facebook Pages ARE moving to a timeline format as of 30th March 2012.  And as for our tabs and default landing tabs, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ & ‘no’! What does that mean? Well, all tabs will still be available, but we can no longer send new visitors to our default landing tabs. First time visitors will instead be sent straight to the wall. On the plus side though, our tabs will be displayed in a more prominent position on our pages and we have some other cool new tools to play with.

So here is a quick summary of the changes….

New Cover Photo and Profile Picture

As expected, Facebook is introducing the timeline format to pages, and similar to the new timeline profile pictures on our personal profiles, we will now have a cover photo (851x315pixels) where we can showcase our business, as well as a smaller profile picture to display either our logo or personal profile picture. The latter is the image that will appear next to all our posts.

Be sure to check Facebook’s terms and conditions before going to town on a new cover photo though…..there are things that cannot be included, such as purchase information, contact information, any call to action or request to ‘like’ or ‘share’ a page, or an arrow pointing at the ‘like’ button or similar.

Photos & Custom Apps

As already mentioned, our tabs or apps will now feature more prominently under the cover photo. We can select the order in which they appear, so we have control over which tabs, apps or photos we feature most prominently.  the remaining tabs can be accessed by clicking on a small arrow to the right.

Pinned Posts

We can select our most important post that we want to feature at the top of our page’s wall and ‘pin’ it to the top of the wall, so that it is the first post anyone arriving at our page will see.  Posts can be pinned for up to 7 days at a time.

Larger Stories

We can ‘star’ any post we want displayed more prominently in our timeline/wall and it will enlarge that post/photo. We can also hide any less engaging posts we choose.

Milestones

We can now set milestones that define key events in our business, such as winning an award or reaching a certain number of likes. A photo of 843x403pixels can be added.

Friend Activity

Prominently displayed, this will show how many of someone’s friends like a page as well as what someone’s friends are saying about the business/page.

Admin Panel

The admin panel will appear at the top of any page we administer, and offers quick access to notifications, page insights, edit panel and messages, as well as an activity log (via the ‘manage’ button) where we can manage page posts.

Messages

People who have ‘liked’ our page will be able to send a direct message to the administrator of the page and the administrator will  be able to respond. This will be great for people offering customer service via their Facebook Page. But note, the personal message can only be initiated by the customer, not the administrator.

Offers

A new feature that will allow any  page owner to share discounts and promotions for fans is being rolled out over the next few weeks. Offers can be promoted via the news feed or sponsored stories

Insights

Changes are being made to Insights that will provide more meaningful data that will allow us to monitor exactly what works on our pages and what doesn’t.

 

And here you can see what a new page looks like.  We can preview our pages in the new format now and convert if we wish, but as of 30th March 2012, all Facebook Pages will be converted to the new timeline format.

Quick guide to facebook page changes 29th february 2012

If you would like to see some live pages, here are a few examples….

Coldplay – https://www.facebook.com/coldplay

CocaCola – https://www.facebook.com/cocacola

American Express – https://www.facebook.com/americanexpress

I hope you have found this quick guide to Facebook Pages Changes helpful.  I believe that with these changes Facebook is trying to get the message across that Facebook Pages are not a broadcasting platform.  Instead they are intended for building communities of people who engage in conversations about a particular business, thus creating dialog and engagement.

What do you think about the changes?  Please leave me your comments and any additions to the changes below.

Gavin Mountford's Empty Email Inbox Formula

Email Overload? Check Out ‘The Empty Email Inbox Formula’….It’s Free!

Gavin  Mountford's Empty Email Inbox Formula

It’s a New Year and time for many of us to take stock in our businesses, make plans for the coming year and clear out the rubbish from last year. In my case that has included my email inbox and trying to get to grips with the Email Overload that seems to afflict most of us these days. So when Gavin Mountford offered me the opportunity to check out his ‘Empty Email Inbox Formula‘ for free, I jumped at the chance to finally get to grips with my Email Overload. And I’m really glad I did….

 

So, let me ask you this….How many emails land in your email inbox on a daily basis? 50, 100, 300 or even more? If you’ve been online for a while, chances are that you have signed up to endless email lists and you are struggling with email overload. But how many of these emails are you actually reading? How many are still relevant to your business or are you deleting them without so much as a glance? And, most importantly, how much time are you wasting every day, sifting through all these emails to find the ones that are actually relevant to you?

Although I consider myself fairly well organised, I was still suffering from email overload, so I was curious to find out what Gavin’s ‘Empty Email Inbox Formula‘ would teach me.  I spent about an hour reading through his free pdf report and watching the 5 short video tutorials and then I set to work….

Within a short space of time I had a fully re-organised email inbox and the number of messages in my inbox were vastly reduced from over 4000 to around 1500. I’ve been implementing Gavin’s system for about a week now and manage to empty my inbox on a daily basis. I’m still working on ‘filing’ or deleting the remaining 1500 odd old messages in my inbox, doing a few a day and I can’t wait for my completely empty email inbox, which I expect to reach before the end of next week :-)  What impressed me the most was how big an impact just a few small adjustments could make.

Tackling Email Overload With The Empty Email Inbox Formula
Some Key Points

Gavin’s system operates around a few key points….

 

  • Empty your email inbox on a daily basis
  • Only check your email twice a day
  • Unsubscribe from emails you are not reading on a regular basis. You can always re-subscribe at a later date
  • File or label all emails into categories, such as Action, Read later, Waiting for Reply, Keep for Reference and so on and then set aside certain times of the day to deal with each category.
  • Filter all email accounts into one email address, so you only have one email address to check.
  • Deal with any email that will take less than 2 minutes there and then.

 

I have been amazed at what a difference it makes implementing these simple techniques in terms of the time it now takes me to deal with my inbox and my email overload. Instead of getting hung up reading stuff in the mornings….my most productive time of day….I now file these emails somewhere where I can easily find them at a specific time I have allocated for reading essential information. I no longer feel overwhelmed by my email  inbox; instead I know I can plough through it in 10 minutes max every morning and get on with my day…and my email overload has vanished!

Get Your Complimentary Copy Of The ‘Free Email Inbox Formula‘ – For a Limited Time Only

For a limited time, Gavin Mountford is giving away free copies of his ‘Empty Email Inbox Formula‘, which gives access to a 26 page pdf report and 5 video tutorials of about 10 minutes each. Just click on one of the links below to be taken straight to the report or to the video tutorials…and the best part?  No sign up required :-)

Empty Email Inbox Formula’  – Click on this link to get access to 5 video tutorials and a link to the pdf report – no sign up required – just click on “Get Instant Access”

Empty Email Inbox Formula‘ – Click here for Direct Access to the PDF Report and a link to the training videos – no sign up required

Feel free to share the report with as many people as you wish….and please remember to share this post with your friends on your favourite social media sites if you found it useful. I always appreciate your comments and would love to hear how you get on with your ‘Empty Email Inbox Formula‘.

Let’s all start the New Year without Email Overload, and an email inbox that no longer fills us with a feeling of dread :-)

The Empty Email Inbox Formula