Positively Blogging – 9 Tips to Help Bloggers Avoid Negative Nelly

By Sheila Beal

With great enthusiasm, I started blogging about Hawaii vacation planning three months ago.  I’ve been plugging and posting away and know that I’ve definitely been bitten by the blogging bug.   From my experience with blogging, I now truly understand the definition of a labor of love.  I’ve learned that in the early days of a blog, the effort outweighs the rewards. 

As I have been traveling up the steep learning curve, I’ve been searching for advice on how to make a blog successful.  Recently, Problogger posted an excellent guest post from Tim Hamm on 10 techniques he used to grow his blog from  0 to 12,000 RSS subscribers in seven months.  Point number five really resonated with me.  It says “Don’t give into negativity.”  I think it is human nature to feel a bit frustrated and unmotivated when your blog isn’t an instant success, but you can’t let it get the best of you.

Merchant Adoption Rates of Google Checkout vs. PayPal Express

By Ryan Douglas

Recent news through Internet Retailer reports that the adoption rate of Google Checkout is slightly higher with Top 500 retailers than PayPal?s Express Checkout.

It is not surprising to hear this news as I work for a merchant who has offered Google Checkout since it was released to the public back in the summer of 2006. I?ve felt strongly that Google would be able to use this data to help retailers/advertisers offer more effective ads to potential shoppers. That time is still likely to come, but I imagine Google is working on it somewhere.

Widgets are for Affiliate Marketing!

By Ryan Douglas

ShareASale, a growing affiliate management company, released a widget creation tool early last month for merchants. With the ability for merchants to put together a customized widget, a large burden is relieved from the affiliates themselves. No longer does an affiliate have to constantly update their web site to reflect a merchant’s special offers which may include discount promotions, coupons and limited time offers. The unique ability of the merchant providing the content in the widget on an ongoing basis lets the retailer (merchant) have greater control over the desired outcome of their promotion. The merchant picks and chooses the items and offers being pushed to their affiliates. There exists a great opportunity for the affiliate manager to interact and customize offers, display colors and commission rates for specific affiliates.

When Viral Videos Don’t "Blend" As Planned

By Ryan Douglas

This week a team from our company went to Internet Retailer conference as did many of you who read this. We (and I say we because everyone in this company contributed in one way or another) were very proud of our own Tim Jackson and his first speaking engagement at the conference session. Our team had a great time and became well informed of new e-commerce topics, networked with many, and probably partied it up too (the real reason people go to these conferences). But enough of the shameless self plug…

In a previous post this week Greg Howlett brought up the topic of Blendtec and their popular viral marketing videos “Will it Blend?”. The effectiveness, positive or negative, of viral marketing has become increasingly more popular over the last few years. It seems like everyone remembers at least one silly commercial during a Super Bowl halftime, but don’t’ recall what the actual product or service was. We likely told all of our friends about this funny commercial, probably found it online and emailed it to several others, thus completing the viral marketer’s ultimate goal. Blendtec’s success with some home made videos from their test labs worked extremely well for them, did not cost much to produce at all, and seems to really have influenced people to purchase their products; way to go! Now we have videos of users at home blending up all sorts of items (much to Blendtec’s disclaimer not to) and I can watch everything from a Wii remote to operating systems (on cd) get blended up.

Want Google to Optimize Your AdWords Campaign For You? Trash Talk Them!

By Ryan Douglas

I was shocked to read that a small, top online retailer of jewelry had badmouthed the performance of Google’s AdWords program. Google responded by sending a team out to offer services to assist the displeased retailer.

Google AdWords, for many retailers, is a valuable tool that drives millions and millions of dollars in revenue for a whole host of businesses ranging from extremely small one-man-shop’s to behemoth sized organizations looking to advertise on the web. Advertisers are able to control their budgets, measure key performance indicators like ad click through rates, conversion rates and more, using Google Analytics. While it is not easy to advertise all industries on the web and some are more difficult than others there definitely are some very tough industries to advertise for on the web, most retailers are seeing good results. Good results are okay, but great results are even better so it is not unusual for retailers to be constantly vying for top performing ad spots and keywords, while trying to control exponentially growing advertising costs.

Why Will the SEO Industry Change In 2 months? Niche SEO

By Ahmed Bilal.

If you are an SEO consultant, or if you are responsible for purchasing SEO services for your organization, the ideas discussed here may be the most important ideas you read this year.

In a nutshell – the SEO industry is changing. We have integrated link baiting and social media marketing into our SEO toolkits, but now it’s time (and space) for the “step”.

It’s also an end to a cycle – we know (to a great extent) what search engines want and how to give that to them.

But as search marketers, do we know what our clients want?

And as media buyers hiring SEO firms, do we know what options we have?

Free Link Love – To Get It, Give It Up!

By Mary Bowling.

Those of us who have been in the SEO biz for a while tend to want to direct and manipulate the PageRank on our sites. You know the tricks. However, things are very different with blogs and, if you want yours to rank well, you need to let go of that concept.

Blogs are all about linking freely, not just to other posts and pages within your own site, but also out to other websites and blogs.

Blogs are about sharing information and insight. They are about relationships and communities. None of these can spawn or thrive without interaction. Links are their conduit to interaction and to get links, you have to give links. Here’s how and why:

Link out

People usually find out when you link to them, especially other bloggers. This often prompts them come to your blog to find out who you are and what you said about them or about what they said. They may then comment on your blog, link back to you and/or become a member of your community. Using good keywords in your outbound link text will also help to theme your pages.

Comment on other blogs

Because of comment spam, many blogs use no-followed links. Do not let this deter you from commenting. In the sea of spam, intelligent, thought-provoking commentary really stands out and it encourages the blogger and his or her readers to not only respond to your thoughts, but to visit your website, leave their own comments and to link to you.

Use a blogroll

Find and read other blogs on your topic. Then, point links at those you respect with your blogroll. Those bloggers will be alerted to your interest and may respond in kind. There’s also been talk lately, notably by Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea, that Google may somewhat reward blogs using blogrolls.

Use trackbacks

Where enabled, trackbacks allow you to go to other blogs and link back to posts on your blog as related stories. They essentially say, “If this post interests you, you might like this one, too”. These links are valuable, even if they are no-followed, because they may draw the blogger and his readership to your blog and into your community. This may result in links and traffic.

Do follow

Some blog platforms come standard with “no follow” tags on links in the comments. While leaving these enabled does deter some spammers, it will not keep most of them away. I prefer to reward readers who leave good comments with a link, so they will return and become part of my blog community and, perhaps, link to me. If your blog links are no-followed by default, search for appropriate “do follow” plugins to disable this feature.

Use good internal linking strategies

Links between your own posts and pages should use good keywords to lead the search engines to related posts within your blog. Placing your posts into proper categories also helps to theme your post pages and your links. As your pages gain PageRank, they then share it with other pages on your blog using good link reputation.

Spread your link love around and it will come back to you. Now, get out there and give it up!