Successful blogging?

I love reading list articles. Here’s one that appeared on my radar today:

6 Pillars of a Successful Blog

And just for fun, I’ll run thru the list and assess my own private blogging chez moi.

So let’s get started…

Purpose/Message/Mission
This is a private blog. The main purpose is to learn and reflect.

It’s an ever-evolving mix of learning, reflection, discovery and knowledge management. I’ve always said it’s like a scrap book. Chiperoni.ch will no longer do well from an SEO point-of-view, because the topics are too diverse, too sporadic. I write about the Internet and online marketing. I link to my huge Flickr collection of snapshots. I write about architecture and travel. I post Youtube videos. I try out WordPress plugins and themes.

If you’re setting up a blog for business purposes, think about your purpose. Brainstorm ideas. Put together an editorial calendar. This will help you stand out from the crowd.

Email Newsletter
I don’t send out an email newsletter for this blog. While this Google service still exists, you can get an email notification via Feedburner:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

There are some pretty cool email newsletter plugins for WordPress. I briefly tried Wysija. There’s also Sendpress and Email Newsletter to try. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree… if you want your blog to grow, send out a regular email newsletter.

I do have a cool WordPress plugin called Thank me later, which sends auto-sends thank you messages to people that leave a comment.

A Free E-Book/Manifesto
There is no free e-book to download. There is no manifesto to link to at Chiperoni.ch. Yet. I have plans to write a book or two. Maybe. Some day.

David Meerman-Scott uses e-books very effectively for his topics.

I am a regular reader of the e-books at Hubspot.

IMHO, you should spend some $$ on your e-book layout to get a better return.

A Product/Business Model
There is no business model at Chiperoni.ch. I am here for fun. This is a private, non-profit blog. There is no advertising. So far I have not published any paid blog entries here. If this changes, I will publish a disclosure statement.

Again if you’re planning to offer a product or service, put some thought into your business model. A good starter is this business model generation canvas. It leads you through various business questions.

Site Design
I like minimal blog designs. Currently I am using themes by Elma.

If you’re building a business, test your site design using a poor man’s usability test. Ideally before coding; using a paper test. Find 5 people that fit your site’s target audience. Think of some site tasks you would like to test, e.g. how to contact you; how to ask for a quote. Ask your test person to think out loud while performing the tasks. And then sit next to them and quietly observe how your test person navigates through your site.

Check your site design from an SEO point of view. Are there enough text areas for your key phrases on your main landing pages? I would avoid overusing fancy carousel and slider plugins. Do you have one sentence explaining your main mission, written in HTML?

Effective Self Promotion
It’s 2013. You need to find creative ways to promote your business blog. The Internet is a vast ocean of data. Nobody is waiting for your cool product or service. If your self promotion is too low-key, nobody will notice you. If your self promotion is too heavy and your service offering doesn’t match, you will put people off.

I am stating the obvious. My only advice is to try various ideas and find a marketing mix that works for you. Trial and error.

Or build a private, non-profit blog like Chiperoni.ch. And as such I don’t need to join the success theater.

looking closely

Identity and culture

Somewhere deep inside of me, I have this blog post bubbling up and forming about identity. It is influenced by my own state of being an eternal foreigner, an Auslandsdeutsche. But also influenced by other observations on organizational cultures and the changes within the internet.

I started watching this talk by Anil Dash:

He says being a blogger in the early years (a decade ago, from approximately 1999 to 2006) was an identity. Bloggers had a shared set of values. There was a culture and a common understanding.

Nobody calls themselves a Facebooker.

I recommend viewing this video and reflecting on the thoughts.

Social media sending less traffic, less clicks?

While analyzing website analytics on this blog and on other sites, I’ve noticed that, in year-on-year comparisons, website links within social media streams on Facebook and Twitter are getting less clicks. Despite more followers and more content activity.

Reasons?

I think many of us are nearing saturation point.

Sharing and liking functions are everywhere. More networks. More info. On top of all of the other to do lists and requirements and optimizations and check lists and productivity methods. The time I spend on browsing and exploring has decreased. Meanwhile, the supply of web content is infinite.

Gone are the days where I was in social media discovery mode. I haven’t downloaded Vine. Or tried Highlight. I didn’t even visit Pinterest since the re-design.

In addition, Facebook decides where to display posts, based on some secret algorithm based on some secret mixture of likes and previous behaviour. Maybe nobody sees my posts to start with cos i don’t have any fans/likes?

Another reason is that very often I no longer need to click the link to go to the site. I can read the article in my preferred app or reading environment.

A surfeit of social media?

Maybe. But IMHO there is also less interaction and engagement. The excitement of interacting online is no longer new. It’s pervasive. Ubiquitous.

And there’s the very real fear of losing privacy. And trolls. And spam. And corporations owning and reselling our data.

Free and open

Let’s not take our connected world for granted. Let’s not forget the benefits of connecting and linking with others.

Let’s acknowledge and thank our sources. Simple things like leaving a comment or adding a backlink. Creating and adapting rather than consuming.

What does it mean for communications at your day job?

First and foremost, do not assume that anybody is interested in your press releases, product announcements, emails or company fan page. We’re not. Remember, everybody has a tight schedule.

If you want to fail, assume they’re interested.

Give more than you take.

Make it easy to find and read your message. You need to be aware of best practises for good content, usability, on-page SEO, online advertising.

Be flexible. Try different distribution channels. If you think your potential audience is on Linkedin or on Pinterest, try it. Try new things. IMHO, you’ll need a mixed strategy of traditional, email-based and social media channels.

Keep playing. Keep testing. Keep iterating.

Related articles:
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/b2b-social-traffic_b35539

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/email-crushes-social-media/

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