This week we asked the KLCK Bloggers Network to share the top tips they picked up at the meeting. Here they are

  • Susan Fitzgerald from Vibrant Ireland –  Include a maximum of 3 outbound links in your blog post and make it more content rich.
  • Mairéad Kelly from Encouraging Excellence – Use one keyword in multiple blog posts
  • John O’Connor from Red Oak Tax Refunds – Use Google Page Speed Test to check your website loads quickly
  • Valerie Humphries from Kehoe Auctioneers – Use one of your keywords (search terms you want to be found for) in the title of your blog post
  • Simon Lewis from Anseo.net – Use a SEO plugin on your WordPress & Play around with the permalinks (or pretty links) your blog generates.

You can view the full presentation from Beatrice Whelan on SEO and blogging here.  For details of future meetings keep an eye on the KLCK Bloggers Facebook Page.

What are your top SEO tips? Leave me a comment below and if I get a few I’ll include them in a blog post.

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the reading and research.  I could spend all day reading the fascinating articles that pop up in my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Reader streams, so much so that I have to limit the time I spend doing this every day.  For 2012 I thought it would be fun to share my top reads of the week with you.  So here’s my first round up.  If you read a great article this week that you’d like to share leave it in the comments box and you may find it popping up in next weeks roundup.

Facebook ads in Newsfeed

Facebook rolled out ‘featured stories’ this week. These are ad’s that will appear in a users news feed. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.  Will Facebook users resent seeing adverts directly in their streams? Will companies be cautious of using these ad’s in case it upsets potential customers?

Google Search Plus Your World

At the beginning of the week Google announced that it is changing the way we search by making it more social and prioritising results from our Google+ contacts.  For a better explanation on how it works and a good example involving werewolves read the Matt Cutts blog.

101 Social Business ROI Examples

I discovered this story yesterday and it’s since become quite controversial. Why? Social ROI (return on investment) is a hot topic within the social media world. We’re always looking for new ways to measure it and this post outlines some fantastic examples of successful campaigns.  It’s controversial because of it’s title.  These are success stories but it doesn’t go into enough detail.  It doesn’t tell us what goals were set, what matrix’s were used to measure it or what costs were involved in running the campaign.

If you’re in Ireland and want to find out more about measuring the results of your social media campaigns check out Measurement.ie a one day conference on the subject in Dublin. Run by Damien Mulley and sponsored by DoneDeals.ie it’s one I won’t be missing.

Chris Brogan On Twitter

Whenever I see a post titled ‘Get More Twitter Followers‘ my heart drops.  In this case though it’s all good advice.  There’s no advocating automated following, mass following or anything else that would boost numbers without adding value. Chris Brogan shares his ideas on how to build your follower count by nurturing your community and posting valuable content.

How To Keep Your New Years Blogging Resolutions

I’m cheekily adding in one of my own links here. This week I asked people what their social media new years resolutions were and I found that almost everyone (including me) listed blogging more.  In fact this post is part of me fulfilling that resolution. Here are three tips on how to keep those resolutions but I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Beatrice Whelan’s Prezi on SEO for Bloggers

On Monday we had our first KLCK Bloggers meetup of the year and this is Beatrice Whelan’s excellent presentation on SEO for bloggers.  I also asked some of the attendees to share the tips they had picked up for our videocast. You’ll find that on our Podcast page later on today.  I should also mention that it was Beatrice that introduced me to Matt Cutts whose article features above.

Lorna’s Blogging Experiment

Another one inspired by the bloggers network, Lorna Sixsmith conducted an experiment on blog traffic and the Google keyword research tool.  Enough to ensure you start taking search engine optimisation seriously on your business blog.

This week’s videocast is a bit different. We asked people to submit 30 second video pitches either in person at this weeks Bloggers International event or via the internet. Here is the result!

Thanks to all who participated and to all who took part and helped with the organising of Bloggers International.

An extra big thanks to our sponsor Blacknight.

To find out more about Bloggers International visit our websiteFacebookTwitter

Many people may not think of Blogging as Social Media but I am a big believer that not only is it social it’s also the most important social media.  It can become the hub of your social media campaign, feeding into your other social networks, I often tell people that if they do nothing else they must blog!

Whether your blog is part of your website, independent of your website or even if you just blog using Facebook notes blogging can have a massive impact on your entire Internet marketing.

What is a Blog?

A blog can be a website or a segment of a website that is updated by the owner on a regular basis. People who visit the website are able to comment on blog posts, making it interactive.

There are different kinds of blogs; personal blogs that can extend from an online diary to a blog written around a specific topic.  Some famous personal blogs have even been turned into films, for example Julie and Julia.  I also love 101 W**kers (excuse the language but that’s what it’s called) the blogger behind it has now branched out and is contributing to the Guradian bike blog. There are also political blogs, photo blogs, video blogs and of course business blogs.

Why Should A Business Blog?

Blogging has many benefits for businesses.

1. If it is part of your website it will work well for SEO (search engine optimisation). Using keywords that you want your website to be found for in your headlines and the body of your blog will push your website up the Google rankings bringing more traffic to your blog and website.

Feeding your blog to your other social networks and encouraging others to share your posts will increase the inbound links coming into your website – also good for SEO.

2. It establishes you as an expert – Blogging gives you the opportunity to showcase your passion and expertise about a topic.  You can become the ‘go to’ person about your industry.

3. A resource for customers – If your customers commonly ask specific questions blogging gives you the opportunity to address them on mass.  If they are asking those questions online and find the answers from you they are more likely to buy from you.

4. Spreads your message further - If you are a local business looking to expand, blogging and social media gives you the opportunity to reach beyond the local market.  You can target markets further afield within Ireland or even international customers.

5. Attract press attention – more and more journalists and researchers are turning to the web to research their stories.  Having an active blog about your topic of interest can mean getting more press attention and being asked to comment on specific stories within your field of expertise.

What Should You Blog About?

There are a number of topics you can blog about

1. Your business. It may seem obvious but you need to blog on topics related to your business and industry.  A political blog may bring lots of traffic to your website but not the right traffic. Make posts relevant to your offering.  Absolute Dental handle this really well showcasing their services with out the hard sell.

2. Your own expertise. What information do you have that you can share? – What information do you give to customers on a regular basis?  Turning these into tips and hints will make great blog content.

Teamwoodcraft’s relatively new blog does this excellently.

3. Topical issues about your industry. What’s happening in the news related to your industry? Add your comment or take on relevant stories.

Always providing up to date information on financial issues Red Oak Tax Refunds blog handles this well.

4. Who are your target market and what are they interested in? When I used to sell organic food I targeted people with an interest in the environment so blogged about a range of green issues, not just organic food but local food, cycling, organic gardening etc.  This was information that would draw my target market into my site.

Greenside Up Veg include both recipes and gardening tips in their blog.  They offer training on growing your own veg and if you’re growing it you are probably wanting to eat it too so this works perfectly.

5. Case studies and testimonials. Do you have happy customers?  If so ask them to write a short piece on their experience with you and include it as part of or as a blog post.  Use case studies of work you have done or customers you have helped.

This is done really well by Buyers Brokers, the photo and language of the testimonials leaves you in no doubt that they are genuine.

6. Guest bloggers. Once your blog is established find other bloggers that might have something to share with your target market.  If you sell Wedding Dresses for example is there a Wedding Car company or a venue that would like to contribute a blog post.

Garrendenny Lane have a weekly guest blogging slot, all adding value to their blog and business.

 

More Blogging Tips

To find out more about blogging, and blogs both business and personal join us at Bloggers International, an International panel of experts will be sharing their knowledge of Blogging both technical and creative.  We can help you get started or help boost your current blogging.  Sponsored by Blacknight the event takes place on 29th June 2011 at 7.30pm in The Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Laois, Ireland and The Chequers Inn, Chipping Norton, England.  We’re also streaming online live… details to follow on the Bloggers International website.

If you’re interested in coming to this free event RSVP on Facebook, Linkedin, Via The Website (on the right hand side toolbar), leave a comment below or email wave@spiderworking.com.

If you’d like to book a place on the two way video conference for the night you can book your spot for free by clicking here.

Bloggers International

KLCK Bloggers Network was set up by Spiderworking.com and Garrnedenny Lane in 2010 to bring together Irish bloggers to share knowledge.  It’s been more successful than either myself or Lorna could have anticipated in the beginning and we’re almost a year old now.

Bloggers International

This month we’re getting even bigger.  KLCK Bloggers Network and The Chipping Norton Social Media Club have become the founding members of a brand new organisation Bloggers International.  The plan is to take our knowledge sharing further, to share and gain blogging and social media tips across the globe.

The first meeting, linking live with the UK over an internet live stream features a panel of blogging and social media experts on both sides of the water ready to answer all your Blogging and Social Media queries.  The diverse panel can answer anything from technical WordPress questions to finding inspiration, increasing readership and marketing through Social Media.

The Panel

The Irish panel features Niall Devitt, co founder of Bloggertone and advisor to Social Media Today,  Amanda Webb (me!) Social Media consultant and co-founder of KLCK and Bloggers International, Beatrice Whelan from Website Extrodinaire, website developer and WordPress and SEO expert.

The British panel includes Social Media Expert Shaun Fagan from Black Dog New Media and to answer your techie questions Chris Hogan amongst others.

Ask The Panel

If you’d like to put a question to the panel you can submit them in advance by completing your details below or you can tweet them at @bloggersint2011 using the tag #BI11.  Follow #BI11 on the night or join our Facebook Page for details on how to join the live stream.

The Time and Place

And of course you can attend an event in person.  In the UK, Chipping Norton Social Media Club will be meeting in the Chequers Pub.  In Ireland KLCK Bloggers network will meet somewhere in Laois (venue tbc).

So if you are a blogger, a wanna be blogger or are just interested in networking with other businesses around the world join in on Wednesday 29th of June at 7.30pm (BST), and give us your questions!

Ask Your Questions

How to find inspiration for your blog posts is a common concern for bloggers of all levels.  There are times where I sit here at this keyboard wondering what is it I will blog about next, what if I run out of ideas for next week?  This week at KLCK we learned how mindmapping could help us with this problem. We also learnt about the power of video as part of a blog as a website.

Frank Bradley uses mind maps for all areas of his life, to manage to do lists, to ensure he has good work life balance and of course to organise his thoughts for blogging.  He blogs both on Tumblr and as part of the collaborative business blog Bloggertone.

For me it was a real eye opener, I guess I had always thought of mindmaps as being a bit out there but after playing with the concept I could see how it can help effectively organise your thoughts.  Franks presentation will be available on the KLCK Facebook page soon.

The first speaker of the evening was Bryan Corden from Hedgehog Productions in Carlow who talked about the power of video blogging, and how to effectively push our videos out across the Internet (presentation here).  He was accompanied by a cameraman and camera and we shot a short video on the night.  I’ll share this on my videocast as soon as it’s completed.

After the speakers we discussed the best way to start blogging, we talked about the differences between the different formats; Blogger, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Tumbler and Posterous.  We also talked about using Facebook to blog and anyone who checked into my blog yesterday will have seen how easy it is to do.  I’m delighted to see that three of the attendees have started blogging using the Facebook ‘Notes’ application.

A big thank you to our hosts The Seven Oaks Hotel who looked after us really well. To see who was there on the night, their blogs/websites visit our Facebook page.  You can also see pictures from the evening in our Flickr group.  If you missed the night we’re getting better and better at tweeting, you can view the Twitter archive here.

There will be no January meetup.  The next meeting will be in Laois on the 14th of February, we will post details on our Facebook page and Linkedin group when we have them.  You can also join the KLCK mailing list and we will send you out details of all further meetings.

We also have a discussion group on Facebook if you want to get involved between meetups.

It’s hard to believe that KLCK is four months old now, back in Kildare for the first time since our initial gathering it was great to see how this ‘thing’ that we created  had grown.  Lots of new faces this month with some great blogs and info to share.

The first section of the meeting was presented by John O’Connor from Red Oak Tax Refunds who talked about how to measure the success of a blog, not just how much traffic you are getting but, for those of us in Business, are these site visitors translating to sales or hard leads?  One of the strongest messages to come out of John’s presentation was to set objectives for your blog and measure their success.  Initially this could be traffic or bounce rate but as your blog progresses you may want to see blog readers using your contact form, subscribing to your newsletter or Liking your Facebook page.  We discussed the use of forms on blogs or websites.  Two of our members have experience of long forms not getting the expected results.  John had one amazing stat; since changing his standard contact form to an ‘apply now’ form and has found it 80% more effective.

We then opened the floor up for a round table discussion.  The amount of knowledge in the room was phenomenal, some brave volunteers showed us their blogs and asked for and gained  some great feedback.  We talked about finding inspiration for blogging and discussed some useful tools to help with the process.

There was no live feed this month due to technical issues but I did try and keep up with it all via Twitter.  You can click here to view the archive.

A big thank you to Johnstown Business Centre for hosting the meeting and filling us up with coffee, tea, biscuits and mini muffins :)

The next meeting will be in Carlow on the 8th of December, we will post details on our Facebook page and Linkedin group when we have them.  You can also join the KLCK mailing list and we will send you out details of all further meetings.

We also have a discussion group on Facebook if you want to get involved between meetups.

I believe that blogging should be the hub of your social media campaign.  I’ve seen the results that blogs can bring both for driving traffic to your website and as establishing you as an expert in your field.  But it can be hard to get started and even the most proficient bloggers are always learning and growing.  It was for all of these reasons that earlier this year with the help of Lorna Sixsmith of Garendenny Lane Interiors I set up the KLCK (Kildare Laois Carlow Kilkenny) Bloggers network , with the aim of sharing knowledge and become better bloggers together.

Monday night was our first meeting in Kilkenny and we had two excellent speakers.  Marie Ennis O’Connor whose blog ‘Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer‘ attracts massive amounts of traffic talked about how to get more people to read our blogs.  There was something for everyone to learn from her presentation including me!  You can view here slides by clicking here.

Ken McGuire followed on the theme from last month covering some of his favorite WordPress Plugins, a great selection that would enhance any blog, most of which I will be adding to this blog soon.  You can view his presentation by clicking here.

If you would like to know more about the KLCK Bloggers Network ‘Like’ our Facebook page.  You can view the blogroll of attendees here.

The meeting this month was hosted by The Pembroke Hotel in Kilkenny  and we were blown away by the facilities a big thank you to everyone there for their hospitality.

The next meeting will be on the 8th of November somewhere in Kildare, speakers and venue TBC.

Facebook added a new group functionality yesterday, the new groups are a good way to gather people together with similar interests to discuss and share information about that topic.  They will allow people to become more interactive about the things they are interested in without having to broadcast to their entire friend list.

They also have the potential to be a great collaboration tool for projects.  We had a quick look around and have started a group for the KLCK Bloggers Network.  So if you are interested in blogging why not join in and have a chat with us. Click here to request membership.

*UPDATE* If you are not in a group already you won’t have the ‘create group’ link in your sidebar.  If this is the case click here to bring you to the create group page.

Last week saw the third meeting of the KLCK Bloggers network and our first outing to Laois.  Once again it was well attended and although there were technical difficulties with the live stream to start with we got them fixed and 8 people joined us online.

I’m always bowled over by the atmosphere at our meetings, everyone has knowledge to share and questions to ask.  Everyone, newbie or experienced blogger can learn something.  I’d never heard of some of the plugins that our first speaker Eoin from Istech told us about but all were useful.  ‘Old Post Spinner’ in particular provoked some debate.  Spinning blog posts means recycling old blog posts –  changing them slightly and re-posting them ‘Old Post Spinner’ automates this process.

Our second speaker Niall Devitt talked about Bloggertone, many of us were inspired to think about submitting content, he was also a wealth of information on blogging in general, and our questions kept him busy for quite a while.

If you want to view the stream recorded on the night click here (quality not great).  You can also download Eoin’s notes by clicking here.

Our next meeting is at The Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny on 11th October 2010 at 7pm.  You can RSVP on Facebook or Linkedin or by leaving a comment on this post.

To keep up to date with our events join the KLCK Bloggers Network page on Facebook or Linkedin.