Thursday, June 12, 2008

Have You Tried Google Alerts Yet?

Last year a blogging friend of mine, Arlee Barr of Albedo Design emailed me and told me someone was not only plagiarizing the blog post I had written about her, but linking some keywords to some "non-family friendly" websites. YIKES!

Well, I had no idea and was taken aback by this. Arlee told me that she found out from her "Google Alerts." I was not aware of "Google Alerts" and asked her what it was.

"Google Alerts"
allow you to track posts with words or phrases that you specify and then email updates to you. So, for example if I want to track everything that is written about "Linda Walsh Originals" I just add that to my "Google Alerts" account and every time someone mentions Linda Walsh Originals on the internet I get an email about it with a link to the website so I can check it out. COOL! HUH!

You can use "Google Alerts" for all sorts of tracking, but I use it specifically for my Linda Walsh Originals business. I track all the names of my blogs, all the names of my websites, my Linda Walsh Name, and key phrases that identify my business.

I've been using it for over a year now and have to tell you that I find it invaluable. If you want to learn more about "Google Alerts" just CLICK HERE.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 18 - Are Blogrolls Important?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 17 our definition was "Blogrolls." This is a list of links or your blogs sidebar. They can be a manual list maintained by the blogger or a list provided by a "BlogRolling" service. Our question was -"Are Blogrolls Important?"

Given that there are hundreds of millions of blogs out there nowadays you have to wonder if your blog will get noticed.

For some of you your blog is a personal blog that you write for yourself and your family and/or friends. Getting noticed isn't paramount to you.

For others your blog is written in support of your online small business and helps to personalize you to your customers and keep your customers in touch with what's going on with your small business. Getting noticed is paramount to the survival of your online small business.

So, what do you do?

Well, just like your website you need links to help you get noticed and, most importantly, to help with search engine optimization. Search engines love blogs because they are filled with so much text. So, they crawl all over them and while doing so they follow the links from one blog to another. You want you blog to be one of those links.

It has been customary for bloggers for a long time to add the name and URL of other blogs that they like to the sidebar of their blogs. Bloggers just love to jump from one blog to another and the link on the sidebar provides the opportunity to easily do so. This also provides customers with the ability to check out other blogs as well.

So, how do you get linked with other blogs?

Well, just like with websites you can email other bloggers and ask if they'll exchange text links with you, join blog communities, join blog link exchanges, or join blog linking services like "Blogrolling."
Emailing other bloggers is a nice way to establish communication with other like minded bloggers and helps you with networking within your field of interest.

Blog communities are springing up all over the web and provide for a linking of blog URL's via their widgets. The widgets are small snippets of HTML code that you add to the sidebar of your blog and contain links back to other member's blogs, the bloggers avatar, etc. This is also another great way to network with other bloggers.

Blog link exchanges usually require their members to visit other members blogs in exchange for points. The more blogs you visit the more points you earn and they more often your blog is displayed for other bloggers to visit.

The blog linking service providers make linking easy by providing you with the ability to easily add the URL of a blog that you like to the sidebar of your blog. They do not, however, link your blog URL to the blog that you like. It's a one way link which according to some SEO experts is also good for search engine optimization.

Personally, I prefer an email exchange of links. I love to blog hop and if I find a blog that I like I will leave a comment so the blogger knows that I visited their blog. If I like their blog then I might add a link to their blog on the sidebar of my blog and I might ask them if they want to exchange links with me. If I like their blog and establish a relationship with them I may just refer someone to it.

Just like in the business world word of mouth is important. In the blogging world word of mouth is a text link on the sidebar. It says that the blogger likes your blog and is recommending it to their readers and/or customers.

Word of mouth is paramount for a small business and is why I prefer an email exchange of links over blog communities, blog link exchanges, and blog linking service providers. The latter three are very useful for exposure, but to me personalization, which is why you are blogging in the first place, is crucial. It doesn't get more personal than word of mouth.

So, the long and short of it is that blogrolls are very important for blog exposure. Which way you choose to blogroll is entirely up to you.

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 18 Definition - "Dooced"
This is having lost a job because of entries posted to a blog.

 Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 19 "Will You Get Dooced?"

© 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Mozilla - Firefox Versus Internet Explorer" How Does Your Website Fare?

Three years ago when I decided to create a website I decided to use Microsoft "Publisher", which is an old "dinosaur" to create my website. I had been using "Publisher" for years and thought - "why not?" It used Internet Explorer as its browser and I would be using FTP to update my website so it was a good fit.

Back then "Publisher" had a LOT of coding issues and was not the optimum for coding finesse. However, I was familiar with the program and could easily update and maintain my website myself which was appealing to me. After I created my Linda Walsh Originals website I soon learned that it wasn't being read properly by some of the other browsers such as Mozilla - Firefox.

At the time I only used Internet Explorer and AOL, which used Internet Explorer as their browser. My website was FINE there so I asked some of my friends who had a problem with their browsers what was showing when they went to my website. The answer was as varied as the various browsers.

So, I decided to use my website hosting statistics to see how much of my website traffic was for browsers other than Internet Explorer. At that time 98% of my traffic was by Internet Explorer with close to 1% for Mozilla - Firefox. The other 1% was made up of several smaller browsers. I decided that less than 1% was not something I had to immediately address.

When I decided to update my website I was hoping that Publisher 2007 would contain more standardized coding and, hopefully, solve the browser distortion problem. To my delight it did and solved most of the Mozila - Firefox distortion problems.

So, I decided to check my browser statistics to see if more of my traffic was coming from Mozilla - Firefox these days and whether it would be worthwhile to spend the time to fix both my Linda Walsh Originals and Linda Walsh Originals Dolls websites which had been created in Publisher.

To my surprise 86% of my traffic was coming from Internet Explorer now and 12% was now coming from Mozilla - Firefox. The remaining 2% was coming from several much smaller browsers. In evaluating the statistics I thought that 12% now was way too much of a customer base to be missing so I decided to spend the time to fix both of my websites and I'm happy to report that I no longer have a browser distortion problem with Mozilla - Firefox in either website. In fact, none of my website and blogs have a browser distortion problem.

I recently switched to Mozilla - Firefox myself because I was having a horrendous time with Internet Explorer 7.0. It was SLOW as molasses, was freezing during printing from my blogs, and causing a multitude of other issues. After using Internet Explorer exclusively for over 30 years I'd had enough and made the switch. I'm happy to report that Mozilla - Firefox does have a few problems, but I haven't been happier. It works like a charm and ALL my websites and blogs are FINE and load exactly as I want them to.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a small business website owner or blogger you might want to check your website and blog to see if Mozilla - Firefox is displaying properly. If my percent of website traffic from Mozilla - Firefox is par for the course then 12% of a customer base is WAY TOO MUCH to be losing.

Plus, if you are a blogger and have deviated from some of the standard blog providers templates you might want to consider checking your blog. In checking the blogs of several of my blogging friends who have gone to 3-column templates I have noticed that they aren't displaying properly.

For now I'm happy with Mozilla - Firefox. Happy browsing.