Getting Things Done with Automation

Standard
Salt-powered robot.

Salt-powered robot.

There are a lot of things that need to be done when you have a blog, or when you are into internet marketing. The blog is only the tool to keep your site updated. Informing the internet that your site is updated is a different matter. There are automated tools which you can add to your site, and there are some other tasks you need to do afterwards.

Sitemap and RSS feeds

First off, you have to make sure that your sitemap is updated. There are tools to ensure that the sitemap is updated. If you use a content management system (CMS), it should have its own XML-sitemap creator. Otherwise you can use online sitemap creators and upload the resulting file to your site.

Another automated tool which your CMS should have is an RSS feed. This is one way to send syndication from your site. It is also one way to inform web crawlers that you have updated your site. Independent of the RSS feed, you have to submit the sitemap to search engines, or you can send a ping to RSS aggregators. These are two different things, which aim to do different things, but with the same result. Somehow, the search engines will be informed that your site has been updated and that they need to crawl through it to index it again.

Bookmarking Automation

Moving forward with your update, it is a good idea to have it bookmarked in online bookmarking sites. On top of that, it also has to be shared on social media and social networking sites. One way to automate this is to use a plugin. For WordPress there are a lot of plugins available which automatically post the latest article to social bookmarking sites, and social media, including Twitter and Reddit. For Blogger, there is an option to automatically post on Google+. Tumblr on the other hand can share the post automatically to Twitter and Facebook.

Besides the in-app automation, there are also online automation tools, like IFTTT.com and Zapier. Zapier is a paid service, but it also has freemium accounts. With Zapier freemium accounts, the actions are checked every fifteen minutes, and you can have a hundred actions per month. If you need more than that many actions, you can upgrade to their paid service. Zapier also has access to more sites than IFTTT. It is aimed at a corporate market and a lot of their sites are also meant for business use.

IFTTT on the other hand aims for an easy-to-use interface. The triggers are checked every fifteen minutes with no maximum limit to the number of times the action is done.

If you think that you need more functionality or the target website is not accessible by third-party online automation services, you can create your own, using the target website’s API and some PHP programming skills.

Sharing and Follower Interaction

For each article, you should have a handy sharing button. In fact, just in case you might be anywhere else on the website, a sharing button should always be accessible. You can insert AddToAny’s code to any website and have that functionality.

What you want to happen is for website visitors to share your post and to comment on it on social media or social bookmarking sites. The most common share buttons also have follow and like buttons. These have different functions depending on the social networking site. The main point is that your post will be shared and cross-posted, and visitors can like or follow your blog or your article.

Scheduling

If you had a linux workstation or server, you can put up cron jobs to schedule a lot of things. Otherwise, you can make use of HootSuite, SocialOoomph and IFTTT to schedule your posts, and shares. There are some posts and tasks which are recurring. These can be scheduled beforehand and fine-tuned every so often. If it works, there is a tendency to forget about it, but just keep that in mind.

The most important part is that the article you posted gets moving. It should be seen by the most number of people, discussed and commented on online. With these automation tools, you can focus on the website content and not worry over much about promoting your site.

SEO Automation and Its Limits

Standard

Conversationprism

If you have been blogging and putting up articles for some time now, you would notice that there are some necessary tasks after the article has been posted. These include sending the RSS to an aggregator and ping the blog, putting up bookmarks and sharing on social networking sites. At least, these are things you would want to do if you want to promote your site.

If you don’t really want to promote your site, you can just depend on your free-blog’s default settings, whatever they may be.

The reality is that there are a lot of new blogs being put up every day. Some are company sponsored blogs, others are attached to a corporate or ecommerce site and are official blogs of sorts, and the majority are personal blogs. Blogs which are associated with a company’s official site are meant to promote the company or its products. The same goes for ecommerce and internet marketing blogs. Personal blogs are usually self-promoting, but mostly these are not meant to be shared to the public at large. Personal bloggers write for the fun of it, for their own enjoyment and for sharing within their circles. Usually, these are not promoted outside of those circles.

For corporate and ecommerce blogs, that is another matter. These are promoted as aggressively as possible, and all that time the website owners are hoping that it would not be de-indexed by Google. This is a walking a fine line, because there is no way of knowing beforehand when Google’s newest algorithm release would affect the site or not.

Without the use of backlinking services (which Google hates and tries to filter out of their algorithm) there are only a few things which can be done to promote the site. Basically, what it all boils down to is to ping the site for new updates (with RSS), bookmark, and promote on social media. These are mundane and daily tasks which can be automated up to a certain degree.

There are plugins and scripts available which can take the RSS feed and post the update to bookmarking sites, and social media. There are automated services on the internet which can post on other social media. The posts can even be scheduled on a recurring basis. However, there is a limit for which these could be done. Taking the next step in automation, the website owner has to think of creating scripts using popular social media APIs in order to post to these other sites. At least, an automated posting system makes a whole day or several days’ work out of the picture and the admin can keep to creating content for the website.

There are other ways to promote the site. But these take a lot more work and some level of creativity. The most important part is to carry a conversation with the audience. It is no longer enough to post to Facebook, or Twitter. Taking the next step, there should be interaction between the audience and the blog. Carrying the conversation over to social media is one way of getting a lot of mileage for the blog.

Words and Meanings – Differences between SEO, social media, social networking, internet marketing, and others

Standard
Sesame seeds are ground by dinners at Yabu to start off the service.

We found Yabu through the social media and passed through social networking sites. It’s fun to find new things as recommendations in blogs.

 

There are a lot of things to know about search engine optimization, internet marketing, online reputation management and so many other buzz words which are related to internet technologies and tools. The lack of understanding of these technologies and strategies have given rise to a new and distinct field in marketing. It has also created that most hallowed internet personalities, the internet marketing guru and the SEO master.

I say bollocks to those terms. The reason I say that is because for the most part, the only thing these people will agree on is how to gauge if something works. The important questions are “Did the rankings rise?” or “Was there an increase in sales with the larger online visibility?” If the answer is “yes” then whatever strategy they implemented works, if not, then it didn’t. The problem is that given a room full of gurus and masters, there would be two rooms full of contradicting ideas.

If you attend a seminar by a guru, what you most probably will get would be two days of introduction to ideas and techniques. If you map out those ideas, you would end up with a whole new section of people to do the work. You’re a one man entrepreneur working out of your home and you need that many people to promote your brand. Crazy, right?

In truth, there is no single correct answer. There is no single strategy which will work for all situations. At the end of the day, you have to understand what you want to happen, and also understand the theories, terminologies and strategies, but you do not need to use them all. I prefer one strategy, but if the client wants some other approach, and I see there’s no harm in it, it’s okay by me. I know it will work, sooner or later.

To begin with, all these terminologies are not the same thing. Neither are they exclusive of one another. When someone says that SEO no longer works, and that PPC works better, that guy is an idiot who doesn’t know that PPC is an SEO method. I don’t want to go there, that is an advanced topic. Very debatable.

Internet marketing is simply marketing using ideas, concepts and tools which work online. It means no billboards. It means that online ads are used differently from TV ads. The videos may be the same as TV ads, but these are used differently.

SEO is a goal. It is also a set of guidelines. It is also what a strategy is called. It is also the platform or environment. It starts with the rules search engines use to come up with their search results, going up to tricks and hacks, and simple things employed by practitioners to rank on those search engines.

Online reputation management (ORM) uses SEO techniques to manage reputations on the web. It could be organic and natural as if you were chronicling your life. It could be paid, like buying all the adwords for a particular keyword on Google.

Social media are web sites where various electronic media are shared. Social networking sites are where people get connected to other people. Depending on the social media site, these people may or may not know each other beforehand. They just need to connect and network, that’s why they are on the social networking website. If the primary reason of a website is to share a particular type of media (drawings, paintings, short stories, songs, speeches, music, pictures)¬†to the public, then most probably that’s a social media site. If the site mostly is about allowing people interacting with other people, like sharing, commenting, chatting, online real-time videos, etc, then it most probably is a social networking site.

Web 2.0 is like the old Web (beta) just more interactive, and more responsive to the users.

So the first question is what do you want to promote? The follow up question is where do you want this to happen and what kind of people do you want this to happen with?

You want to promote a soap? What kind of soap? What kind of people do you want to reach? Where do you want to reach them? Rather, how do you want them to reach you?

Hold that thought, and think about it.

 

What is Your Internet Marketing Person Doing Right?

Standard

A lot of people and businesses have their own websites, or Facebook pages, or Twitter pages, Instagram accounts, and so on. For those who have just started an online presence, there is the belief that they have already started on online marketing. There are even some companies who believe that online marketing can be done by a single person handling Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Usually, that single person is the one in the company with the most real world marketing savvy and the biggest number of friends on Facebook, the most followers on Twitter or the most posts on Instagram. This is a good start, actually.

But what is keeping the internet marketing initiative from taking off are several things: integration, website updates, and a continuing conversation. I did not include on-page SEO, because, ironically, for most people who already have an online presence, that is a technical topic which takes too much time. Besides, it’s not as much fun as Facebook.

Integration is when there is a single social media strategy which uses all available outlets. It is not about using social media sites in a discrete manner, and for different purposes.

So here’s a person who’s tasked to do the online marketing efforts of the company because he has a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr account. He posts on Twitter maybe two or three times a day. He spends an hour or two on Facebook. He posts a picture on Instagram maybe when he has dinner at a fancy restaurant, or when he meets his friends. He takes a look at Pinterest every once in a while. He opens Google+ because he uses Gmail. For laughs, he goes to Tumblr. That is not online marketing. That is a waste of time.

food porn commonly posted in picture sharing sites

If all you have on your corporate image sites are personal pictures, you might want to rethink your internet marketing focus.

Integration is relatively simple and could be done painlessly. You only have to post once, and the post cascades to other social media and social networking sites. You post once to Facebook, and it gets tweeted, and also posted on Google+ and Tumblr. A picture is posted on Instagram, and a link appears as a tweet, with a change in status on Facebook. A person can spend an hour, and all of these can be scheduled over the course of the day.

A website update can do wonders for social networking as well as for SEO visibility. Of course, it has to be interesting. Unless something is interesting, only the bots would follow social media accounts. An interesting blog post can attract the right people. It makes them keep coming back to take a look, and see what else is new. An interesting post is something that people want to share. On top of that, assuming that the website has proper on-page SEO, updates ask the search engine to crawl the site. Again, website updates help with search engine visibility.

[At this point, I have to say this as part of full disclosure: I am still populating this site. As such, this is not yet the very interesting part. This is still the introduction. Additionally, I have not added any links to this post or the first one. That will be for later.]

An interesting thread and an equally interesting website leads to a continuing conversation. The difference between Web 2.0 and the one it replaced, is that there is feedback. Sharing posts, liking them, giving comments for and against, are the best parts of Web 2.0. It means that someone is listening, paying attention, hearing what you are saying, and acting on it. They can be spreading the word by sharing the post, picture, video, or audio. Each click on Like, means a vote of confidence, and there is an audience waiting for more of these posts. Each comment is a person agreeing or disagreeing. A discussion is being conducted on several levels. A company’s internet marketing person should be listening to the conversation. If there is no conversation, then it is his job to start one.

To start off this conversation, let me ask you this: How is internet marketing working out for you?