Tips for New Content Writers

erinmaherErin Maher is a blogger who gives us all great tips on blogging,was kind enough to answer some of my questions and give some advice for those just starting writing content for their website.

If you’re starting a static website(Vs. a blog), do you think it’s best to wait until you can start with a full compliment of pages, or to launch sooner and then build up over time?

I’m a firm believer that you should launch as soon as possible. The worst thing that can happen is that your site will be the worst site to ever exist. It might/probably will/most assuredly will be. But there are a million things you might have to do before it stops sucking. We learn more from failure than success, so get the failing/sucking over quickly. I mean, come on, you’re not the type to pull a band-aid off slowly, in other words, a total baby? Of course not! So start early, be humble, learn, grow, get feedback and develop from there.

If you were giving advice to someone starting a site from 0, what link resources would you say are most important to start building your online presence?

My site is not even 6 months old, but I’ve had the best progress from commenting on others’ sites who I admire, building up relationships and learning from them. The key is that these communications need to be genuine, and then already established individuals are happy to help you out. I also found interesting/helpful content on www.problogger.com, www.menwithpens.com and www.becomeablogger.com, the last one which has video tutorials.

Which social platforms should a new site owner participate in first?

It would be good to look into where your niche goes. I heard Sphinn is a good place for bloggers, Digg and StumbleUpon is very wide and general. I participate on facebook, Twitter, and am branching out to develop my LinkedIn profile, as well as StumbleUpon (:)based on your recommendation). At first I found social platforms a little overwhelming and scary, but I’m finding a terrific crowd on Twitter. It’s really simple, good for a lot of info and some laughs.

Any other random advice for new website owners?

Be hilarious. Or just not stuffy. The web is an impersonal medium, so letting personality shine through like the glorious rays of the sun parting the clouds is good. Letting your humorous anecdotes split forth into the internet like the Earth does in The Land Before Time. Let all readers bow in gratitude and good spirits, like gracious dinosaurs on the ridge of the paradise that is your site.

Update: Found a really great related post about new bloggers driving traffic to their site.

tos

The Sugarrae Twitter Follower TOS

I’ve been promising a certain someone that I would publish this Sugarrae specific Twitter terms of service for quite a while (it’s half tongue in cheek, half not).

After seeing constant “experts” talk about the proper ways to use Twitter and having one person flip out over my personal use of Twitter, it’s become apparent that it’s time.

First, there are no “rules” on “how” to Twitter. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Sure, there may be guidelines you can follow that seems to have better odds at success, but much like television shows or movies, you can’t follow an exact blueprint to ratings and box office smashes. You never know what will resonate with people. And even the best storyline can flop with the wrong actors.

I came across an interesting post about the official Twitter terms of service that paraphrased Twitter’s stance pretty well:

“We are not really a community – we are a communication tool like the phone or email. Moderating content doesn’t scale. If somebody’s mean to you on the phone, you’re not going to complain to the phone company, are you?”

Seems Twitter is going to stay away from moderating how individuals can and can’t use Twitter and are leaving it up to us to decide how we’re going to use it individually. Since how I use my Twitter is up to me, the following is what you can expect as a follower…

1. I curse a lot, if that bothers you, you’ll want to unfollow as soon as possible.
2. I tweet a lot, I’m not sure what my average is, but I can guarantee you I will flood your screen with Tweets at least once per month.
3. If you’re a tool, asshat or otherwise moronic, I will tell you in 140 characters or less, which of my fantastic ass cheeks to kiss.
4. I will offend you at least once. My purpose isn’t to do so, but I can almost guarantee it.
5. Just because you follow me does not entitle you to be followed back. If you’re only following me to get me to follow you, don’t waste your time. I follow what I can keep up with, and that isn’t everyone who follows me. You can however expect that if you speak to me directly, I will read it and answer it if applicable.
6. I rant quite a bit. If you’d like total positivity, unicorns and rainbows, I’m the wrong girl for you.
7. I never send automated tweets. Any links dropped or promotion done in my feed is done by hand. If it wasn’t worth me taking one minute to do, it isn’t worth you having to read.
8. I occasionally Tweet while out partying. You’ll be able to easily define these Tweets by my total lack of spell and typo checking them.
9. I talk about MMA, my BlackBerry and football quite a bit. I’m a total geek tomboy. If you’d like to discuss shoes or fashion, there are better streams to follow.

It’s pretty simple. If you’re bothered by any of the above, don’t follow my Twitter stream. Otherwise, by following me, any annoyance my Twitter stream provides you is your problem.

Twitter is like sex folks. There are a ton of ways to do it and not everyone will find pleasure in the same way. Different strokes for different folks (pun completely intended). 😉

This post originated at the Sugarrae internet marketing blog, home to internet marketing consultant Rae Hoffman.

The Sugarrae Twitter Follower TOS

All it takes is someone swearing at me to make me happy

Today, as I was exiting the movie theater( where we had just watch the new James Bond thriller Quantum of Solace, and the pay phone was randomly ringing. No one was picking it up, so on an impulse I decided to answer.

“Uhm Hello?”
“@#$() have you been @&@$#(* you @*@#(* !(@* !(@!*)!#)!&!*^!*&^~#@(“
“Actually, there is no one else around, I’m not who you think- “
[email protected]*! *[email protected]*[email protected]*#! *!&@”
“I’m sorry, but you called a pay phone and I just picked it up and “
“!*!&#* you !*!*# do You want to die? 1(#!* 181##(#*”
“Hmm , no thanks”
“!#&^$ !&!*& You I’m Gona !*!#(*#! Kill you #!(*#&!”
“Oh ok, Well, Love you bye!”

After this conversation I felt really good. It took a while to figure out why, because I had just been called some very interesting profanities and had my life threatend by a random stranger. Here’s my reasons:

  1. I stepped out of my usual shell and did something spontaneous to pick up a random payphone
  2. I wasn’t the intended recipient of the call, which make me happy that I have a cell phone and don’t have to wait to pick up a payphone to be verbally abused- I can be called directly 🙂
  3. I wasn’t phased or intimidated by his threats or profanity.

I’m not sure about where his life is headed, but I feel far more positive now about mine, and I think I’ll make it a habit to answer random payphone calls in the future.

Sell Your Soul for Bling: Be a Magpie

I was in my twitter stream today, and was very surprised when I saw a twit that caught my eye.

The site is a twitter advertising network that uses twitterers to spread their marketing. The idea is that the application analyzes your twitter stream for relevance, then spread out amongst your tweets, it injects the occasional ad tweet.

Human Bill Boards

Imagine you’re talking to your freind about what you had for lunch today, and all of a sudden he blurts out” Subway EAT FRESH!”.

You can see why this is jarring…it takes away the purity of your opinion because it’s not even a real endoresement…it’s just verbal advertising diarrhea . So, according to their faq, it says that there are two criteria that are used to mete out the advertisements and the reward people receive for selling out, the first is “hotness of the tweet topic” and second the number of followers you have…

GREAT! Lets ENCOURAGE people to create BOTS to follow people and vomit up advertising at us…Congratulations…You’ve just created a whole new method to SPAM on Twitter! HOORAY!

 

Save your soul, DON’T BE a MAGPIE!

Which Halloween Creature is the best/worst?

[polldaddy poll=1062358]

What’s halloween without a discussion of the nightmare creatures that we sick and twisted humans have come up with over the years. Take the poll and rate which category of monster is the most evil/scary. Notice of course that I didn’t put specific monsters, that’s a whole different topic! 😛

Here’s some helpful photos for each of the contestants

Zombies!

Ghosts:

Vampire:

Vampires Mark
Vampire's Mark

Werewolves:

Google Chat on DMOZ

During the Google Webmaster Chat The Googlers addressed the concern about DMOZ “Are Google ready to junk Dmoz yet? The categories are so poorly maintained, that they are out of date and irrelevant.”

Adam Lasnik:

We are always looking at how do we value sites. How authorative are they? we weigh things different things often by comparisions, so DMOZ is a part of our analysis. When if we feel how things are weighted will improve quality we will change it.

John Mueller:

It seems like the SEO hobby is to beat up DMOZ. In some countries where it’s harder to type(China, Tibet, ETC) having directories is realy handy. It does often show DMOZ around the world, as opposed to just the US. American SEOs should bear this in mind when judging the value of DMOZ

Another person asked

“Recently, you removed this suggestion: “Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!” from your guidelines. Is there any chance that you will be discounting these kinds of links for ranking value in future?” Marjy, Boca Raton FL This question has been retracted by the author 1 Response

And Matt Cutts says that:

There’s always the chance that we’ll discount directory links in the future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the “directory” recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or even fly-by-night directories that weren’t great for users. Right now we haven’t changed how we’re weighting directory links–we’ve only removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines.
Matt Cutts, Bay Area, CA