Tag Archives: blogging

Who Needs Another Blogging Platform?

Who needs another blogging platform? No one, if you believe that current platforms are perfect. After 15 years of blogging, and after trying just about every platform — I know that no platform is PERFECT.

Each and every platform is either too simple (not enough functionality) or too complex. And no, I’m not looking at WordPress when I say “too complex.” WordPress is perfect for what it does; it’s my favorite platform, but I’m not enraptured when it comes to usability. If you just want to write a quick post, it’s challenging. You know that you’re not going to be done and dusted in under ten minutes.

Perfection in a blogging platform is impossible

That doesn’t mean that developers should stop trying. As bloggers, we should encourage developers. Not with nitty-picky “I want this” or “Gimme that” demands. Rather, encourage developers to envision a platform that’s not only robust, but is also a pleasure to use.

If I were looking for developers with vision, I’d start with the Realmac Software people. When I switched from PCs to Macs in 2005, while still actively writing for PC magazines, I was nervous. Was I insane? Why oh why…? I talked myself out of buying a Mac for months. Then I did. Then I discovered apps like RapidWeaver (from Realmac Software), and Curio. Then Scrivener. And my switch to Macs enhanced both my productivity and creativity.

Realmac are launching a new blogging platform

When I heard about this Indiegogo campaign for Typed.com, I had to contribute, of course.

I couldn’t be more eager to see what Realmac deliver. I love blogging, and when people who’ve delivered inspired apps like RapidWeaver and Clear promise a new blogging platform, I know we’ve got a treat in store.

The campaign is doing amazingly well. It just started a couple of days ago, and is already well over its goal, with 24 days to go.

Blogging’s a challenge: inspired tools inspire you

I’m a software addict. I used to feel bad about this. It seems frivolous. On the other hand, if you buy an app which makes your work easier and more fun, and you’re more productive, there’s nothing frivolous about that. It’s common sense.

I can’t wait to blog on Typed. It’s something to look forward to. If you love blogging too — or even if you dislike it, but need to do it — remember Typed. If it becomes as popular as I suspect it will, you may be using Typed before too long.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

3 Tips To Make Your Business Blog Work

Is your business blog making your company look bad? I’ve been working with a content marketing client, who asked me to look at business blogs across a range of industries, and create a report.

Yesterday, we looked at content marketing mistakes and how to fix them in a slide deck. Today, let’s look at some easy tips to make your blog work for your business.

Some companies do a fantastic job of integrating their blog with their overall marketing. They get it. A blog isn’t an obligation, or something “for the search engines”. It’s a publication. Consider blogging to be instant publishing, and think about your most recent blog post. Is that post something you’re proud to publish? Would it work as a brochure?

If publishing a blog post were as expensive as publishing a brochure, business blogs would get a lot more respect. Many companies blithely push blogging and social media onto their least experienced employee. Not a good idea.

Each and every blog post is a gateway to your website. It represents you, and every post, no matter how short, can work for you.

Let’s look at some tips.

1. Publish real content: forget junk content for “SEO”

If someone says to you: “a blog is good for SEO”, ignore them. The days when shoveling junk onto the Web in the hope of getting search engine rankings have LONG gone. In fact, those days never existed.

A lot of great companies have woeful blogs. They’re updated infrequently, with content which looks like placeholder text.

On the other hand, many companies have good blogs. Here’s one.

I enjoy shopping at The Good Guys, and their blog does them proud.

To repeat, your business blog is a publication. Integrate it with your website; The Good Guys’ blog does product reviews. You can too.

2. Get personality: blog for real people

Consider magazines. Next time you browse a magazine rack, pick several magazines devoted to the same topic — any topic you choose. Each of those magazines is slightly different. It has a vision — a personality, if you like.

Your blog should have a personality too. Consider this blog.

Rhodia Drive is a blog published by the Rhodia paper company, and promotes its products. The blog is for people who love paper, and buy and use paper notebooks. It’s got personality, and the blog appeals to people all over the world who love paper.

What could you do to give your blog a personality? Start by considering the people who buy your products. The Good Guys do this: they’ve got recipes and videos for people who love food and cooking — and those people are a part of The Good Guys’ market.

Years ago, Microsoft had major PR problems. Robert Scoble’s blogging went a long way towards showing that Microsoft, big as it was and is, is a company made up of real people.

You’re human. Your company’s made up of people. Relate to your customers as people via your blog, and you’ll reap the benefits.

3. Know what you want your blog to do

Again: your blog is a publication. You can publish anything you like instantly. Your blog’s a huge opportunity to humanize your company, and differentiate you from your competition.

If you’re not happy with your blog, start your blog’s makeover by checking out what your competitors are doing. Then check out the blogs of big companies. Check out the magazine rack too.

Consider your customers. Create customer personas, if you haven’t done so already. What magazines do your customers read? What movies and TV shows do they watch?

Your blog is a huge marketing opportunity. You can be one of those companies which does blogging, and content marketing, well.

Want some blogging inspiration? Contact me.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Desk, a Mac Desktop Blogging Editor

I have a serious addiction: Mac apps. As things go, it’s not a serious addiction, of course. However, it’s a nuisance. Just this week, I bought Typed, a Mac Markdown editor. Now there’s Desk, another blogging editor. (Sigh.)

Why, oh why yet another app? A couple of reasons. I like blogging as a break from serious writing — that is,  client projects. It’s my little reward, so I’m always working on a blog post. Also, Desk lets you use Markdown. I adore Markdown. So I couldn’t resist. Obviously I like playing with apps and blogging more than I like doing serious work. :-)

Desk, a desktop blog editor

 It’s not easy to find a GOOD desktop blog editor

WordPress is my blogging platform of choice, so I usually blog in the WordPress editor. However, that can be a royal pain, for various reasons. So, when I saw how many great reviews Desk received, I couldn’t resist.

Over the years, I’ve used many other Mac desktop blog editors. Most handle publishing to a blog reasonably well, except when they don’t. That’s when I give up in disgust and go back to blogging in WordPress.

There’s another reason I like to blog in the WordPress editor: SEO. I use the Yoast plugin, which reminds me of keywords, page titles, and the rest. When you use a desktop editor, you have to go back into WordPress, and add those things afterward. This can be a hassle, if you’ve got five other things to do in the next 60 minutes.

This is a test post for Desk: review to follow

I’m writing this post in Desk, and I’ll complete it once Desk has sent the post to WordPress.

I’ll write a proper review when I’m more familiar with the app, but I like the ability to drag images from the desktop right into a post.

My major quibble after 20 minutes playing with the app? No typewriter scrolling. Desk has a great community already, and someone has asked for that feature, so I added my voice.

Now to hit Publish, and see what happens. :-)

… and we’re live

I’m back in the WordPress editor, adding the meta data.

Desk has done an excellent job; I managed to add a few too many non-breaking spaces, but that’s OK, for a first attempt.

I’m really impressed that the image I dragged into Desk is right where it should be; that will save time.

My verdict on my first Desk post: the app’s fun to use, and it does what it says on the label. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

5 Blog Post Ideas You Can Use Today

5 Blog Post Ideas You Can Use Today

When I work with clients on their blogs, I make lists of blog post ideas they can use if they wish. By the time they work through the list, they know how to generate their own ideas.

Ideas are everywhere. For inspiration, check your email, and the news, and ask your colleagues to help you to brainstorm.

If you’ve still got nothing, try these ideas.

1. Create a list post

List posts are super-easy. Choose a topic, and think: why, what, why, when, where and how.

Examples:

  • 5 Reasons Yoghurt Is Good For You
  • 5 Simple And Trendy Yoghurt Desserts
  • 2 Ways To Make Yoghurt At Home
  • Simple Good Health: 4 Super-Foods To Include In Your Diet

You can often turn posts in your archives into list posts.

2. Post an image from your location

You’ll see these kinds of posts on social media: an image of what someone saw on his way to work, or the view from a poster’s living room window.

Make this theme your own. If you’ve got a bricks and mortar shop, you’ve got endless opportunities to snap images.

They don’t need to be pretty — they just need to be a slice of life.

If you’re a writer, post an image of your desk, or the cover of your book, or the unboxing of something or other. YouTube’s full of unboxing videos, because they’re popular.

3. Post the answer to a question (include WHY)

You get questions every day. If you’re stumped for a blog post idea, scroll through your email.

Tell your readers why you responded as you did. The reason will be evident to you, but for someone who’s new to your topic, it’s a mystery.

4. Create a post in a format you’ve never used before

Most bloggers get stuck using the same couple of formats. However, there are many different blog post formats. If you’re using WordPress, check your theme.

Here’s a selection of formats.

Blog post formats
Blog post formats

5. Just for giggles, use an idea generator

Sometimes your brain feels like mush, and ideas won’t come. Make yourself laugh. Humor makes you more creative.

Idea generators can come up with some weird ideas.

Here’s Hubspot’s. Enter three nouns.

Here’s what happened when I used it.

Blog post idea generator
Blog post idea generator

Collect blog post ideas

I’m a big Evernote user. I’ve got a notebook called Drafts, in which I collect ideas.

Here’s the key to collecting ideas so that they’re useable: jot down a couple of paragraphs, rather then just a phrase, an URL, or a title. The more you write about your idea now, the easier the blog post will be to write later.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.