Geekalicious Recommends... Barnes & Noble Nook HD

Geekalicious Recommends
Recently I have been having a play with the Barnes and Noble Nook HD.  The Nook is brand new to the UK and bridges the gap between an e-reader and a tablet but with full-colour 7-inch HD screen, leaning heavily on the fact that it is an idea unit for reading magazines and newspapers on.

But it's so much more than that.

The Nook HD is a very tactile tablet.  It's light - about the same size and weight as a standard sized paperback book - with numerous features.  Straight out of the box you find that it has a plastic screen surround, a rubber-feel backing with two speakers built in and boot-up from complete shut-down takes around 68 seconds.  The screen resolution is gobsmackingly sharp! 

The main feature of the Nook HD is that it allows numerous profiles so it immediately feels like a family-friendly unit.  There's also no risk of any of the kids buying anything from the Barnes & Noble shop as the children's profiles only have access to their own personal library and pre-downloaded apps.

First things first

Your Nook profile opens up at your home screen where you can create shortcuts to your favourite books, magazines and apps and there are permanent links to your Nook library of books, your downloaded apps, a web browser, email and the Barnes & Noble shop.

The Barnes & Noble Shop

Barnes & Noble have a huge online catalogue of books, apps and subscriptions tailored to the UK market and this is still in development however the quality of the downloads is second to none!  I have found that some of the books seem quite expensive when compared to pricing on Amazon (one example was a new release - £20.87 on Barnes & Noble, £6.29 on Amazon) however many of the best sellers are almost the same price - just a few pence difference. I hope that Barnes & Noble address this pricing issue for digital downloads because I feel that users will simply migrate back to Kindle for their book reading.  On the positive side, I have found that the interactive children's books are really engaging with fantastic graphics, unique inclusive options such as a "read and record" feature and many touchscreen surprises.

When a purchase is made from the shop you can assign it to as many profiles as you like.  This ensures that  individual profile material is age-appropriate and parents can assign child-friendly apps and books direct to an individual child's profile.  This in itself is an ingenious feature simply because it means that adults don't have to scroll through a child's 'recently used' selection and that children of different ages can have books and games appropriate to their age.  I can create a user-specific profile for the grandchildren (both under the age of 5) and one for my teenager (aged 13).

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions

As previously mentioned, I feel that Barnes & Noble are focusing heavily on their newspaper and magazine subscription feature and once you see the quality of the downloads you can see why.  The subscriptions are a similar price to paper and digital version but the interactivity feels like you are getting so much more for your money.  It is easier to demonstrate this and here I show you how a magazine download looks and  how you can 'tear out' a page from a magazine to keep - something that I always do with paper magazines and I constantly feel was missing from digital downloads.  Please excuse the shaky camera work...

video


Operating system and apps

The operating system that Barnes & Noble are using is Android based.  The browser is super quick and email is easily incorporated.  And because I have chosen to link my own Google account I can also access my Google calender and other Google features.   They have also taken many of their apps from the Google Play store but whilst you have to use what is provided, be assured that they are the best of the best.  It's reassuring that Barnes & Noble have done this research because, as a dedicated android user, finding the official or best apps in the Google Play store can be a bit of a minefield at times. My new discovery is the Flipboard app.  It has collated my social media channels, Google Reader, news, and photography favourites and presented them in one handy feature.  Find it and use it.

Edited to add:  With effect from 3rd May 2013, the Google Play store has been integrated into the software for the Nook HD and the Nook HD+. 

Television and film

In the Barnes & Noble store you can also download film and television features.  Watching films on a tablet is not something that I had experienced before but, as you can see here, the HD screen ensures that you enjoy a clear, crisp viewing.  


video


Conclusion

I feel that the Barnes & Noble Nook HD is a fantastic bridge between an e-reader and a tablet.  I have been using an Android tablet for over six months now and I haven't picked it up since using the Nook HD.  Any social media channels that are missing from the app market (namely Facebook and Google Plus at the time of this review) can be accessed via the browser and even over the few days that I have been using the Nook HD I have seen new features added, new additions to the libraries and shop and I am constantly finding new ways to interact with the downloads.  

On a personal level I think I'll still use my Kindle for reading books as the special offers and freebies are much more wide ranging (edit: using the Kindle app from the Google Play store bridges this gap now).  If the Barnes & Noble shop catches up with this, I may migrate completely.  I'm enjoying the magazine/newspaper experience and the speed of the apps and browser doesn't need to be any faster for personal use.

Edited to add:  As mentioned above, the integration of the Google Play store is a very clever move.  I believe that Barnes & Noble may lose out on some book and app sales but this will generate more Nook  HD unit sales because this has just made it the best Android tablet on the market in 2013.

For more information, stockists and prices visit http://uk.nook.com/

This Nook HD and access to the Barnes & Noble shop was provided for the purpose of this review.  
Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Social Petworking

Geekalicious Guest Post
Occasionally a daft idea transposes into a great business opportunity.  A while back I was being amused by the updates on Text From Dog and now some previously unseen text conversations have been pulled together into a book.  At one time my old dog had a Twitter account but the pressure to be funny or original, when you're up against humorous updates from Text From Dog is just too much so now I prefer to take cute pictures of my new puppy and upload them to Instagram instead.  

Does your pet have a social media account?  According to the research completed by SPANA - the international animal welfare charity - 1 in 10 pets have a social media profile and they have pulled this infographic together to show you the best of the best!


Social Petworking Stars

How To Generate Sales By Offering Freebies

As a keen reader I often scout Amazon for free downloads for my Kindle.  These offers give me the chance to discover new authors which very probably leads to the purchase of their other titles.  Confirming this in a blog post last week was book editors Bubblecow with their post, The Secret of Giving Your Book Away For Free which concludes that by offering a well-written book for free generates good reviews which translate into future sales.  I believe this is a method that can work across many business models. After all, how many times do we purchase something because of a seemingly tantalising special offer?

By coincidence, an author friend of mine was planning to offer one of her erotica books for free as an experimental promotion.  The book would be available for free for 48 hours only - the 5th and 6th of December 2012.  Here is Indigo Moore's experience.


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Geekalicious Guest PostI had no idea whether offering a free title on Kindle would work as a promotional tool - after all, people are always tempted by a freebie, regardless of whether the item is something that they really want. So I didn't hold out much hope of it translating into a realistic amount of publicity.

I didn't help myself by forgetting to prime any of the promotional websites - those pages that advertise upcoming Kindle freebies. Real life got in the way and it was only when I received a rather disappointed-sounding email from my publisher bemoaning the lack of downloads at the beginning  of the free period that I realised what I (hadn't) done. I did then send a slightly panicky message to the managers of the Free Digital Reads website and they very kindly put my details out at short notice, but that was the only third party promotional site that I used.

I decided that the best method at this point would be use the contacts I've got on Twitter and Facebook. I posted a link for the promo on my personal accounts as well as the Indigo Moore ones, asking people to share wherever they felt possible (erotica not necessarily being as 'shareable' as, say, children's books).

A quick note on promotion vs. anonymity seems relevant here. Although I write erotica under a pseudonym, I have never gone out of my way to hide that it's actually 'me' under the pen name. This makes it much easier for me to push my own stories, as I can use my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as my author ones. I can also bribe / bully / cajole my friends and online acquaintances to share my commercial links through their own networks.
If I was writing anonymously I think it would have been much harder, as it immediately cuts out many of the potential media outlets.

Given my rather slapdash methods, I wasn't expecting great results. However…

My story hit the #1 spot on the UK free erotica charts within 24 hours. By the end of the free period it was at #9 in the States.  Amazingly, it also got to #28 across all free Kindle categories in the UK. There are currently 43,138 free titles on that list, which makes my final placing pretty goddamn awesome by anyone's standards.

But still, I did wonder whether it would have any impact on 'actual' sales, or whether it'd turn out to be a flash in the pan (albeit one which now permits me to say 'I made number one once, you know' to anyone who'll listen).

It's only a day after the promotion closed, so possibly too soon to tell really. But the other five (paid) titles that I currently have available on Amazon all took a jump up the charts in the 24 hours after the promo closed and social interactions (via Twitter, Facebook and my website) have increased noticeably. I've had enthusiastic comments (and promises of telling friends about me) from people I've never met, both here and in the States.

And publicity is the crux of the matter - the absolute fuel to a writer's commercial survival. Readers are much more likely to take a punt on one of your paid titles if they're already familiar with your work and confident that they'll like it. Content is everything - the more work you put out there, the more likely people are to find you. I had six titles available before we decided to run a free promotion - much less than that and it wouldn't be worth doing, as I wouldn't have enough in my catalogue for people to buy even if they wanted to.

At the end of the period my story had been downloaded over two and a half thousand times

Maybe I was lucky, maybe people genuinely like my writing, or maybe I just know a lot of brilliantly active people on social media - either way, it's been a very positive experience.



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If you want to find out more about Indigo Moore you can delve into these links:


Websitehttp://indigomoore.com
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/indigorosemoore
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/IndigoRoseMoore
Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/indigomooreamazon








Geekalicious Recommends... November 2012

Geekalicious Recommends

Welcome to November's "Geekalicious Recommends..."  
Here are the geek and tech links that have caught my eye this month.



Firstly, Leila at Gamaroff Digital is talking about the quality of the Facebook 'Like' button for brands in her post entitled, "You'll Find My Fans Chilling In The Like Graveyard".  Her major point, executed by using the 'Win an iPad by liking our page' theory is expressed brilliantly when she says "...wouldn't it be better if you had a thousand Likes from people who were liking, sharing and commenting on your wall posts, than a hundred thousand from people who wanted an iPad but now hate your guts.  Focus on making Facebook a nicer experience for your fans and you'll squeeze more out of the little buggers."  But, as we all know, Edge Rank is making it far more difficult to experience visibility on Facebook without paying for it.  Between you and me, if I'm being truthful, as soon as I see the word 'Sponsored' under a brand link I make a point of not clicking on it to help them understand the 'promoted' feature better.

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If you use Instagram you may have noticed that web profiles are being rolled out.  This means that you can socially link to your Instagram pictures via a weblink and share them with anyone online, rather than just those who use Instagram.  Social Media Examiner showcases this well .

Also, I found this post from Geek Is New Chic from last December which tells you How To Save Your Instagram Photos.  A great little tip if you're a fan of IG but want to use the filtered images for blog posts rather than push them to your IG stream.

Instagram have also issued official badges.  You can use their design or create your own.  Use these on your 'About Me' section or 'Connect With Me' section.  This tip was originally seen on the Cybher Facebook page.

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Marie from Code It Pretty has been showing us how to create Pinterest widgets.  Her instructions are really easy to follow. I've tested this out in the sidebar here for my Unique Geek Speak community board and it works perfectly. If you want to be invited as a contributor to this board just let me know in the comments.  I'll need your Pinterest ID so that I can add you.

Also, did you notice the mention for Pinterest secret boards in the Social Media Examiner link?  If not, click again and have a look!

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Do you fancy being able to download a full archive of your tweets?  Tech Crunch have summarised Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo's promise that this facility will be available by the end of the year although it does seem like a job that the engineers behind Twitter aren't happy about considering the (growing) popularity of Twitter.    Would you download your archive?  If so, what would you do with it?
(link via Rob Shoesmith)

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And finally, I shall finish with this FANTASTIC video from Martin Shervington which demonstrates the best way to get started on Google Plus.  If you're interested in extending your profile on G+ it really is worth following Martin's tips.  



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I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Also, if you have a blog post that you'd like me to include in the next round-up send me a link by email and I'll give it a read through. I'm always looking for new blogs to read and recommend.


Google Authorship : Get It Right!

google plus logo
Claiming Google Authorship is important if you want your content attributed to your Google profile in Google searches.  After mentioning it on my recent post about using SEO effectively I received a few queries about which code to use.  I have broken it down for you here:
  • rel='author' is for G+ personal profiles
  • rel='publisher' is for G+ pages

The first step you should take is to link the correct 'rel' command to your public Google+ link from your blog.  If you link to your personal profile (as I do) then use the 'author' command.  If you link to your page then use the 'publisher' command. 

<a href="[profile url here]?rel=author">Find me on Google+</a>
<a href="[page url here]?rel=publisher">Find me on Google+</a>

Now you have to link your Google+ Profile to your blog so visit your Contributor To section on Google+ and add in your blog link.  Do this for each blog you write or contribute to.

Connecting your information in this way is registered almost immediately and you can see which information is publicly available using the Google structured data tool.  Anything that requires changing can be amended by selectinEdit profile from your own Google+ profile.

I hope you find this useful.  Let me know how you get on.



The Importance Of Being First With The News

Having social media, news channels and digital communication at our fingertips means that content can go viral very quickly.  It is important to be on the ball with "What's Hot" and sharing it with your audience.  

An episode of a Radio 4 comedy show (I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue) was championed on the Radio 2 breakfast show on Monday 26th November.  I had already heard the clip that was being discussed and had a post in draft ready to share with my audience as a 'space filler' on my personal blog.  However, I knew that after it had been shared with a wide audience they would be searching for it online so why not direct them to it?

Tony Hawks Gangnam style google search results
(click to enlarge)
With a bit of simple SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) I tidied up the post and published as soon as I got into work.  Within an hour, my post - entitled "Tony Hawks, Gangnam Style" - was top of the Google search results (Google Chrome incognito search used so not to skew results).  After another couple of hours it had dropped to third but was backed up by curated RSS feeds.  Over the next 24 hours it shifted up and down between first and third result.

SEO is a bit of a minefield if you want to dig deep enough but there are a few pointers that any blogger can follow to help hone your post:
  • Use a keyword in the title (also using the permalink facility to have a good URL but user-friendly title)
  • Use your keyword in the first paragraph
  • Use your keyword in the <alt> and <title> attributes of your image and give your image an appropriate file name
  • Use labels effectively
  • Use bold and italics to help highlight keywords
  • Complete your search description
  • Ensure that you have applied for Google Authorship i.e. link your content to your Google profile/page so you are acknowledged in search results.

Do you have any SEO hot tips?  Have you ever had any posts that have gone viral?  Let me know in the comments.


Additional Tip:  Permalink and Search Description is available in both Blogger and Wordpress.  

Geekalicious Hot Tip : G+ Word Clouds

Because Google Plus is such a new platform it is hard to know what everyone is talking about.  How do you know if you have people in the right circles?  I have found a nifty little word cloud tool that draws in from any profile's posts and highlights their most used words.  Here is my word cloud:

word cloud, Google Plus, Geekalicious

You can view it larger here and the easiest way to create your own is to grab your own G+ profile ID code (the numbers in the address bar) and replace the numbers from my word cloud URL with the numbers from your G+ profile or page.  You can do this with anyone's G+ profile ID - just visit their profile page, copy the numbers and generate their word cloud.  Have a look at which words stand out the most and see if this helps you to organise your circles.

Leave me your word cloud links in the comments so I can have a look through them.

(PS.  to save your word cloud to use in a blog post hit the "save" option then right click and select 'save image as...' to save as a picture file on your computer)


Geekalicious Recommends... Seagate Backup Plus

Geekalicious Recommends
Geekalicious Recommends... is branching out and incorporating products that I have tried and loved.  

I was recently sent a Seagate Backup Plus (500GB) to try as an external hard drive and backup facility and literally had to wrestle it out of my husband's hands.  Seagate have been the leader in technology for over thirty years and with digital home entertainment on the increase we have a large amount of technology at home including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. 

seagate backup plus, 500GB, Geekalicious,
What's different about the Seagate Backup Plus is that whilst using it as a traditional external hard drive, you can also sync it to your social media channels such as Facebook and Flickr so that you can save images uploaded on the move.  The set-up process is very easy and comes with four video tutorials that are no longer than a couple minutes in length each.  Once the set-up process is complete, you can share images from the device to the integrated social media channels and create an album with one click.

My current set up is synced to my laptop and I have created folders for work and for personal use.  If you keep the hard drive connected to your main computer you can set the sync to specific intervals (daily, weekly, etc).  However,  I have created folders for each member in our house and, subsequently, each of their devices.  This allows us all to be able to backup our data and to save our own photographs from Facebook.  With this external hard drive you are also provided with one year's free 'cloud' storage which can be extended and/or increased at any time.

I'm loving this back-up process as it's so easy to use but what I would like to see in further models is Instagram and Google (Picasa) album integration as these are the image channels I use currently.  

What sort of back-up device do you use?  Do you have a portable back-up system or something else?  Let me know in the comments.

Social Media Engagement And Commenting On Blogs

Geekalicious, social engagement, networking, pie chart, comments, blogging,
Social media engagement has erupted over the past year or so.  It is becoming more acceptable to converse online and many communities are finding platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus an easy place to hold a conversation with a wide audience. Finding a balance between communication and broadcasting is key to becoming a great communicator for bloggers, for businesses and on a personal level too.

Blogging has become much more of a social concept and blogs no longer sit in their own corner of the internet, waiting to be discovered however there is much discussion about how to engage your audience and increase your 'reach'.

Over the past three years, blogging has become much more of a socially accepted concept simply because online activity is more easily accessible.  In 2010 I wrote an article for Flying Start Magazine (page 36) aimed at new Parent Bloggers, although the advice is the same for everyone.  One observation I made was that blogs used to sit in their little corner of the internet, waiting to be discovered, or they were read when you happened to mention to a friend that you wrote a blog.  Very often, blogs were considered a dirty little secret, accepting visitors but receiving no comments.  Blogs were found through Google searches way before non-commercial bloggers started worrying about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), some joined dedicated forums and exchanged blog links, recommendations were found on blogging platforms and, by chance, links were found through other social media channels.  

Now that more people are using the internet to socialise, blogging has become more acceptable as a way to communicate with the world.  Some blogging communities thrive on personal connections and, for a while, comment boxes were bursting with interaction.  Being given the option to share your support or offer your opinion was a new method of communication and a chance to share a link to your own blog too.

Then social media exploded.  Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus were the place to be interactive; quick and easy ways to give feedback, share links and leave a response.  No complicated logging-in process to leave a comment was required and you could become an even more integrated member of many communities.  

But is social media a shortcut to interaction?  Do we need comments on a blog post?  Take news websites as an example. The BBC News website does not have a comment section on its main features yet some newspaper websites have comment sections open under each article.  Both seem to thrive using these methods.  

Are you happy with feedback via Twitter after you've shared a link?  Do you like conversations forming under a status update on Facebook or Google Plus?  Do comments left in this way prevent effective discussion on the actual blog post where the subject is relevant?   What about respected bloggers, such as Melinda Fargo, who have turned off comments.  

Are there really less comments out there or just more bloggers so we expect there to be more comments and interaction?


Have you enjoyed this post?  Have a look at this one from Annie at Mammasaurus which considers the same questions.  

Geekalicious Recommends... October 2012

Geekalicious Recommends

Welcome to another "Geekalicious Recommends..." Here are some geek and tech links that I have enjoyed this month. 




I cannot express how much I am loving Google Plus at the moment. I have been awarded Google Authorship which means that my content and recommendations are attributed to me. This is important to me as my blogs are not written anonymously and I feel that recognition is important both for content and in Google search. The first two images on this Visualise Google Plus post from GooglePlus Helper are a great starting point to help you decide whether to +1 or share a post you see in your G+ stream. Their Text Formatting Cheat Sheet is also a great resource for newcomers to G+.

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I really enjoyed this short, but concise post from Clare over at Bad Language. How To Write Your First Post has some great tips that can be applied to all blogging and details some really good methods to follow if you're in a blogging rut. Clare's Google Reader recommendation is a hot tip!

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There was a fab little tip on the Cybher blog this month which explains how Instagram synchs @usernames with Twitter. This was timely because my my Instagram name and my Twitter name are different. The two accounts were connected and I could push my Instapics to my Twitter account however they weren't connected in the settings. Now I get Instagram mentions on Twitter automatically.

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I'm hearing a lot about Reddit recently and I am struggling to understand how I can use it effectively. It is considered bad etiquette to recommend your own links however, if your article is recommended on Reddit you will see an increase in traffic. Like Stumbleupon, this traffic is unlikely to be sticky.  Socialmouths have published an infographic called Understanding Reddit Once And For All which helps to understand who uses Reddit, explains the etiquette and explains how and where to post content.

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I loved this post How To Make Every Reader Feel A Part Of Your Community from Quick Blog Tips. It echoes everything I say about community engagement. If you have a comments section on your blog then engage with the people who have taken a few minutes to respond to the post you wrote.

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And finally, does anyone fancy joining me in a Panoramio Hangout game? It's like a game of hide and seek using Google Maps and Google Hangouts. Give me a shout and I'll set up an event as one of my HOA sessions in the next week or so.

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I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Also, if you have a blog post that you'd like me to include in the next round-up send me a link by email and I'll give it a read through. I'm always looking for new blogs to read and recommend.

How To Use Twitter Lists

twitter lists, geekalicious,
One of the current social media conversations centers around Twitter Lists.  You may have heard them mentioned from time to time, you may use them for a variety of reasons, you may have no idea what they are.  I'd like to show you how I use Twitter lists to enhance my time on the Twitter platform and I would love to hear your hints and tips too.






What Are Twitter Lists?

Twitter lists help you organise other users of Twitter into categories and enables you to see their updates in one feed.  Twitter lists can be made public (so that anyone can see the members of that list) or private (so that only the creator can see the members of that list).  Other Twitter users can follow public lists.  

How To Curate A Twitter List

twitter lists, geekaliciousIf you navigate to your own Twitter profile page at Twitter Home > View my profile page or by vising  https://twitter.com/[twitter name]/lists you will see Twitter Lists that you have created or are following (more of that in a minute) and Twitter Lists that you are a member of.

To create a list it is as easy as hitting the "Create list" button and filling in the necessary details.  You can give your list a name and a description and set it to Public or Private.  Twitter will then take you to a page that gives some options of how to add people to your list such as searching for a username/real name or to add members from the people you follow.

twitter lists, geekalicious, When you click on the title of a list you will be taken to the twitter feed for that list as a default.  In the left hand menu you will be able to switch between Tweets (live feed), List Members (who has been assigned to that list) and Subscribers (who is following that list).  You will also see a Subscribe button which enables you to 'follow' the list of people on twitter.

NB: You follow the list and not the individual twitter accounts on the list.

Public or Private?

Having your lists private or public is entirely up to you. I have created one private list which houses approximately 150 people with whom I converse on a regular basis and is this the first list I check when I switch on.

How To Use Twitter Lists

I curate lists to help me keep up to date with a number of 'groups' of people so that I don't have to follow an enormous amount of people.  This enables me to engage with the people I do follow effectively.  My list content and my follower count change on a regular basis so that Twitter remains an active and interactive exercise.

When you view someone's Twitter profile you can add them to a list very quickly by clicking on button that looks like a silhouette of a head and shoulders and ticking the box next to the list you want them in.  Their tweets will automatically be added to that feed.  Also, people can belong to more than one list.

Twitter Lists that have been curated by commercial accounts are very useful.  Marketing or P.R. departments spend a great deal of social media activity interacting with their public so it makes sense for them to use lists for specific campaigns.

You can add a named list as a column to your Twitter app (eg. Tweetdeck) which will generate a live feed of the members included in that list.

Do you use Twitter lists?  What is your top Twitter List Tip?  Let me know in the comments.

How Do You Decide What Your Blog Is Worth?


This is a guest post from Molly Forbes who blogs at Mother's Always Right.  Molly fancied a bit of navel gazing and this is a subject that is constantly discussed among bloggers.  I was happy to publish her post so this subject can be dissected.


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How Do You Decide What Your Blog Is Worth?

First thing’s first: this isn't a post debating the ethics of accepting commercial content on your blog. This isn't about publishing sponsored posts, or follow links, or adverts, or reviews.  There have been enough of those posts written before.  No, what this post is about is something a bit less black and white. It’s that messy issue of money – and deciding how much you’re worth.

Lots of bloggers (myself included) have made the decision to publish sponsored posts, reviews and adverts. While the reasons behind accepting a review post seem pretty clear – either you like the item or you think your readers will – the same can’t be said of other types of commercial content. Especially when the cash isn't all that.

SEO and money
I was recently approached by an SEO agency to run a sponsored post with follow links.  I know that Google penalises sites caught running paid-for follow links.  I also know that because of the risk to a blog’s Google Page Rank, those still accepting these types of posts are charging more for the link. It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

I replied to the email asking for verification over the type of links they wanted in the post and then I sent off my media pack with my rates. The next email I had from this agency made me laugh.  In return for my time writing the post, publishing a follow link, risking my Google Page Rank, promoting the post across all my social media platforms, they were willing to pay me… wait for it… £17.

That’s right. £17.

When replying to my email explaining the reasons why I wouldn't be going ahead with the post, the SEO agency told me my site wasn't (and I quote) “strong enough for good rates”.  That’s the bit that made me laugh.  But actually, it’s not really very funny. In fact, it’s a little bit sad because I expect there were other bloggers targeted by this SEO agency representative who accepted his price. And while I’m in no way judging them for taking on a sponsored post that paid less than a quarter of what many charge, I do think it’s a shame.

It’s a shame, because I think it’s indicative of a more widespread issue. I think people are under-valuing their blogs and time. Or perhaps they just haven’t stopped to think about it yet.
  • Your blog shouldn't be seen as a cheap form of advertising for a company not willing to pay the going rates. 
  • Your time shouldn't be seen as unworthy of decent payment.

When you take on a sponsored post, the chances are you’ll be the one writing it. Also you are publishing it on your site and sharing it with your readers. It’s the equivalent of making a poster for a company and then putting it up in your living room window.  You’re selling your time AND your space. You’re selling the dedicated group of readers who engage with you every day. If you’re accepting follow links, you’re selling a commodity many people are no longer offering.  So your prices should reflect that, surely?

Obviously there’ll be variations. Blogs with higher Page Ranks and stats will be worth more to many brands but the variations should still reflect the product because, let’s be clear, your blog IS a product when talked about in this way.

I also know that blogging is often an intensely personal thing. Some families may need the money more than others. And what some may view as a decent sum, others will think is rubbish.

If you've taken the time to think about all those points above and you’re still willing to accept a rate of £17… well, then that’s your choice. It’s an informed choice and you’re the only one who can make it.  Just as long as you ARE making a choice, rather than going along with the flow, thinking you've bagged some easy cash for not doing much.

After all, if YOU don’t value your own blog why on earth should anyone else?


Image Credit: TECHANKIT (via Google Images)
If you have a  non-commercial post that you'd like to publish on this blog please get in touch .

'kthnxbai' and other annoying Twitter habits

Mash Up:  Yes, Twitter updates are limited to 140 characters but using phrases such as "kthnxbai" (the new "talk to the hand") makes you look like you've leant on the keyboard with your elbow.  It's almost as annoying as using "Tw" as a prefix to create a twitter related activity.  There's a knack to articulating yourself in 140 characters - this is not it.

Twitter Parties : Good or Bad Marketing?

Twitter parties divide the Twitter community straight down the middle but they are becoming more popular for marketing purposes with open and closed parties.

twitter, twitter party, trending on twitter,

Is A Retweet An Endorsement?

Occasionally on Twitter I am asked to retweet something; a competition, a charitable cause, a tweet to raise awareness.  Some of the time I exercise my right to share a tweet that I find humorous, something that angers me or even an opinion that I wholly agree with.  By doing so, I believe I am endorsing the information in the tweet or accompanying link - I am showing my support.  More often than not, I try to add a few words into the retweet to express my opinion.  This is easier using a third party client such as Tweetdeck as the Twitter web only allows a direct retweet with no alteration to the original text.

This is where endorsement issues can arise.

Geekalicious Recommends... September 2012

Geekalicious Recommends


Welcome to the second "Geekalicious Recommends".  Here are some geek and tech links that I have really enjoyed this month.


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We shall start with a bit of self-promotion.  Over on Typecast I had a bit of a rant about an approach from a company called Flubit.  I'm all for a bit of innovative marketing but I still haven't found out how they obtained my personal details (my 'public' name isn't the same as my 'real' name).  The more I think about it and discuss this subject, the more I am convinced that they bought a mailing list.  It may have even been from a competition that I entered (I usually participate in additional entries on Twitter and Facebook so their marketing strategy would seemingly be fitting).  So, for me, the lesson is, check the small print and ensure that you have that teeny tiny box un/ticked appropriately.  What do you think?

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Have you read about why Leo Traynor met his internet troll?  Trolling has taken on many forms online over the years and, using mobile devices, it could be considered to be easier to troll someone.  Leo explains that with a bit of help he managed to track down his own internet troll but was shocked to find out who it was.  You may be surprised at the way in which he dealt with it too.

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Phil Szomszor highlights an interesting Twitter campaign that seemingly backfired this week.  The #WaitroseReasons meme was subject to some ridicule on the hashtag stream and they have attempted to join in to consolidate their position.  Phil asks if they really thought this very public approach through properly.

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On the Phronesis SEO blog, Bob Bardsley talks about the power of on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).  He mentions the new Google Panda update (penalising page rank for paid or suspicious link building) and how using a copywriter can improve your unique content.

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A feature on Guardian Money spectacularly misquoted a fellow Twitter user this week.  Centered around Kellogg's Special K crisps and their pop-up shop in London (a marketing exercise), @melaina25 was targeted after she shared a picture of the crisps and information about their "points value" for a specific diet.  The author of the article did not read (or quote) the tweet in full nor did she complete her research correctly.  So my question is "Can certain Guardian journalists be trusted? The number of misprints and misquotes seriously makes me wonder..." 

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As ever, there is some glorious content on the ProBlogger blog this month but detailing the nine elements of the perfect post is a really good one to bookmark and revisit.  It hightlights the necessary features of a webpage.  Even though it sounds like it is pretty basic information, sometimes we can get sidetracked by all the unnecessary blah happening in the sidebar. 

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And lets finish on a funny.  I have a feeling that the b3ta membership is responsible for most of the crackpot reviews on Amazon but Debbie from Kommein has highlighted twenty-one products with the best and funniest fake reviews.  I'm including this just because the good Catholic girl in me spotted the communion wafers too.  And, just in cae you're wondering... YES, the canvas print of Paul Ross is featured on there too.  HOORAY!

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I hope you enjoy these recommendations.  Also, if you have a blog post that you'd like me to include in the next round up send me a link by email and I'll give it a read through.  I'm always looking for new blogs to read and recommend.


What To Include On A Media Pack

When I designed my 'media pack' for Typecast (my other blog) I attempted to keep it short and snappy.  I wanted all the information on one page and it had to be relevant, both to the blog and to the person who I was sending it to. 

The ideal media pack will be no longer than one page long, have an example of branding and include all relevant information so that the prospective client has less opportunity to ask questions about your availability.  You want to be able to start a relationship with them as soon as possible.

Below is a stripped-down example taken direct from the media pack I send out for Typecast.  I advise you to keep a copy of your media pack in Publisher or Word so you can easily amend it and *create a .pdf version to email out.

Update it regularly and stay ahead of the game.

Media Pack Example


* To create a pdf, choose PRINT then select "pdf".  You can save this version on your computer.  You can also use an freeware download such as CutePDF which adds a converter into your list of printers.


NB:  In accordance with the CAP Code (Ccommittee of Advertising Practice) all paid or sponsored relationships should be declared and 'paid-for' links should be nofollow.


How Do You Use Social Media?

geekalicious social media icons

This post leads on from the recent Blogger Hangout discussion.  We talked about which social media platform are best (or a time-suck) for bloggers, I have been thinking about the way in which social media is developing and becoming all-encompassing.  There are a number of social media platforms that I feel enhance my time online to network with bloggers and non-bloggers.

I am often asked how I manage each platform and which ones I recommend.  This is by no means a definitive list or method so it would be great if you could share your social media secrets too.  Get ready for a whirlwind tour of my life via social media.

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Facebook.  Facebook is split into three sections for me: my personal profile, my Facebook page and the groups (social media X-Factor, anyone?).  I am quite choosy who I accept as a 'friend' on Facebook as I share pictures of my family and some personal (and occasionally ranty) status updates.  My Facebook page is centered around my blog updates and is also connected to my Twitter account.  On my page I try to keep it 'professional' (i.e. blog and social media related) and encourage 'likes'.  Groups are theme-specific and I am a member of a few that interest me and educate me.

Twitter.  My first, my last, my everything.  I've joined Twitter in 2008 and loved it immediately.  The way in which Twitter performs has changed over the years and people use it for many different reasons.  I use Tweetdeck to flatten out twitter so that I can watch my @mentions column at the same time as my Home stream, Direct Messages and some lists.  This feels more interactive to me although it can take some getting used to.  Other similar applications are Seesmic and Hootsuite.  I also take advantage of scheduling facilities on Tweetdeck so that I can push out updates (usually to my blog) when I know I am going to be away from my online life.

Google Plus.  I have been interested in G+ since the beginning, especially after seeing a few of Google's products fail (Google Buzz, anyone?).  But sometimes you have to find out what doesn't work to be able to produce a better functioning application.  I have found that a G+ Page doesn't work for me and my blog(s) and I remain active on my personal profile.  I have no reason to be anonymous and would like people to know me as the blogger rather than hide behind a pseudonym.  As G+ are putting a lot of work into their underlying SEO (search engine optimisation) I feel that this is an important platform to work on.

StumbleUpon.  Working on two levels (fully explained in my What Is StumbleUpon? tutorial), this platform is a great way to find new content and to drive traffic to your own content.  I occasionally share a link from my own blog via the StumbleUpon (SU) toolbar; the more hits on this link push up the popularity of the article and give it more weight for other users of SU.  When I am using SU to find new content I will give webpages I love a 'thumbs up' and then share using Bolt for a couple of reasons.

Tumblr.  A blogging platform that works for me for updates that are too long for twitter and too short for a blog post.  I often share my Bolts (found on StumbleUpon) to Tumblr as they create great interaction from an new audience.  Many of the Tumblr blogs I follow (and those that follow me) have no idea who I am on my blog, Facebook or Twitter.  My Tumblr is connected to my Twitter account and my Facebook so if I want to expose a Bolt then I push to Tumblr which auto-pushes to the other two platforms.

Instagram.  A glorious way to share snapshots from my mobile phone.  I tend to upload on the go and I rarely use hashtags. I have the option to share to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr so choose the best combination (as above) depending on the theme of the photo.  If I want to share a picture taken on my "proper" camera, I upload the image to Dropbox and share to Instagram from there.  I occasionally use my Instagram pictures on my blog.

Pinterest.  This can drive traffic to my blog so I selfishly "pin" some of my posts over on my two boards - "Flogging the Blogging" (solely blog posts - mine and other people's) and "Unique Geek Speak" (a community board for all things blogging and geek).

Foursquare.  I have a love/hate relationship with Foursquare.  I understand the business promotion side of the platform but not the 'badges' or the 'points'.  I struggle with the balance between promoting good business and services and your followers knowing where you are all the time (I have the same issue with the 'location' facility on Facebook).  I am currently not using this platform but occasionally log in when I am at a conference or blogging event.

YouTube.  This takes some hammering on a weekend evening and my 'favourites' list is a tad eclectic.  I share the occasional tune to the incorporated social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, G+) but I am really enjoying the integration with Google Plus and the Hangouts.  There have been some majorly ingenious uses for Google Hangouts with their "On Air" facility and one that I have been using for weekly Blogger Chats.

Flickr.  Whilst I don't use Flickr to host my photographs any more, I do use their advanced search facility to find images with a creative commons licence that I can use on my blogs.  I always thank the photographer and leave a link to the post that I used it on by way of good manners.  You never know, you may gain a new reader in the process.


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What is your social media activity like?  Do you use a platform that I haven't mentioned?  Do you use one completely differently to the way I do?  What would you recommend that people use and that people steer clear of.  Let me know in the comments.  I also thought you would enjoy this video - The Social Media Revolution 2012.


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