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.  

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