farmNwife

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Category: Beyond Basics

How To Blog Trends

Take Advantage of Trending Topicshow to blog trends

With the onslaught of reactions to the Dodge Ram super bowl ad, I believed it would be a good topic to show how farm bloggers can take advantage of trending topics to gain some traffic. Ultimately this can realistically be a door to become an influence to new visitors. There are many news topics that come up through the year that ag bloggers can put their two cents in and show our view point. If it’s a hot topic of discussion even better. We just have to stay aware of the possibilities, then be nimble in getting our post published. Don’t make this harder than it has to be. Remember it’s a trend; so next week or month there will be another new topic.

Discover the Trends

Finding the trends is fairly easy. Twitter offers a list of trends. If you are using a different platform for your tweets, trend lists will be in the search area. Depending on individual needs, it is a good idea to narrow the trend search for your country. This is found in the same search function.

Google+ offers a trend list on your home page. trend search
Google Trends helps you explore buzz terms on their mega search engine.

Social Mention is one to use for, you guessed it, social media in general. Do not select “All” before clicking search on this one. Narrow it down or you’ll be sitting awhile.

If you want to go old school, check out the media networks’ sites. Or really old school– What are your friends talking about? hmmm.

Posting The Trends

Now to get to the nitty-gritty of blogging these current issues. Please, do not just post the video or link to the article and say “Hey, this is cool! Right, On!” Just rehashing what has already been said will work against you.

Put a little thought and imagination in to the post. Good bets are Emotion, Tell a Story, or Give Facts. You’ve got to have a hook, a new angle. Something to make it unique that visitors will want to 1. read the whole post 2. comment 3. share your link.

Examples of farm bloggers posting about the super bowl Dodge truck commercial:

Ryan gives more facts about how farming has changed as it relates to the popular truck ad.
Katie wrote a personal story immediately after watching the commercial. Bonus points for expediency.
On my farm blog I put together a video that explained why I thought the super bowl ad made such an impact on viewers. (emotional)

As we learned in my last post, smart use of keywords is one key to being discovered.

I’ll leave you with two principles:

  1. Keep the post simple — So you can quickly publish.
  2. Make it riveting — So readers will take notice.

Add to the Trend

After the publish box is clicked and you have a bright shiny new post up on your blog, send it on its way. Be sure to have linked to the source of your topic in the post. That way readers will know what you are referring to. The original article site will be notified of the link through track backs or traffic sources. You never know where this may lead.

Post to all your social networks. Do this sporadically in the next couple of days. Just don’t over do. Link to the specific post not just your site. Add hashtags and @ mentions where appropriate.

Comment on other blogs covering the same topic. Contribute to the discussion don’t just leave your own link.

Comment on media sites’ articles talking about the trending term. Leave a link when allowed.

Be a blogging buddy. Share other bloggers’ links regularly.

Trend Next

You should be all set to be an influencer on the current issue. It will get easier with practice. You will find out what resonates with readers and what’s ignored. And be on your toes for the next hot topic.

What about reoccurring topics or trends? I’ll be writing on that.

Tell Me: Did I leave anything out?


Smart SEO Strategy

smart seo strategySEO Update Info Here

Let’s admit it. Most farm blogs are small potatoes when it comes to the internet blogosphere. How can we compete with all the internet marketers promising riches or wikipedia or even Huffington Post. The good news is, we are not competing with those sites. We are wanting to attract readers who are looking for the information that we provide. So, to get those readers we’ll have to be smart about using SEO. Right?

What do I mean by smart?

Remember in a previous post I talked about using the right words in our titles that had a higher search volume than other words. Well, this time we are talking about being realistic with which words or terms we can actually rank for. If our site doesn’t show up on the first page of the search, it’s very unlikely to be found. My intention with this post is to increase the chances of our sites showing up on the first page.

Let’s say the term Agriculture is what we want to rank for in google. It applies to our ag blogs. Right? At the time of this writing, agriculture has been searched 2.7 million monthly local times. Not a bad number. It would be nice to get a piece of that. But to even touch that word you would have to smack down the likes of USDA, wikipedia, agriculture.com, and look there even the Huffington Post.

Now it is not impossible to over come those behemoths. It would take a long time ( years) and about every title would have to have “agriculture” in it.

So let’s be smart about this. If it’s a broad term it is very hard to rank high in the search engines because so many others are using it also.

What to do?

We will be looking to rank for specific phrases. Also called long tail keywords.  These specific phrases have fewer searches but it is much easier to rank higher for them. Thus more likely to be on the first search page and get more click throughs. Think of it like this: Do you want to be a little fish in a big pond or a big fish in a little pond.

Let me give an example: I have a post titled “Make Hay While the Sun Shines“. It used to be on the first page of google (’til Pioneer Woman put up a post on FoodNetWork with the title and knocked me out. She’s not the only reason but it’s fun to blame her.) In the summer I would get a decent amount of traffic for that term. Why? Because it was a specific phrase, low competition from other sites, but there was still a number of people searching for it. At this time this term gets 1000 searches per month.

The choice is do we want nothing out of 2.7 million or something out of 1000?

Here’s the Strategy Part

Use keyword tool to choose the best words. Decide the phrase you want to rank for. Then use it

  1. in the post title
  2. throughout the body of the post
  3. in a header
  4. in the description and alt text of image in post
  5. Link to it from other posts

Depending on the competition for the term, we should rank fairly high. Don’t forget to link to it with in your social media accounts. And like I said before, you don’t have to go through all this for every post. But why not give that extra little effort for the posts that you put more time and thought into. We can turn small potatoes into awesome fries.


Why Start Your Own Website

Be Your Own Webmaster

start your own siteWell maybe not a master, but you can learn how to create a nice looking site for your farm or ag business on your own. “But I want my site to look professional”, you say. I completely understand. We’ll get there. Just stick with me.

Last time we talked about why you don’t want a static site. A blog makes a site dynamic. Dynamic = Good If that didn’t convince you maybe this stat will.

Businesses that blog have 88% more leads than businesses that don’t.

(source: Hub spot 2011) I gave most of the reasons why in the post Website or Blog.

Now I’ll go through the process I recommend for building your farm website.

1. Start free wordpress.com blog/site

I suggest wordpress over blogger.

  • a. When you are ready for a self-hosted site, the transfer of posts and information is easy.
  • b. You also will know the program and not have to learn a new blogging platform.

2. Learn how to blog and build your site

As I have said before, blogging is like playing the guitar. This is the time to learn the basics; publishing a post, adding images, building a sidebar, creating pages, ect. None of these elements are hard but they do take time and little effort to understand.

The good thing is you will be rewarded and there is help. Since you are using the free blogging service you are under no pressure to perform. These are the building blocks that will prepare you for the webmaster role of your ag business site. When you are ready go to the next step…

3. Move to self-hosted wordpress.org platform

Now that you know how to run your wordpress site, you are ready for the big time. Your own domain and fancy pants plugins. Does that sound like fun? Since you’ve done the previous work you deserve to give yourself this reward. With wordpress.org you can customize your site to best represent your business and show your professionalism.

I have to add here if you had not learned the basics you would have payed someone to create your site and then you would depend on them to make changes and additions that comes with more costs. If there is miscommunication, then more time is wasted in making the corrections. To me this just sounds like a big hassle when you are capable of doing it yourself.

The two options you have to creating your self-hosted site:

  • a. You learn how

There are a few steps to setting up your own website. It is very doable. Lord knows if I can figure it out so can you. But once it’s set up you are good to go. Start posting and creating pages just like you did in wordpress.com. Plus there are free themes to choose from; so you don’t have to buy a theme.

  • b. Hire it done

Even though I have created my own sites, I have hired a professional to build my new farm website. This is a great option if you want to spend some money for a high quality site. After it is complete, you can take over the reins. This is also nice to have someone to work with if you want something specialized. You can hire it done and continue on publishing on your own. {remember any costs are a business expense}

You will have to decide on your own which avenue is right for you and your business. And YOU can do this. I had no formal training in computers. I did lots of searches, made mistakes and learned along the way. By putting regular steady effort into your website, you will be surprised how far you can come in a short amount of time.

Next I’ll go through the process of setting up your wordpress.com site to begin your journey to webmaster-hood. Then I’ll show you how to set up your own self hosted website for those who are ready to take that on.

Please subscribe below so you don’t miss out on these tutorials.


2 very helpful links

Nothing In Common But So What

Coming across these two links, I knew the information would be helpful to you. Here’s why:

This first link is what I would consider the definitive post on the different type of links. The article goes so much further than my series on links. Tom Schmitz search engin landalso answers some questions that readers have asked about link ups and directory links. He tells you which ones to avoid and which to search engines prefer.

What Everyone Should Know About Good, Bad and Bland Links

 

The second link is for wordpress users. You know when you are writing a post there’s that row of little icons above the text box. Have you ever wondered what allwpmu.org those little images are for? My friend Craig Grella takes you through each one and shows the magic of the Post Editor. He’s the one who taught be about the Kitchen Sink icon. Thanks, Craig.

A Complete Guide to the WordPress Visual Post Editor

Please let me know what kind of blogging questions you have in the comments.

 


8 Reasons People Leave Your Farm Blog

Don’t Show Them the Exitpeople are leaving your site

This is State Fair week for us. We will be living at the fairgrounds for 6 days. I’ll be sharing each day a helpful link that will be useful to your farm blogs. This infographic lets you discover how you might be driving people away from your site. See which one applies to your blog? It’s not the end of the world. Just make a quick fix and blog on.

++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
What Makes Someone Leave A Website?
Source: What Makes Someone Leave A Website?