Category Archives: Tools

Why Google Author Tags are important and how you can easily add them.

This blog post has two purposes. The first is to explain why Google Author Tags (also referred to more broadly as Authorship) is something you should consider implement on your own blog. The second part is to introduce a new flowchart that will help you accomplish this with step-by-step instructions. If you are already familiar with the benefits of Author Tags, you can go right to the flowchart.

Google Authorship one of the best things about Google+ accounts.  Simply put, these tags allow you to associate your Google+ account with bylined content you have published on your own site (and potentially others). If your name is listed as the author of the content, you can associate it.

Here are the key benefits…

Getting your photo is Google search results

Once you associate your Google+ account with your content, this association extends to search results where your photo shows up next to results that include your content.

Google Author Tag in Search Results Example

Example of photo in search

While there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of how much additional traffic sites get from a photo appearing in search, a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15% to 50%. When I added author tags, I saw a 20% increase in traffic.

Getting an extra chance to engage with people doing searches

Google also provides something unique in search that is only for people using Author Tags. If someone clicks on a link to your content, spends some time on your site, and then clicks back to search, they will at times see links in the search results to additional pieces of content you have written. These additional links appear below the initial search result link that they clicked on.

You get a second chance at capturing reader interest with Google Author Tags

Example of additional chances to reach searchers with your content

Getting ahead of Google’s continued move to making Author Rank a key element of what results show up in search

Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, has a new book coming out, and The Wall Street Journal published a number of short paragraphs from it, including one that points to the future value of Google Authorship.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

I don’t believe that Google will ever eliminate anonymous content from search, but for content that you feel comfortable publishing under you own name, the future value of of Google’s Authorship program becomes clear.

Now that you know the benefits of Authorship, I highly encourage you to check out the flowchart I made to get your own account setup with Google Author Tags. I feel it is the best piece of how-to content I have worked on.

 

SlideShare vs Scribd

Quick Summary

SlideShare is best for hosting high-quality, business focused presentations and documents. The clear choice if you are willing to pay for a premium account that offers analytics and lead generation. 

Scribd is for best for bulk document uploads or high-quality imbedding options for your own site. You give up a strong branded experience for free analytics.

SlideShare vs Scribd A comparison of services which one is right for you

Why use either?

  • Another way to reach customers. Both of these sites have broad reach.
  • A way to host your presentation or document with the option of imbedding it on your own site.
  • Another way to capture share of search (i.e. more search results that have your content).

How SlideShare and Scribd make money influences their sites and should influence your decision on which to use.

While both sites have advertisement on them. Slideshare allows users to select a pay option to completely remove ads from your document and user page. Scribd doesn’t offer any premium package for the brand (i.e. the uploader) and instead runs ads against all upload document. If getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you. See this from their advertising page:

[A]fter 6 weeks, a document uploaded to Scribd it is no longer freely available for download. The user must then either upload a document to get one in exchange, or create an archive membership for unlimited downloads.

Traffic and the kinds of traffic

Both sites get similar amounts of traffic with Slideshare increasing getting more, but I think the key is the kind of traffic each site get and how they brand themselves. Slideshare is focused on business information including presentations and reports, while Scribd seems to allow almost anything. If you have a look at the Scribd home page and featured sections, most of these pages focus on consumer oriented books and textbooks.

I rarely see Scribd rank for Google searches I do. It could be that I am not doing the right kind of searches, but I have done thousands of various industry, marketing and general searches in the past year and have seen one or two Scribd result from all of those. This could be because they lean toward books and government documents (thus why I don’t think they are the ideal fit for myself or many clients). So that gets them some serious volume.

On the other hand, I routinely see Slideshare in the first page of results for many searches.

High volume uploads favors Scribd

One advantage of Scribd is that their code for embedding provide a superior presentation of content. This has resulted in online publishers like TechCrunch and Mashable using Scribd to imbed documents on their own sites.

Scribd is also the best choice for bulk uploading and hosting of documents. When you have hundreds of documents that need to be shared, Scribd is a superior solution to Slideshare. This is reflected in Scribd being the official document share site for the U.S. Federal Goverment including the White House, Congress and FCC.

The Experience

Slideshare offers the ability to pay a premium to remove ads. Scribd does not.

In addition, Slideshare premium users can control their own pages look which allow brands to better control the user experience.

That said, if you don’t want to pay a premium for hosting or analytics, Scribd is a good choice since they provide analytics for all their accounts and don’t charge any fee.

As I mentioned earlier, if getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you due to them forcing readers to pay for a premium service or upload a document in order to download.

Downloads can be particularly important for larger purchases in the B2B space where the researcher might not be the decision maker.

Summary

Both services do an exceptional job of doing what they do. If you are focused on lead generation, promoting thought leadership and are willing to pay a premium, SlideShare is the site you should choose.

 

A Year’s Worth of Actionable Blogging Tips

This is part of my year in review series.

While I blogged about a number of these tools and tips previously, this post highlights my favorites and includes additional information.

Organize your projects, blog posts or anything else, with Trello.

Trello Free Organization Tool - Easy to UseMy best tip for this year is to try Trello. I blogged about my use of this service in March and have used it more and more throughout the year. The bottom line is it uses a digital notecard format to organize anything.

If you already use Trello here are my Bonus Tips:

Shortcuts for common Trello functions

Also check out their blog to keep up on new features and use cases

Quickly research the social sharing of any page with SharedCount

SharedCount is basic analytics and research tool. It tells you how often an individual page has been shared across social networks. You aren’t going to be making indepth reports with this tool, but it is good for quick research.

Never make a blog post without an image.

People like images. Perhaps more importantly, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn pull images from your blog whenever a post is shared. Don’t give up that space. You can create a text based images in minutes to take advantage of this with Recite This.

Fill in the blogging gaps by getting personalized news to inform your curation.

As much as I would like to blog about everything that peaked my interest, there isn’t enough time in the day. I am so inquisitive, I would need a couple extra days a week. 😐 Much of the gaps are filled by being active on different social media channels. For me that is Twitter. If you are going to find things to post about it, it helps to keep up on industry news. This blog post goes through some of the the best personalized news services.

Compose anywhere. Have access everywhere with Evernote.

Evernote for blog organization and compositionI have found this year that Evernote ends up being where I put anything that isn’t in my email program or saved to Dropbox. My normal compisition pattern is to start in Trello to organize ideas, and then I craft longer posts and reports in Evernote. Read more about how I used Evernote to blog.

When in doubt take the next step.

I feel like this personal blog post on working on difficult projects might be my best advice for 2012. If you ever have trouble getting something done, give it a read.

 

 

7 Tips For Video Screencasting and Online Interviews

Video Screencasting and online video tips.png

This past year I started doing videos and ended up recording over 40 of them. The majority of them were with Lauren Orsini as part of a series on Pinterest. There were also interviews, standalone videos and videos to supplement blog posts. This post outlines some of what I have learned. I hope you find it helpful.

Prepare for difficulties (or go with Google)

If you are recording interviews over the Internet, understand that you may lose all or some part of a recording. You are relying on the quality of of the Internet connection for all participants as well as the processing power of your computer. With so many factors, you should prepare that you will occasionally lose recordings. If you are looking for the easiest solution possible, consider Google Hangouts. By doing the recording in the cloud, you are losing some degree of control, but you are also “outsourcing” most of the hassle to Google. When I do my next interview, I will likely use Hangouts just for the ease of use.

Break up your online interview recordings into smaller chunks

I found particuarly when recording via Skype on Windows, that the audio frequently got out of synch or was lost altogether. I tried and paid for three different software programs to record on Skype and found all of them had issues. The shorter the recording the better the quality. If you have a Mac, I found that eCamm software worked the best for Skype interviews (see the tools I used at the end).

Edit down your content and then edit again

If you have a two seconds of dead air, just edit it out. People don’t mind jumps in video, and you are more likely to keep people engaged. When recording conversation (assuming you have permission as the editor) edit out some of the content. I am not saying to remove the personality in your videos, but if you end up running long on a point or repeating yourself, just edit it down.

Just be who you are

If you try to get all geared up to be on video, it comes through as over the top and fake. If you are excited and knowledgable about the subject, you just need to convey that information like you were talking to a friend.

Protect your computer resources when editing or recording video

When you are editing video, close all the other programs that you might have open (especially browers). Video editing software takes tremedous resources, and you will get done faster if you just have your editing software open. If you get bored while a video is rendering, pull out your phone for entertainment so you keep computer resources focused on video. If you are doing an interview, try to keep your notes in “small-footprint” text editing program. If you need to have browser windows open, keep them to a minimum.

It helps to be first to cover a topic.

Some of my more popular videos were essentially tours on online services I liked. The demand for video is high, but so is the amount of video being created. In order to stand out, show people how a new product works via screencasts. If it is a product that you think is good, other people will be interested and search out videos about that product. My RebelMouse walkthrough video was one of the first to give an overview of the product and ended up being one of my most popular videos.

Recommended Basic Video Tools

ecamm Call Recorder

This is what I ended up using to record most of the Pin The News series. I only had it fail to record once, and that might have been user error on my part. If you want to record a Skype interview on a Mac, this is the one to go with. It costs $19.95.
http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/

Snagit

Snagit is my go-to software for doing static screen captures, and I also used it for screen casting. I found that if I recorded more than 5 mintues the audio would degrade, so I kept the videos short. Snagit claims that recent updates have eliminated this issue, but I would do some test before you try to record a full video.

Sony Vegas Pro

I started my video editing using this software. While it worked for me, it was likely more options then I needed so the learning curve was pretty steep.

iMovie

When I switched to a Mac, I really appreciated the intuitiveness of iMovie. Like most editing programs, it is resource intense. It also is light on features, but if video isn’t your primary venue for creating content, this software is likely enough to get the job done.
Have you created videos? If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comments.

Complete guide to the image sizes you need to create new social network accounts.

I saw this infographic at just the right time. I had been tasked by a client with putting together all the requirements for creating accounts on a variety of social networks. LunaMetrics put together a graphic that shows all the different images sizes you need to create accounts and post to a variety of social networks.

Included are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Have a look:

Designed by Lunametrics

Thanks to Ben A. Smith for tweeting about this.