This week's articles run the gamut of inbound marketing, with a bit of a focus on the importance of blogging for today's businesses. Read on for: quick-and-dirty (and free!) website analysis programs, the 10 best SEO blogs in the world, expert advice on why your business needs a blog (and why you need to update it on a regular basis), five tips to improve your email newsletter, and an in-depth look at the current and future state of news consumption (hint: it's all about social).
Happy Friday the 13th!
- Website Grader (for marketing performance)
- GTmetrix (for speed)
- Browser Shots (for browser compatibility)
Why should you care? According to Alex, "It's easy to quickly judge a website based on its design and write it off as either 'good' or a 'bad'. But there's a lot more behind-the-scenes information to consider when evaluating a website and how to improve it."
For more on each of these tools, see Alex's complete post.
Marketing takeaway: If you haven't analyzed your site's performance recently, use these tools to see if it's up to snuff. And if you know your site is rocking, why not run the URLs of your top competitors to see what you can learn from their tactics, and what shortcomings you might be able to capitalize on.
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, this post is an excellent place to find top resources on the subject. Compiled by Rand Fishkin, this comprehensive list of blogs covering SEO also includes helpful information like the editorial focus and publishing frequency of each site.
What’s great is that in addition to the big guys, such as Search Engine Land and SEOBook, there are some lesser-known blogs in the list as well — like a great one I discovered through this post called Conversation Marketing.
The article also includes some of Rand’s personal strategies for organizing information, sifting through the daily news and “sorting the signal from the noise” with tools such as browser add-ons. Productivity tools for the win.
Blogging for Business
Mario Sundar pulls together several credible resources to make a strong case for blogging, and its benefits for individuals and businesses alike. According to Mario, in addition to solidifying existing relationships, a quality blog can serve as "a great repository of well indexed content on the web for future prospects to find you."
Included in his post is a short video in which Seth Godin and Tom Peters discuss the benefits they've personally experienced as long-time bloggers. Tom had the money quote, in my opinion, when he said, "No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important in my life than blogging... It's the best damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude I've ever had."
Takeaway? If you don't have a blog... What the heck are you waiting for?
How important is it to keep a blog regularly updated? Justin Kownacki, a popular blogger with solid readership and reach, did an experiment to see what would happen if he spent three months blogging once per week, rather than five times per week. The results:
- According to Justin, his "site traffic dropped off a cliff."
- Counter to what he expected, the single post each week did not necessarily get a large amount of traffic.
- On the plus side, he was able to devote more "time for all the work [he] should be doing."
So, what can your business learn from Justin's experiment? Developing more content gives you more opportunities to strike a chord with your readers. Says Justin, "If you only blog once a week, your post has to be stellar, or else your blog becomes a dead zone for a week."
One thing to consider: if you’re blogging for your organization, share the responsibility by having multiple blog authors contribute (like we do here). Another tactic we’ve found useful is having blog editor.
Sean D'Souza takes a look at five of the most common mistakes businesses make with their email newsletters. To take a more positive spin on things, I'll turn each of Sean's no-nos into a to-do:
- Make your newsletter about your readers (not you). Offer helpful, interesting information.
- Use your voice. Make sure that your personality and excitement come through in your writing.
- Tell stories. People love stories.
- Give readers a clear call to action. Tell them what you want them to do.
- Develop, and adhere to, a publishing schedule.
For details on each of these, see Sean's complete post.
Vadim Lavrusik takes an in-depth look at how media consumption is changing due to social media.
People are getting their news in new, more social ways than in the past. Gone are the days when you'd sit down with the local paper — or even just read the New York Times or BBC News online for an hour and call it a day. Instead, people are developing personalized news streams, fed through RSS feeds and social networks.
Some media companies are taking advantage of this — for example, by sharing their articles on Facebook, or integrating Facebook plugins on their sites to offer the social element for readers. In addition, software such as Flipboard for the iPad is starting to offer more visual, personalized "social media magazines."
After covering the present state of news consumption, Vadim takes a look at what could be next. Imagine news recommendations, a la Amazon or Netflix, or even a Pandora-type application for news. The concept is, essentially, that if software can understand your interests, the potential for personalized news is endless.
What was your favorite marketing article of the week? Share it in the comments below, or tweet it to our attention at @PR2020.