Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Coming to you live from the depths of Melbourne winter – while the rest of the country (almost) is springing into spring, we’re still freezing our butts off. Fingers crossed we’ll start to see the sun soon!

Here’s what I found interesting lately around the web:

How to use a $5 Twitter ad To Redefine Your Digital Strategy //  Jon Loomer

The Facebook Advertising guy changes tack with a cheap but effective way of getting audience insights on Twitter that you just can’t get anywhere else – advertising gold.

13 Lessons on Viral Content that got 36,177 Shares in One Year // CoSchedule

With great traffic comes great responsibility.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog, Attracting Readers, and Making Money // The Penny Hoarder

A very humorous (and useful!) description of those foundational things you really need to get your blog running as fast as you can – but also a few tips for us old fogeys like great places to find images, finding readers, SEO and more.

15 Useful Tips for Attending an Event Alone (and Actually Enjoying It) // Hubspot

There were a few nervous newbies at PBEVENT a few weeks ago – it IS daunting to go to events on your lonesome. Hopefully these tips will help for next time.

How to Tell Stories with Instagram and Facebook Carousel Ads // Social Media Examiner

I have seen some very clever versions of this lately, and I’m left wondering how I could make it work for my own blog. Some are incredibly creative!


What news have you read lately?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Here we are again! Fridays come around so fast, it seems… which is good, and bad.

There are heads full of knowledge and excitement and ideas after last week‘s ProBlogger Training Event, and it’s thrilling to see people starting to put their dreams into practise. Such a surge of energy and hustle! If you missed out and would love to keep updated about future events, feel free to join the Facebook group to keep in touch, and also connect with the attendees who have formed a wonderfully supportive and informative community.

For now though, let’s check out blog news:

Three Reasons Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously // Hootsuite

I’m the first to admit I let Snapchat fall by the wayside years ago. But I’ve noticed a resurgence of late and I reinstalled the app. This is just the beginning, they say…

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic to Media Sites than Google // Fortune

And will blogs be next? I know Facebook is the number-one referrer for a lot of blogs – what lessons can we learn from it?

How to Optimise your Tweets for Search // Social Media Examiner

I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS! Especially seeing as Twitter accounts are showing up in Google search results.

A Brief History of Internet “Joke Aggregator” The Fat Jew // Mashable

When curating your content, for goodness’ sake, attribute your sources! Goes for images on Instagram and elsewhere, “image via Pinterest” is not enough.

How to Use Evernote at a Conference // Veggie Mama

I know I wrote it, but it’s useful! How you can keep all the notes, audio, and images you take at each session in neat files, and what to do with all those business cards you accumulate through networking. You won’t know what you ever did without Evernote at conferences before!

So what did you learn this week? Care to share? Gonna revive that Snapchat account?!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

How did you all go with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog podcast? Got a to-do list a mile long now?!

I also hope you liked the stories of Megan, Nicole, and Heather about how they both dealt very differently with quitting their blogs. I know I learned a lot from hearing them share their experiences.

This week has thrown up some interesting reading – I hope you find a useful nugget in there somewhere.

How to manage your Instagram in 20 minutes a day // Hootsuite

Are you falling victim to being on Instagram all day every day? These are simple tips, but they bear repeating because they work. It’s time for you to take charge and slot in some time to get Instagram marketing under control.

Case Study: How Film4 grew their followers to 600k in one year // Pinterest

Pinterest is still an amazing traffic referrer, if you know how to use it right. See how Film4 capitalised on current pop culture issues to grow their followers to such a crazy amount.

Facebook now makes 76% of ad revenue from smartphones and tablets // Mashable Australia

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ensure your Facebook ads are mobile-friendly! You can have a look at the series we did on Facebook advertising last year, and the hot tips we shared for big returns.

Watch out Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook Announces Live Streaming // Social Media Today

Never one to leave a good internet craze behind, Facebook now says it’s getting on the live-streaming bandwagon in its efforts to be the online leader of video content. It’s only for people with verified accounts at the moment, though.

You Can Now Schedule Instagram Posts in Hootsuite – But There’s a Catch //

Always the way! But if you’re into scheduling things in advance (I’m a fan), this might save you some time. Don’t put down your phone, though…


What are your thoughts? Excited to live stream on FB or schedule your Instagram?

Stacey is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

I’ve seen so much good content lately on the subject of blogging – I always love a downloadable schedule that someone else has taken the time to create, and sneaking a peek into how others make money is such an eye-opener! I’ve curated a couple of links you might find helpful as we try to kick ass on the internet this week.

6 Social Media Templates to Save You Hours of Work // Hootsuite

There’s everything from a template to help you create a social media strategy to guide you in your daily online activities, to audit checklists, content calendars, and image size cheat sheets for download to streamline your workflow.

Facebook Rolling out Significant Upgrades to Ads Manager and Power Editor // Marketing Land

They say big improvements are coming that will increase the congruity of ad creation and editing with data and metrics as well as the usability and searchability within an account. Get excited!

6 Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience // Social Media Examiner

Practical tips on the subjects of blog promotion, consistent scheduling, offering subscription points, expanding your content, and finding content through readers. You can also listen to an audio recording of the article.

How I Made $132,339 Last Month Blogging // StartupCamp

Dale Partridge gives an income report for April, broken down into each revenue stream, and colour-coded to signify whether it was higher or lower than last year. He also includes some links you might find helpful to grow your readership like he has.

Why Link Building is NOT the Future of SEO // Quicksprout

Neil Patel lays down the law for SEO enthusiasts. Been focusing on link building? You might want to think again!


Have you read something awesome lately? I’d love to see a link and have a chat in the comments.

Stacey is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Check out the New Ghost Blogging Platform Kickstarter: Funded in under 12 Hours!

6 months ago I came across a concept article written about by John O’Nolan (web designer and former deputy head of the WordPress User Interface group) that grabbed my attention (and the attention of many others). In the article John dreamed of a new blogging platform – Ghost.

In the article John spoke about the changes in WordPress over the year that have seen it evolve from a humble and relatively simple blogging platform into something a lot bigger and more complex – a content management system.

While the evolution of WordPress has been wonderful for many – John pointed out that its complexities and clutter has gotten in the way of him just publishing great blog posts.

John went on to describe a fictional and idealistic blogging platform – Ghost. You can read his initial post here.

At the time of writing that article Ghost was just an idea – but due to the overwhelming response John received it is fast becoming a reality – particularly in the last 24 hours with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to see it completed.

11 hours and 56 minutes after the Kickstarter campaign launched it was funded (you can still join in for the next 28 days).

Check out this video in which John shares the vision:

It has been fascinating to watch the reaction to Ghost – with people particularly been drawn to the idea of a simply, elegantly designed and useful interface.

There’s still a lot to be revealed about Ghost and we’ll not really know all the details until it’s released later in the year but the current Kickstarter program gives you options to jump in early and see what it is all about – or if you want to contribute more to partner with the Ghost team.

I’m really excited to see this developed and so have accepted an invitation from John to be on the Ghost advisory board. Others on the board include Vitaly Friedman of Smashing Magazine, and Frederick Townes – Founding CTO of Mashable.

Oh – last of all, this is a non-profit project with it being developed for the love of blogging rather than to make its developers rich. Profits will be reinvested back into making the platform better.

UPDATE: as the initial funding goal has been met so easily – John has shared plans of a ‘stretch goal’ and what that will mean for backers here.

ProBlogger Census: We Need You!

It’s that time of year!

We’ve set our plans, shifted our focus … and now we’re running our ProBlogger Census.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the change of approach on ProBlogger, but I’m also really keen to hear what topics you’d like us to explore in the coming months.

The 2013 ProBlogger Census is a short survey to capture your thoughts, ideas, and wishes so that we can help to serve you better in our blogging.

I’d love it if you could take a few moments to fill it out.

I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Blogging in Brief: Looking Good, Saving Face, Tags and Lags

We all make mistakes, but making mistakes in the media can be costly—especially to your authority!

…Or can it? We all know readers appreciate honesty. And our first story this week is all about that.

Saving face online

Last week, I got my regular newsletter … and another a few hours later! The new subject line? “Our newsletter, now with functional links!”

Intrigued, I opened it to see this:

Way to save face after a blooper! If you’ve ever had to apologise for an error you’ve made publicly, online—perhaps even on your blog or with your valued subscribers—we’d love to hear how you handled it in the comments.

Big-block headers revisited

I mentioned last time the growing trend toward big-block header on blogs. This week, I found one that acts simply to pull you through to the latest content, on food blog Peas and Thankyou.

Content feature

This screencapture shows the header on rollover—the opening of each post appears as an overlay on the header. This is a great use of imagery I think, and an excellent way to catch the attention of readers, especially those who are arriving for the first time. On dPS, I use a similar carousel for featured content, but it’s not simply for the latest posts. It really brings attention to your current content.

What do you think of this idea? Could this work for your blog?

Name your own price

The battle to find the best price for a blog product—one that maximizes your profit—can be hard to do. So the approach of letting customers choose their own price is an interesting one. Tara Gentile uses it on her blog:

Set your own price

The product is designed to change customers’ relationship with money, so the tactic is in keeping with the concept.


It’s an interesting tactic, and not one I’ve tried. Have you? How did it work? I’d love to hear of your experiences in the comments.

Are your promotions slowing your site?

Many blogs show a popup on page load for first-time users—perhaps offering a download, subscription, or other goody.

But this week I’ve stumbled across a few that are really extremely slow to load as a result.

One of them flashed up the homepage before hiding it—so the screen was blank—for what felt like ages (but was probably 5-10 seconds) before displaying the popup. The popup itself didn’t have the usual close button in the right-top-corner, either, which meant that after the long wait, I had to spend more time trying to work out how to close it so I could access the site content. That finally appeared only once I’d found the Close window link.

Every time you add a new widget, plugin, or promotion to your blog, test the load times for different browsers to make sure your blog’s still accessible and usable for everyone who stops by.

Do tag clouds still matter?

Remember tag clouds? They were popular a few years ago, but they seem to have fallen out of favor now—though I notice the Blog World blog still has one:

Tag cloud

Tag clouds can help users drill down to specific content that isn’t represented in your basic blog navigation, and to reach content in your archives that spans topics. In fact, in some cases it’s a great way to provide users with access to your older material. That said, I don’t use tag clouds—basically because screen real estate is so precious, and a tag cloud never really makes the cut onto my sites.

Are you using a tag cloud? How’s it working for you? We’d love to get an idea of whether you think this mechanism is still relevant to the blogs of today.

Monthly Trends + 10 Tips for a Flawless Linking Strategy

This guest post is written by Kimberly Turner, cofounder of Regator.

To link or not to link—that is the question. What should you link to in your blog posts? How many outbound links should you have? When and why should you use outbound links?

We’ll answer those questions today, using posts about the month’s most-blogged-about stories to illustrate good linking strategies. The top ten stories of the last month, according to’s blogosphere trends were: 1. Thanksgiving, 2. Midterm Election, 3. TSA, 4. Black Friday, 5. Korea, 6. WikiLeaks, 7. Sarah Palin, 8. Harry Potter, 9. Kanye West, and 10. Call of Duty. Let’s look at how a few bloggers used links to improve their posts about these stories…

1. Build relationships and community.

When bloggers in a particular niche link to one another, it shows mutual respect and helps build the community around that niche. Don’t immediately reject the idea of linking to blogs you consider to be your competition. Showing that you’re reading a competitor’s blog (especially if you take the extra step to leave thoughtful comments there) can be the start of great relationship that has advantages for you, the other blogger, your readers, and the community as a whole. Make your content as useful as possible.

Example: Serious Eats links to a number of food blogs in “Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Thanksgiving Leftover Derby.”

2. Give credit where credit is due.

One of the most common reasons to include outbound links in your posts is to provide references for facts, or as a hat-tip to a source that brought a particular fact or story to your attention. You will not always be the original source for the information you blog about. Providing links to your sources makes your content seem more credible, shows your appreciation of the work done by your source, and lets readers know that you’ve done your research—if the sources are credible. Remember: quality counts and linking to a site or article does, in some ways, imply endorsement.

Example: Despite its humorous tone, Cracked’s “6 Things You Won’t Believe Can Brainwash You On Election Day” links show that the information for this post came from reputable, trusted sources such as MIT, ScienceDaily, California Institute of Technology, and others.

3. Don’t go overboard.

You can have too much of a good thing. While relevant links can help with SEO, Google’s own webmaster guidelines advise you to “keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.” What’s the cutoff between reasonable and unreasonable? No one knows for sure. The safe bet is to use outbound links when they are relevant and add something to your post and not to use them gratuitously to attempt to improve your SEO. Think of them as part of your content. And when it comes to link exchange schemes, just say no. Outbound links to scammy, spammy, or low-quality sites do you more harm than good for a number of reasons.

Example: Death and Taxes’ “Harvard Law Students Sue TSA” provides only enough links to give relevant back-story and additional information to benefit the readers.

4. Recognize guest posters or image sources.

No budget for guest bloggers or photography? You may find that a link to a writer’s blog or photographer’s flickr page can serve as compensation, particularly if your blog is popular. Try allowing guest posters to include a very brief bio with links at the bottom of their guest posts and look for Creative Commons images that are free to use with attribution.

Example: Business Insider’s “Window Shoppers Dominated Black Friday” provides a link to the photographer’s flickr page below the image as required by that photo’s Creative Commons license.

5. Provide a deeper understanding of your topic.

Use links to provide back-story, additional information, or context for your post, but don’t rely on links to the point that your post can’t stand on its own. Links should let readers who are particularly interested delve a bit deeper but shouldn’t be vital to a reader’s understanding of your post.

Example: Danger RoomHowitzers Fire, Jets Ready After North Korea Shells South” links to posts about relevant history, articles from Korean newspapers, and the Wikipedia pages about a particular weapon, among other things. Each link gives the reader an opportunity to learn more but none is required to grasp the post.

6. Support your opinion.

Your opinions are (hopefully) based on facts and knowledge that you’ve picked up about a given subject. Being opinionated on your blog is a good thing but presenting your opinions without any sort of support is likely to cause some readers to question your ideas. Use links to share information and facts to back up your claims.

Example: Valleywag’s “ Evicts Wikileaks. Who’s Next?” takes the position that Amazon’s eviction of Wikileaks was inappropriate and uses a number of pertinent links to support that opinion.

7. Know that it’s okay not to link.

A number of studies have shown that simply including links in text, regardless of whether they are actually clicked, reduced comprehension and slows reading time. The theory is that each time you see a hyperlink, your brain takes a moment to assess the situation. Click or move on? Each of those small decisions disrupts your train of thought enough to break your concentration.

Example: Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker’s blog presents “Decoding ‘Sarah Palin‘s Alaska’: Top 3 lessons from the debut episode” in simple black and white with no links, making for a quick, distraction-free read.

8. Promote your older posts and keep readers on your site for longer.

Linking to other posts on your own blog can increase your page views, help with SEO, and make you a better resource for your readers. Feature related links at the bottom of each post or intersperse links to older posts within the text when relevant.

Example: MTV Movies Blog has written about each of the Harry Potter movies and, because it stands to reason that if you’re taking the time to read one post about Harry Potter, you might be interested in other posts about Harry Potter, the blog linked back to its previous posts on the franchise in “Which ‘Harry Potter‘ Film Is Your Favorite So Far?

9. Bring information together.

Occasionally, you may want to quote extensively from a source or bring a number of opinions on a given issue or story together for your readers. Linking back to the original source when quoting or doing round-ups pays respect to the original author’s work and lets your readers read more from the story you’re quoting. Just remember that a link does not give you license to plagiarize.

Example: Idolator’s “Review Revue: Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’” rounds up a number of reviews of Kanye West’s new album, each with a link.

10. Use good anchor text.

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text of the link you’re sharing. For the purposes of search engine rankings as well as readability, it’s best to avoid anchor text such as “click here,” “this,” or other non-descriptive text when possible. Imagine that the reader can see only the anchor text; would he or she still have an idea of where you’re sending them? If not, rethink that particular text.

Example: GamesBeat’s “Call of Duty Black Ops Sells $650M in five days” has very specific anchor text that lets readers know exactly where they’re headed when they click.

What’s your linking strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator, as well as an award-winning print journalist. Find her on Twitter @kimber_regator, get free widgets for your blog, or nominate your blog for review.

Google Feedburner Delivers Real-time Traffic Stats

This week, Google unveiled an upgraded Feedburner stats package that provides real-time data on clicks, views, and podcast downloads.

For the social media fanatics, the Feedburner team add that, “if you use the FeedBurner Socialize service, and your platform uses PubSubHubbub or you ping us when you post, you can for the first time get stats on how much traffic your feed items are receiving from Twitter, as well as feed reading platforms like Google Reader in one place.”

Looks like those Refresh buttons are set to get a workout… Have you tried the new stats? What are your thoughts?