Tag: Las Vegas

The Beauty of Blog World 2009: A Beginner’s Guide to Web Traffic

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

The Beauty of Blog World 2009: A Beginner's Guide to Web Traffic

Even though Blog World wrapped up last weekend, I wanted to talk a little about traffic building because it was one of the most discussed topics at the event.

Assuming it’s one of your goals (it doesn’t have to be), the experts had a lot to say about building readership/viewership to websites and blogs. Today I’m going to gloss over the jargon and give you some tips you can implement on your own.

Previously in The Beauty of Blog World

  1. The Beauty of Blog World 2009
  2. The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Earn More Money from Your Blog
  3. The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Make Better Videos

Tip #1: Produce desirable content

This one’s the most important tip but also the hardest to define. “Content is King,” the traffic experts say, but what do they really mean? Answer: If you think about it, what draws you to your favorite makeup counters, stores, websites and blogs? In my case, I visit MAC counters because I’m *obsessed* with their makeup; I read Zen Habits because it helps me relax. Ultimately, we visit the places that give us what we want.

As a practical matter, I think it’s harder (although not impossible) to attract readers to personal journal blogs because, let’s face it, our lives usually aren’t as interesting as we think they are. But when we blog with passion about specific topics (keeping in mind that no one owes us their time), we tend to attract people with similar interests.

Tip #2: The power of key words

What words would someone use on Google to find your blog?

Whatever they are, those are some of your key words, and you want to use your key words in as many places as you can — in your domain name (i.e. lipstickeyeshadowandgloss.com, catsinuniform.com), in your URLs (i.e. catsinuniform.com/cat/uniforms/catuniforms.php — the parts between the / slashes), in your post titles (Cat Uniforms Under $10, My 5 Favorite Lipsticks of 2009, Don’t Gloss Over These Lipsticks, etc.), within the text of your posts and also within the text using HTML header tags (h1, h2, h3, h4). The more you use your key words, the more credit your blog will get from Google and the other search engines for searches using those terms.

Tip #3: Links

Not only do links translate into direct traffic to your blog, as they get clicked wherever they appear, but they also contribute to your placement in the search rankings on Google.
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The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Make Better Videos

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Make Better Videos

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, what’s a moving picture worth? Blog World 2009 speaker Cali Lewis of GeekBrief.tv posed that question at the convention yesterday, and it really made me think…

The answer depends on the quality of the video, right?

I’m on a mission to improve the quality of my videos (not just for the blog, but for home/travel videos too), so I sought out the sessions on video yesterday and took copious notes.

Tip 1: Write a script

When it comes to video, material trumps production quality, but watch any random 10 videos on YouTube, and what do most of them have in common? According to Sara and Lee O’Donnell, the couple behind Average Betty, the most popular short-form food entertainment web series online, most of them weren’t made with a script.

It doesn’t have to be fancy — even a few notes scribbled on index cards — but working from an outline or script can really make your videos stand out.

Tip 2: Choosing the right camcorder

“Buy a camera with the biggest lens, best glass and best sensor you can afford,” says Cali. Of course, that’s more for professional setups. Serious home movie makers and beginning web videographers might take a look at the Kodak Zi8 (about $180). Not only does it shoot in 1080p high definition video, but it’s image stabilized (less shaky in your hands) and has an external microphone jack (more on that later), too.

If you’re willing to spend more, both Cali and the O’Donnells mentioned the $550 Canon VIXIA HF200 HD Flash Memory Camcorder. It can do everything the Kodak Zi8 can do, does it better and does more.

For help choosing a camcorder, check out camcorderinfo.com.

Tip 3: Use an external microphone

Poor audio can ruin even the highest quality videos, and the microphones built into most small camcorders just aren’t very good. They struggle to capture clear voices more than a few feet away from them, and they tend to pick up too much background noise outside.
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The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Earn More Money from Your Blog

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

Beauty and Blog World 2009

Good mornin’, ladies. How’s it going? Are you glad it’s Saturday? It’s just after 8 a.m. here on my last day in Las Vegas. I’m taking it easy and blogging to you from bed in the hotel, whee! I thought I’d skip the morning keynote at Blog World to tell you about the convention yesterday and share what I learned about a topic that interests a lot of bloggers, monetization, aka Blogging for Benjamins.

Now, most of the 70+ million blogs out there aren’t run as businesses. They’re small personal endeavors or not-for-profit initiatives, but I think some of these tips can be applied to those kinds of blogs as well. For example, if you’re blogging about a local church or charity, consider the tip on using YouTube to drive donations, or the tip on placing your most important messages “above the fold.”

I have A LOT more information from the convention (tips on using video, Twitter, Facebook and more), but some of it will have to wait until I get back home to share.

In the meantime, have a great weekend! 🙂

Tip 1: Maintain a regular posting schedule

There are a couple of different reasons for this one, and the first one has to do with Google. Posting on a regular schedule — say once per day or week — actually trains the Google bot (that’s really what they call it), the program that scours the web looking for new content to include in the Google search listings.

The second reason to maintain a regular posting schedule has to do with people. We come to expect and appreciate things that follow a recognizable pattern.

Tip 2: If it’s your business, don’t be shy

Be considerate, but don’t be shy. It’s never easy to talk about money, particularly in a public place (like on a blog), but if you’re hoping to earn more money online, don’t be ashamed to let your readers know.

Tip 3: Diversify revenue streams

The most widespread and common way to earn money from a blog is by placing ads. Google Adsense is the industry standard because of how quick, easy and effective it is. I’m running them here on MBB (below the masthead at the top and in the right sidebar).

But look for additional revenue streams if you’re serious about earning a stable income with your blog. You wouldn’t want a policy change at Google HQ to suddenly cut your earnings in half.

Things to consider: writing and selling a book (or an e-book), incorporating more than one ad network (Kontera is one that was mentioned a lot yesterday), creating a product to sell, joining affiliate programs (Amazon.com, Clickbank, Commission Junction) or creating a paid membership site.

Tip 4: Placing ads above the fold

I’ve always struggled with this one… The experts suggest placing all of your ads right up near the top of the page where visitors will see them as soon as they open the page. The problem with that is it’s kinda annoying to open a webpage and see nothing but ads, right?

My suggestion: Try to balance ad placement “above the fold” (which basically means at/near the top of the page) with a dash of common sense and design appreciation.

The World's Littlest Showgirl
The World’s Littlest Showgirl…

Tip 5: Affiliate programs

I mentioned some of these in Tip 3, but the experts yesterday all agreed that affiliate programs can be great ways to earn money from your blog, particularly if you blog about a topic tied to something people actually buy (beauty products, books, clothes, shoes, food, baby products, household supplies, etc.).
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The Beauty of Blog World 2009

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, News

The beauty of blog world 2009

What’s a blog?

Because I blog and I know that some of you do, too, I wanted to share what I’ve been learning about here at the Blog World and New Media Expo 2009 (new media as in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube).

The first question I get a lot when I tell people I blog is, “What’s that [blogs]? Like a website?”

Yup, you got it. The word’s just a contraction of the term “Web log.” They come in countless shapes and sizes but usually contain regular entries (articles/journal entries) of commentary, descriptions of events or fancy stuff like graphics or video. Most (but not all) of them display content in reverse-chronological order.

I came to Blog World 1) because it’s held here in Vegas :), 2) because I spend a big chunk of my life blogging, 3) because I’d like to be able to express myself in new and more creative ways, 4) because blogging is more fun for me when I know that it’s also fun for my readers and 5) because I’d like to grow the blog’s traffic and find out about income opportunities/blogging for a living.

I’ll report more specific tips than the ones in this post as the Expo progresses, but one of my favorite sessions so far has been Stimulating Conversations with Women in the Social Mediasphere, with Aliza Sherman, author of The Everything Blogging Book.

Aliza and some of the speakers talked about the differences between how men and women tend to communicate and how those differences are reflected in blogs and social media (speaking very generally, women tend to appreciate building relationships more than most men do).

That blogs are about community and interaction are growing themes. The social aspects of the web have taken the internet by storm. Specifically, what can bloggers do to tap into an increasingly social internet?

They can focus on building authentic relationships with readers, which I read to mean being honest, respectful, useful, and speaking with people vs. talking at them.

But what if you want to start a blog in a highly competitive niche (like beauty)? Is it too late to start?

No, none of the experts thought so, but competition can impact the size of your audience. It may be harder to reach thousands of readers/day (if that’s even your goal), but it’s still possible.

When you want to blog

Figure out what you want out of blogging or Twitter or Facebook (but not necessarily the day you start). If you’ve never blogged before, take it slowly, remembering that you’re putting yourself out there in front of the entire planet (only share what you’re comfortable sharing with the world). Eventually, though, the experts agree, know your goals and objectives. It’ll help you get where you’re trying to go.

I started MBB back in 2007 not really knowing what I was doing or what my goals were. Within six months, though, I’d decided that I wanted to blog daily, to grow my audience and to earn some blog rent from it if possible.

While fun, blogging can also be hard work.

It depends on your goals, but since 2007, 2,100 posts later, I’ve read through my camera’s manual at least 10 times (to learn how to take vibrant, sharp pics), have spent thousands of dollars on camera equipment and computers (I recommend Macs), have completed dozens of Photoshop tutorials and have spent thousands of hours writing more than 1 million words online. All of that’s just to restate the obvious, “Know what you’re getting into and why you want to do it.”

Other quick tips from yesterday’s event:

  1. Keep an editorial calendar — I’m a firm believer in ’em. Mine helps me plan what I’m going to blog about. I also use it to jot down the release dates of makeup collections to help me remember.
  2. Are you speaking with your readers or talking at them? — Remember that there’s a real live human being on the other side of that connection, someone who doesn’t like to be talked at.
  3. Problogger.net
    Absolutely love Problogger.net

  4. Build relationships — The experts seem to agree that success in blogging (unless your goal is to use your blog as a journal) comes down to building relationships with people and doing something that both you and your readers find rewarding.

Growing your audience

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MAC Holiday 2009 Is Here!

Published in: MAC Makeup


Greetings from Lost Wages, ladies (aka Las Vegas)! It was a beauty-full day here in Nevada, from what I hear…

I say that because I spent most of the day indoors at Blog World.

The conference got off to a killer start. I’m prepping a post with highlights that will go up early tomorrow. If you’re interested in blogging for fun and/or income (not necessarily beauty blogging, but any niche that interests you), you might want to check it out.

One of the speakers, Darren Rowse, has been an internet idol of mine for a while. He operates two fantastic blogs I frequent on an almost daily basis, Digital Photography School and Problogger. I’ve learned a ton from both of them. I’ll go into more detail in the post tomorrow, but I credit DPS with teaching me how to become one with my point-and-shoot Canon.

In makeup news, did you take home any of the new MAC Holiday collection today?

I swung by the MAC Pro Store here on the strip a little while ago to take a quick peek.

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